D3 Jacobite Rebellion Rules

 Jacobite Rebellion Rules


These rules are for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. They are a modified version of the rules from “One-Hour Wargames” by Neil Thomas. Other influences to these rules have come from “Charge” by Brig. P. Young and Lt.Col. J. P. Lawford. The rules use a simple activation system to create increasing friction as the battle progresses and units take hits.

Unit Types

August 1745, Charles Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) raised his standard at Glenfinnan. Highland clansmen rallied to his cause along with Lowland troops and troops trained in France. At this time of the raising, most of the British Army was fighting on the Continent, so the Government initially had to rely on unseasoned troops.

Jacobite Units

Highlanders - Organised around the clans these units formed a large part of the Jacobite army. They fought in their traditional style where they fired a mass volley into the enemy, then threw down their muskets and charged with combat weapons (swords, shields, axes, etc).

Lowland Infantry - They operated as line infantry in formed lines and using musketary in a controlled way. They were unseasoned and not as well drilled as the British regular infantry.

Irish Piquets and Royal Ecossais - Trained and recruited in France and sent to Scotland. The Irish Piquets and Royal Ecossais are seasoned regular infantry.

Jacobite Cavalry - Few in number they were for the most part unseasoned cavalry. Baggon’s Hassars would be treated as seasoned cavalry.

Artillery - While France supplied plenty of guns, the lack of artillery specialists to man them meant the artillery was ineffective.

Skirmishers - Rarely deployed, these are treated as unseasoned.

Government Units

Infantry - The quality of Line Infantry was variable at the start of the Jacobite Rebellion, and often unseasoned troops were used. This situation improved as seasoned and well trained troops returned from the Continent.

Militia - Highland regiments were recruited from areas loyal to the British. For the most part they were unseasoned.

Cavalry - The cavalry were mainly Dragoons used purely in a cavalry role. These were supported by militia cavalry. The cavalry were a combination of seasoned and unseasoned troops.

Artillery - Lacked artillery and their specialists to man them at the beginning of the campaign. Mortars were also used to lob high explosive shells.

Skirmishers - Were used in small numbers and are treated as seasoned.

The units need to be consistently based. Commanders are used in the game and are often just individual models and their basing is less important.

Sequence of Play

Each player takes turns attempting to activate some or all of their units to: move, shoot or charge. Once they have finished, the next player attempts to activate their units. 

Activation Test

All units must take an activation test when attempting to move or shoot. The procedure is to roll a D6 and multiply the score by 2.

If the result is greater than the unit’s accumulated hits, the unit is successfully activated to move or shoot. Otherwise the unit is inactive for the remainder of the turn, but may pivot to face any threats.

The activation test adds friction to the game and how units become less effective through combat due to: fatigue, casualties, confusion, and loss of officers. All of these factors are represented by the number of hits a unit has taken.


The procedure for moving a unit is as follows:

  1. Check a unit’s activation.

  2. Successfully activated units may move up to their movement allowance in a straight line.

Turning - Units turn by pivoting on any or their corners. They may pivot at the start and/or the end of their move. When a unit is pivoting they cannot pass through other units or terrain they cannot enter. Note, units can about face without the need to pivot.

Changing Formation - Infantry units can change formation from column to line, but must change formation before making their move.

Interpenetration - Skirmishers are the only units that may pass through other friendly units and vice versa. All units may pass through Artillery.

Moving and Shooting - Units may not shoot if they have moved during the same turn.

Movement Allowances

  • Infantry 6” or 9” when in column

  • Artillery 6” (remains stationary after shooting)

  • Skirmishers 9” 

  • Cavalry 12”

  • Commander 12” (never need to activate)


Units are affected by terrain as follows:

  • Woods - Only skirmishers can enter.

  • Buildings - Block line of sight.

  • Bogs and Difficult Terrain - impassable to cavalry and artillery. All movement halved.

  • Rivers - Can be only crossed via bridges & fords. It takes a full move to cross.

  • Hills - all units can move onto hills.


Cavalry and Highlanders are the only units that may enter melee by moving into contact with an enemy unit. Charges are resolved by moving the unit straight ahead into combat. The following restrictions apply:

  • The charging unit may turn once up to 45 degrees at the beginning of the charge move.

