Close Action

Brief Description Close Action is a simultanious movement game. At the beginning of each turn, all players plot their actions for that turn on their ship logs. The plots are then revealed simultaniously. As ships captain, you have three main things that concern you; seamanship, gunnery, and crew management.

Movement is done in hexes, depending on wind attitude, sail status, and ship speed. When firing, the player has the choice of what type of round they are firing. This includes round shot, chain shot, and grape shot.

Ships are done on a point scale by ship type and crew quality. For example, a British 120 is 75 points if it is A morale (the best morale) or 45 points if it is E morale (worst morale)

Ships have 4 rigging sections, 3 hull sections, 3 crew sections, and one marine section. As each section is eliminated, the ship suffers. For example, a ship that has lost 2 rigging sections is -2 to it's speed in all wind directions and can not be at plain sail. As a ship loses hull sections it is forced to make morale checks. As crew sections are lost, morale checks are forced and firing potential is effected.

To fire, the range is measured and cross indexed against the total gunnery factor of the firing ship. From there modifiers are applied to get the base gunnery number. A D6 is rolled and added to that number, then that number is looked up on the hit charts. A natural 6 indicates a possible critical hit. Checking the hit chart reveals the chance for a critical modified by the ships crit modifier.

Example : A British 112 at B morale is firing at an American 44 at B morale. The 44 is 3 hexes away from the 112. The 112 has taken no gun losses, thus has 28 long guns and 1 carronade. The 44 is within 3 hexes, so the carronades are doubled giving a 30 gun broadside. Checking the chart we see that 30 guns at 3 hexes starts at a 25. It would start at a 28 if it was a rake tho. Next, the modifiers are added in. The Brit is B morale so that adds 4, it is the first time firing that broadside so the initial fire bonus is gained adding 2 more. The grand total is a 31 + 1D6. Let's say the 112 rolls a 6. Checking the chart for a 37, assuming he was firing low, we see a result of 4 rigging, 5 hull, 2 crew, and 3 guns. The 44 has 6 boxes in his first rigging section, so 4 boxes are marked off. There are 8 boxes in his first hull section, so 5 boxes are marked off, and so on. Crew losses and gun losses are randomized between marines and normal crew or for gun hits, long guns and carronades.

Period Naval Warfare in the Age of Napoleon, 1793-1815
Scale 1 hex = 75 yards
1 game turn = 3.33 minutes of real time
1 crew box = 25 men
1 movement point = 2/3 of a knot
1 gun box = 45 pounds of broadside weight of shot (adjusted)
1 carronade box = 80 pounds of broadside weight of shot (adjusted)
Basing Individual. "The only thing you need is the right hex scale for the ships you are using. One ship takes up two hexes in the game."
Contents 50-page rule book, cardboard counters, ship log sheets, ship message form sheet
Designer Mark A Campbell
Publisher Version 6.1 was published 1991 by Tempest Games. A new edition is to be published in 1997 by Clash of Arms

What You Think

Ron (
Close Action is an excellent set of rules designed for any scale miniatures. The only problem I have with the rules is that he doesn't include ship stats for the other nations like Russia and Sweden or their rowing fleets. He only covers the 5 major powers - the Americans, Spanish, French, Dutch, and British.

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Online Resources

Publisher's Website
Thumbnail description of the game, pictures of counters.
Close Action Website
Maintained by Steve Becker (, and devoted to the forthcoming new edition of the rules.

If you know of other resources for this game, or if you have material you would like to make available to the Net, please let us know.

Last Updates
22 October 1998added publisher's link
17 May 1997Steve Becker moves to new website
24 December 1996page first published
Comments or corrections?