Just wanted to post a few comments about my first game of Seekrieg 5 since it was such an awesome and unexpected experience...
Sat down by my lonesome for a solo game of SK5 last night, figured I'd run through a quick one before introducing it to other friends here. Ran a short range cruiser skirmish, Glasgow vs. Leipzig, with straight-forward setup options at around 13Kyds. Just got done reading through the rules in its entirety, only took a few hours or so to pull off (which speaks a lot to its clarity and simplicity, but we'll get to that in a bit) and now I was ready for some action.
For a little bit of background before we get to the meat and potatoes, I've always been interested in naval (and other) military history, but most miniatures and table top games I've played have been on the far side of light - A&A Naval Minis, Flames of War, etc. I'm normally geared towards games that are not too heavy, as they tend to bog down in the details even when there's a great core concept that lies beneath the weight.
I had been reading through a lot of this group's posts, along with other boards (TMP, BoardGameGeek, etc.), while waiting for the rules to arrive and the general consensus across the board was one of, "amazingly detailed but not hard to play." I'll be honest - while I had an open mind and was expecting a rule set that was straight-forward - I started to get a bit nervous after opening the package and scanning the pages as I dropped them into sheet protectors (which I definitely recommend doing immediately!). Sitting down and reading through the rules, though, was surprisingly fast. The main rule book is broken down into sections which cover all of the individual phases of the game rounds, with clear examples (which you can easily reference and try out yourself) on every item. I would read a passage on something seemingly complex-sounding like torpedo template movement phases or gunnery hit calculation and be saying to myself, "Oh, that's easy enough."
At this point, having read through all of the rules, my mental status was one of, "Well, it seems easy enough... but that's a LOT of easy stuff to remember!" I was ready to jump in feet first and see how it all fit together. I pulled a few minis out, printed the ship logs, grabbed my tape measure and markers, did all of the pre-game setup rolling... done and ready to go in about 10 minutes (took a while to find the markers, go me). With rules in hand I went through a few turns of setting the complicated bridge commands which... weren't at all... complicated... and maneuvering the ships about.
A few turns later we were in range for firing! Checking angles, measure the range, check some numbers, roll the dice... I'm done? That was too easy, I had to check my process again to make sure I hadn't missed any charts (which I hadn't). After checking for penetration, the Leipzig had managed to put a sizable dent on the rapidly approaching Glasgow. The speed at which I was able to run through the gunnery process surprised me, considering the detail and all of those varied damage effects.
Fast forward to turn 8 and both cruisers had taken multiple hits, some bouncing, some connecting hard - Leipzig was running on one screw at 11 kts and Glasgow had two raging fires and half of its damage control teams knocked out. Between deciding how to best control range with Glasgow and maneuvering to pour on more shells with Leipzig, the following thought hit me...
"Wait... this is it?"
I was, truly, past the rules and already in the Captain's shoes, so to say. No complex calculations, no fighting against the charts (which I think I used only 2-3 pages of)... just... Fun. With a capital F.
If you enjoy naval combat and want a high level of detail but are concerned about the weight of the rules, don't be. Get off the fence and definitely pick up Seekrieg 5.