  • Only one attacking unit may engage any given defending unit.

  • Combat is resolved immediately (see melee section).

Shooting (Muskets)

There are two procedures for shooting, one for muskets (Infantry and Skirmishers) and one for artillery. 

Note - Cavalry and Highlanders never shoot.


The procedure for shooting:

  1. Check the field of fire - Units may only shoot at a single unit within 45 degrees of their frontal facing.

  2. Check the range - Measure the distance from the front centre of the shooting unit to any part of the target unit. Muskets have a range of 12”.

  3. Determine casualties - Units roll a D3 when shooting. The result gives the number of hits the target acquires, which are modified by the following:

    1. +1 Seasoned Infantry

    2. -1 Skirmishers shooting

    3. -1 target in woods, towns, or behind walls.

Artillery and Mortars

The procedure for shooting:

  1. Check the target - Only Infantry, Highlanders and Cavalry can be targeted.

  2. Check the field of fire - Units may only shoot at a single unit within 45 degrees of their frontal facing.

  3. Check the range - Roll a D6 and multiply the score by 6” to determine the range achieved. When shooting at targets in cover, woods or buildings, subtract 2 from the D6 score when calculating the range.

  4. Determine casualties - Any infantry or cavalry unit within range takes 1 hit if the artillery is unseasoned and 2 hits if seasoned.

Mortars use the same process as artillery, but cannot target units less than 18” range, and will always ignore cover (don’t subtract 2 from their range).


The procedure for Melee is as follows:

  1. One Sided Combat. Units only inflict casualties during their players turn.

  2. Successful Activation. There is no activation to melee, as units have already successfully activated to charge.

  3. Access Casualties. Units roll a D3 which is modified by the following:

    1. Seasoned Cavalry and Highlanders add 1 to the result

    2. If Artillery or Skirmishers are the target, add 1.

    3. Defenders of woods, walls, on a hill, or holding a river crossing, subtract 1.

    4. Units engaging the enemy flank or rear add 2 hits.

Retreat. If failing to rout the enemy, the attacking unit retreats half their movement after the combat is resolved, ending their move facing their target.

Advance. If the enemy is routed, the attacking unit must advance a full move. This can result in the charging unit making a second melee attack. 

Rout and Enthusiasm

As unit combat is completed, shooting or melee, check the unit hits.

  • Skirmishers and Artillery are routed and removed from play when they have acquired 5 or more hits.

  • Infantry and cavalry units are routed and removed from play when they have acquired 9 or more hits.

Troop Enthusiasm. The unit who’s attack caused the rout of an enemy unit can reduce their hits by 1. This rule does not apply to Artillery.


Commanders cannot engage in combat and must always remain 12” away from any enemy unit, unless they have moved to join a unit.

During movement a commander can join an Infantry, Highlander, or Cavalry unit within 12” to rally them. The unit’s hits are halved (rounding up any fractions, e.g. rallying a unit with 7 hits will reduce its hits to 4). A unit cannot be rallied more than once during a game. (So keep the commander with the unit as a reminder.)

No more than one Commander can rally a unit during a single turn.


Conventions of the day mean there are constraints to where some troops are positioned on the battlefield during deployment. The rules are:

  • The armies traditionally deployed in two lines. The first line can be up to 15” from their base edge, and the second line up to 9” from their base edge. 

  • The first line must contain more units than the second line.

  • All Artillery must be placed in the first line.

  • Cavalry must be positioned on the ends of either the first or second line.

  • Highlanders must be in the first line and must first be positioned on the right, a position of honour. Should any Highlander unit be placed in the second line due to terrain constraints, they are “sulky” and immediately take 2 hits.


  1. Some very useful modifications here; I notice they make the players' choices quite restrictive, and could therefore be useful for solo play.

    1. Most of my games are played solo, so I tend to enjoy rules that are restrictive (particularly with deployment) and a with a level of unpredictability (as with activations).

  2. Is there a PDF of this one? Or a synthesis with the D3 Horse-and-Musket rules?

    1. Not posted anywhere. If you comment with an email I will not post comment and send a copy.