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Action Stations

Naval Wargames Rules for Coastal Forces 1914 – 1953

by David Manley, with Alan Butler and Andrew Finch


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These rules are designed to fight actions in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War. They provide the opportunity to refight skirmishes in the Channel, the Mediterranean and the Pacific with MTB attacks on Convoys and similar furious engagements.

The ships are split into three Classes for both size and manoeuvrability. Class 1 covers fast ships such as MTBs, Class 2 covers larger vessels of an intermediate size, and Class 3 covers larger ships such as destroyers and merchants.

Play alternates between the two sides, with the initiative winner in each turn deciding who will move first, and he can always move one model last. Movement is split into Phases so that the slowest (Class 3) vessels move first, through Class 2 and to Class 1; after that aircraft are moved. Each of these Phases is completed separately. When a ship is being moved, this can be "challenged" by the enemy using Reaction Fire, though an enemy ship can only be challenged by a single ship, and this happens either before or after the model is moved.

The time scale in the turn is about 40 seconds, and the models move 1cm per knot on the table. The speed that vessels can move is regulated by the concept of Speed Settings, based on 1/4’s of the ship’s speed, and therefore constraining the model’s movement.

During the Shooting Phase the winner of initiative gets to shoot first, then fire alternates between the two sides. The rate of fire of a weapon mount is taken into account, and gun mounts may roll more than 1 dice to hit. Guns with slow rates of fire are penalised and there is some variation in the effectiveness of different gun calibres. Hull Damage and Special Damage is evaluated separately for each hit. Some weapons will not damage the hull but could affect the ship in other ways. You cannot sink a destroyer with a machine gun, but you could suppress the gun crews. Torpedoes are represented by individual tracks, so the player needs to have a good aim and be able to judge the distance to the target.

The rules allow you to hide some ships, if you wish to. These are represented by Contact Markers, which have to be spotted before they can be attacked. You get additional Contact Markers and the chance of this is dependent on the size of the ship, whether it is day or night, and the general weather conditions, among other factors.

The rules also allow for the use of Aircraft, Submarines, Minefields and Armed Merchant ships. The data annexe covers over 250 vessels and 200 aircraft.


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Product Support

When accessing the files laid out below, the following rules apply:

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Quick Reference Sheets

Quick Reference Sheets for Action Stations (Edition 4.0)

Quick Reference Sheets for Action Stations (Edition 4.2)

Rules Support

Firing and Fixed Torpedo Arc Indicators, Turn Templates and blank Ship Record Sheets for use with these rules are available in the following PDF:

Action Stations Rules Support Package


Nothing at the moment.


Action Stations Errata Sheet 4 (July 2018)


Nothing at the moment.

New Data

Some new ships have been added, and one set of (German) data modified.

New Game Data for Action Stations (May 2020)

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