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Admiral's Order: Naval Tactics in the Age of Sail – All Hands!
Admiral's Order: Naval Tactics in the Age of Sail – All Hands!
by Strategema Games (2014)
Player Count
2 to 4

Player Ages

Playing Time
2 hours
  • Nautical
  • Wargame
  • Napoleonic
  • Age of Reason
  • Designers
  • Mario Jugel
  • Mechanisms
  • Action Point Allowance System
  • Campaign / Battle Card Driven
  • Simultaneous Action Selection
  • Hex-and-Counter
  • Simulation
  • Dice Rolling
  • Artists
  • Mario Jugel
  • Thomas Whitcombe
  • Rating: 7.9/10 from 14 users


    Admiral's Order: Naval Tactics in the Age of Sail – All Hands! is a simulation of naval engagements between ships-of-the-line and frigates in the Age of Fighting Sail. The focus of the game lies on the wars between Britain and France and her allies in the years 1775 to 1815. Each player takes on the role of an admiral, commander or captain whose command could include a single ship or a fleet of several vessels. The core game ("All Hands!") has five scenarios to choose from, everything from a small, fast and furious encounter between two frigates to a strategic action involving a total of 16 ships-of–the-line.

    A game turn equates to a ½-hour watch on the day of battle. In each turn, players will play cards to execute sailing maneuvers such as tacking, wearing, or changing sail configuration in order to put their ships into position for devastating broadsides or even rakes on the enemy vessels.

    In larger engagements, ships are grouped together in squadrons and usually form a "Line of Battle", a formation that provides the commander with the most control over his fleet. Using Admiral's Order cards players signal general commands to their squadrons ranging from "Form a Keel Line" and "Wearing in succession" to "Prepare for Close Action". Keeping the ships in formation and effectively deploying the fleet in the heat of battle while also retaining the initiative is the main challenge for a commander.

    Occasionally, ships will engage each other in brutally destructive Close Quarter combat. In such situations, the game "zooms" into the action: Using a set of "Close Action" cards, players can employ grapeshot, grenades, carronades, and sharpshooters to wreak destruction on the opposing vessel's upper deck. Through a clever use of grappling hooks and boarding crews it is possible to overcome the enemy's defenses to take the ship as the ultimate prize.

    All scenarios can be played by two players, but most also provide the option to split command between two players per side. Playing time depends on the scenario. While an engagement between two frigates should last no more than 1-2 hours, fighting the Battle of Cape Henry will take four hours or longer.

    The game is produced in a small edition and comes in a beautiful box, designed with a picture from Thomas Whitcombe. It has a wooden presentation box with 36 hand-crafted, wooden ship models. Each ship comes with removable masts and ship names burned into each side.

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