I can safely say that whatever Paul Hague was on when he wrote Sea Battles in Miniature back in the late 1970's I only wish it was bottled and available to buy!
The ideas contained within the dreadnought section have completely changed my outlook on how I should be approaching my naval games for the the period of the all big gun battleship. By using a combination of progressive and critical hit damage the gunnery system works a treat and more importantly, using the ship cards as designed enables the all important modelling of different ship types so beloved of naval wargamers (myself included!) to be undertaken in a speedy and efficient fashion - and also very easily to boot.
The rules are designed with big fleets in mind but the option exists for using the detailed damage system with smaller types so this means that cruiser level fights will not be merely just dice rolling exercises. I especially like the idea of rolling a dice per two guns for hits as in my experience, most gamers enjoy rolling great fistfuls of dice, it all adds to the fun!
One of the great things about the PC age we find ourselves in is the fact that producing ship charts is now a whole lot easier than it was in 1980. I use Excel for spreadsheets etc and so setting up the required ship cards up will be a walk in the part by comparison with the old days of calculators, scrap paper and late night long multiplication (especially for Fletcher Pratt ship cards!).
I know I have posted on numerous occasions that I have been trying for ages to design a set of rules for naval combat that did away with ship charts and used markers as the sole means of recording damage. I have finally decided that I cannot fight a naval wargame without using a ship charts of some kind and so, in bowing to the inevitable, I may as well use a set of rules that have been of almost universal acclaim in wargaming circles as any others!