Sunday, 19 July 2020

Snake and ladders Jacobite campaign ends

Action during the game

The snakes and ladders Jacobite campaign has come to a conclusion with the final pitched battle.
As the first to finish on the campaign board the Jacobite army gets an additional unit of their choice and also chooses from One-Hour Wargames (OHW) book scenarios one or two, both are pitched battles.

The campaign board with the Jacobite army being the first to get to the last battle square. After some early set backs the Government army was never able to catch up to the Jacobite army.

First up the battle report, then a couple of thoughts on the campaign itself.

Order of battle

Jacobite Army:
  • 1 x Artillery unit
  • 3 x Line Infantry units
  • 2 x Highlander units
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
Government Army:
  • 1 x Skirmish unit
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
  • 4 x Line Infantry
There are two objectives the crossroads and overlooking hill. The Jacobite forces have their artillery, an infantry unit and cavalry defending the hill. While on the other flank their highlands supported by line infantry are lined up to take the crossroads. While Government forces being outnumbered have chosen to defend the crossroads with all their available line infantry. Unfortunately they lack artillery which where left behind in the forced march to the crossroads.

Opening moves of the battle.

The battle begins with the Highlander units making a charge with their line infantry following up. Government troops mostly held firm with only one unit routed. They were then able to deliver a series of steady volleys into the Highlanders and their charge dissipated. The supporting Jacobite line infantry then moved up to engage the Government line. Meanwhile, Jacobite artillery annoyingly peppered any unengaged Government unit with shots.

Government reserves are used to hold the charging Highlanders.

The highland charge is stopped and the Jacobite line infantry engage the Government line.

On the far side a weak Jacobite cavalry unit flanks the Government line.

On the other flank a cavalry engagement saw the Jacobite cavalry come out on top and finally rout the Government cavalry. This very weakened cavalry force was able to move around to threaten the Government flank. 

Government skirmishers kept up harassing fire on units defending the hill throughout the battle. Eventually, once the battle was going against Government forces, the Jacobite infantry moved forward to drive off the tenacious skirmisher unit.

Out flanked Government forces are forced to retire.

Jacobite number finally told and Government forces exit the field if battle.

Government line infantry were putting up stubborn resistance, but were forced to give ground as Jacobite cavalry threatened to outflank their defensive line. Eventually their line gave and they ceded the battlefield. A Jacobite victory to top off the campaign.

Now the campaign is completed. Here are a couple of notes and thoughts on the campaign and what I may change.

When thinking about the snakes and ladders approach. I was originally thinking about a Necromunda (Games Workshop Gang Warfare) style campaign as gangs fight their way up the levels of the hive city, but the terrain hasn't been completed yet so approach was rejigged to the 18th Century. I will be undertaking a Necromunda campaign once I finally get my terrain sorted out.

The number of snakes and ladders misfortunes (snakes) and successes (ladders) seems to be about right. I had based them on an actual snakes and ladders game. There were a couple of turns where I though the campaign might go on for a while, but it all turned out well with the campaign providing a handful of battles. These were all randomly selected from One-Hour Wargames:
  • Scenario 11 - Surprise attack
  • Scenario 26 - Tripple line
  • Scenario 13 - Escape.
  • Scenario 18, - Counter attack
  • Scenario 2 - Pitched battle (2)
The selection of OHW scenarios for all the battles, all random except for the last pitched battle, proved very useful and always provided a nice (or interesting) surprise.

It has to be said this campaign approach is random and governed by the dice. I am not to bothered by this as it provides a narrative. It terms of narrative, in a future I may create two identical boards with a separate narrative tailored to the army using the board.

Other thoughts are not to use OHW scenarios and dice for the situation eg, surprise, flanking attack, ambush, etc. Then the higher the battle square up the board, the more open the tabletop terrain is. For example, a rebellion style game could start with mountainous, moving to more open and agricultural and finally more urban as the rebellion progresses.


  1. Great final game Peter and a really interesting Campaign. I like the Snakes and Ladders board idea very much.

    1. Thank you. It was a fun simple campaign to play with an undetermined number of games to play.

  2. Worked very well, and an exciting narrative throughout.
    I like the idea of two separate boards and tailoring the army to its 'story'.
    OHW seemed to work very well throughout the campaign, though your thoughts on rebellion style episodes moving to more open ground is intriguing.

    1. The two separate boards would allow actual historical events to be added for each side. The OHW scenarios worked particularly well. Thanks.

  3. Good conclusion to an interesting campaign.

    Just a thought. Proceeding from mountainous terrain to arable to urban presumes that the Jacobites are in the ascendancy. If the Government forces are progressing more wouldn’t it be the other way round?

    1. Yes, having the "leading" force dictate the type of terrain is a nice way of doing that. Thanks.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. It is certainly an approach I will give another try.

  5. Top notch final fight, what a wonderful period!

    1. Thank you, I am sure the Jacobite period will see the tabletop again soon.

  6. Another great post really enjoyed following the campaign. As I said before a simple but creative process of running a campaign. Thanks again for posting

    1. Thank you. It was a small and enjoyable campaign. Not too onerous to run.

  7. Hello Peter,
    I just wanted to say thanks very much for a brilliant idea!
    Having read your first post on the snakes and ladders game, I set up a lockdown mini-campaign for my mates based on William of Orange's march from Torbay to London in 1688, as if King James had had any fight in him. Both players started with a small force and for each line of the S&L board they ascend, more units chosen at random join them. I used a 5 x 10 board and your up and down labels. Each time William rolls his S&L die, he moves one stage on his 16-stage route to London. If either player lands on a x10 square (10, 20,etc), the armies encounter each other and we resort to the table, and when either reaches square 50, there will be a last do or die battle for the crown.
    About half way through at the moment and it's been great fun. Thank you very much for having the idea and telling everyone!

    1. Thanks and good luck with your own campaign. I do like your idea of building up the armies as they progress to the final do or die battle.

  8. I'm loving the snakes & ladders approach!

    1. Thank you. I will definitely be giving this approach another go.

  9. Hi Peter I was wondering if I could use your snakes and ladders campaign rules with a few minor additions, to run a ECW campaign on my YouTube channel. Plugging your blog ofcourse.

    1. Hi Steve, for sure you can reuse or repurpose. I look forward to seeing how it works for ECW and what adjustments are required. Regards, Peter