Hoist the Signal for Close Action

Brief Description

Rules for naval combat.

Why the long title? Rod Langton tells us: "The reason for this rather clumsy set of words was that when we advertised the set, before publication as Signal Close Action, a guy from Scotland contacted us saying that he was using that title and that he had special permission from Alexander Kent (the author of a book by the same name) to use it. To be frank, although the other rule set died on the shelf, it wasn't worth the hassle so we changed the name."

Period Age of Fighting Sail
Scale unknown
Basing Individual
Contents unknown
Designer unknown
Publisher Langton Miniatures

What You Think

Kai Larson (

My favorite ruleset for multi-ship actions is Hoist the Signal for Close Action by Rod Langton (the same guy who makes Langton Miniatures). This is a detailed rule set that does a good job of recreating the feel of sailing and fighting, but it is still very fast playing and it is possible to conduct battles involving a large number of ships without getting too bogged down.

The only thing I have against Hoist the Signal is that the rules themselves are a bit ambiguous in places and the organization is a little difficult to figure out.

This is my rule set of choice though, and is easily played by veterans and beginners. I've played a number of other naval rules, but haven't found others that have the combination of playability and flavour of the Hoist the Signal rules. Particularly troubling are the hex- or square-based sets I've played. The problem with most of these are that a hex- or square-based system doesn't provide for enough variability in wind angles and forces too much variability in ship speeds.

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Online Resources

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Last Updates
23 July 1998page first published
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