Thursday, 26 March 2020

A Jacobite Rebellion game using orders

I still have to write up my last WW2 Western Desert campaign game over the weekend as it requires a map, which takes a bit of time. As a quick of a change in scenery, certainly on the tabletop, I opted for a quick Jacobite Rebellion game using the One Hour Wargaming scenario "Counter Attack".

A couple of turns into the game. The six units a side of 40mm Jacobite Paper soldiers fills my 6x4 foot tabletop quite nicely without getting too crowded.
One of the approaches I have been taking recently has been use orders. I don't particularly like using written orders so I use tokens in indicate movement, and where there is no token the unit is assumed to be holding and will fire at the nearest enemy unit.

Three colours are required. Red and Blue are for the opposition and Grey for  your own units.
At the start of a turn two orders are assigned to units on the opposing side. The simplicity of OHW rules makes this easy as units either move, shoot or melee. I work through the six units one by one asking the question what are the options? In some cases there is only one sensible approach and both orders are the same. As a generally rule I try and have half the units with two options. For example, a units has two orders to move, one to stay with the main body and the other to move wide to protect the flank.

Orders, blue and red, are placed on opposition units.
After all the orders are placed, I check the order colours again to make sure the blue orders are complimentary of each other, and repeat the process with the red. A straightforward task with only six units on the table with OHW.

An example of a unit with red orders to move and blue orders will be to hold and shoot at the nearest enemy unit.
After reviewing the opposition order options it is now time to place the orders for my units. Only one set of orders is required. As I guess and try and counter both possible options. I then roll the dice for the opposition forces, 1-3 and blue orders are actioned, 4-6 and red orders are actioned.

On my turn I follow the orders placed.

Only one set of orders for my own units.
I find this approach enjoyable as I think of different order options for the opposition. At some points in the game it is quite difficult to have half the units with two different options. If this happens I won't force this rule as I don't want the game ruined by irrational orders.

A quick note on additional rules applied to Horse and Musket OHW rules for Jacobite games:

  • Highlanders move 9" and charge at +2 in hand to hand combat. On their first charge they roll two D6 and select the highest.
  • Line infantry on their first volley roll two D6 and select the highest.
  • Commanders, 3 per side, can join a unit during their move and reduce hits by D6-1 once. They remain with the unit for the remainder of the game.


  1. I like the mechanics you’ve developed for opponents options and how you have to counter them.

    In my own games I use command/officer stands where you use arrows. In front of the unit for advance, behind for stand, reversed behind for retire. I’d need double the amount for your method though!

    1. I like your approach of using officers as indicators of orders.

  2. Interesting approach, Peter. I do not favor turn-by-turn or move-by-move written orders but often issue orders to specific formations as a tactical objective. These orders must be followed until either fulfilled or cancelled.

    1. The turn by turn approach for orders is very old-school. I may tryout written orders, rather than arrows on the tabletop, having orders written 2 moves in advance with an option to override an order if the commander is close by.

  3. An interesting approach to playing an opponent in a solo game. The pics of the game look lovely BTW.

    1. Thanks, the paper soldiers are surprisingly effective. I am enjoying the use orders and it will be interesting to see how the approach changes with a few games.

  4. I've never been a fan of orders, but this approach is simple and seems like it should work well for a solo game

    1. As a solo player it adds to the game (for me) without the need to write things down. When trying to think of two options I find it surprising how difficult it can be.