Page 3 of Hoist the Signal for close action by Rod Langton
"Welcometo the SECOND EDITION of Signal Close Action which has been evoled after several years of play at both clubs and national competitions.
My thanks to the any friends both here and abroad who have written and phoned with ideas and comments, providing an invaluable feedback; tothe stalwart band of competitors who attend the many shows where Signal Close Action is played and those who have helped with play testing. As with the 1st edition, special thanks to Any Hamilton and to my wife Carol.
Signal Close Action has been designed for sailing navy wargamers who reuire a set of rules which accurately reflect the era in which they are set. In the Napoleonic period, the difficulties an admiral faced were considerable. His possible courses of action were governed by the 'technology' of the time, the wind, weather, ship's condition, and of coursse the ability of the admiral himself and that of his captains and ships' companies.
Fundamental to the rules i the Ability Chart which requires only 1 throw of dice and governs the core ggame (except Weather) as well as other options. Note: When for example 'movement section' is referred to in the rules, this relates to the movement section of the Ability Chart.
I would suggest that whilst you familiarise yourelf with the mechanics of the rules, you play a core game (if you wish, making use of the introductory game on page 8). Then when conversant with these basics, things like strategic moves, box hauling etc may be incorporated. For this reason, the rules are laid out with the basic game sequence to the front and more dvanced options either at the end of chapters or to the back.
Essential charts have been kept together at the back of the book, for your convenience, together with extracts of certain items which you will need to view regularly. Due to demand, card playsheets are also now provided.
It is advisable to initilly restrict your fleets to as few qualitites and classes as possible, especially if signals are being used. If not, you will proably find some of your vessels tending to go their own way ... a not unrealistic result perhaps but leading to rustration when learning the game.
One of the most fundamental changes I have brought into this 2nd edition concerns MORALE. I find this new method gives the player with the poorer fleet a slightly beetter chance of success. Purists may complain that in real life the elite/English fleets always came out on top which, t be fair, they nearly always did. However, given the elite's enhanced sailing ability within the rules, which contemporary writers maintain was a more important factor than good gunnery, I believe the better fleet, properly handled, should win regularly but perhaps not quite as quickly as with the first edition.
On this subject of reaching a quick conclusion, I have deliberately made the Morale Test easier to pass for all qualitites. Obviously this will make for longer games, which may not be to everyone's taste. Should players be under a time constraint, they may amend the Morale Test results by adding a minus 2 after, for example 20 Turns, to smulate exhaustion. This will bring the number causing a strike back by 2 to its position in the 1st Edition.
Finally, these rules have not been writ on tablets of stone. Should you find options such as the rules goerning tides and currents make a play a bit complicated, then feel free to leave them out.
Enjoy your wargaming - whatever the result!