Home Forums General Game Design It's a bit wet innit

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    Angel Barracks

    Oh learned types…

    My game world (sci-fi) tends to be quite rainy.
    How does fighting in the rain effect modern day soldiers, would ranges be effectively shortened?
    Vehicles slower?
    Morale worserer?

    Fredd Bloggs

    Coms and visibility, especially IR and sonar based, the moisture in the air can cause havoc with those as well as shortening the Mk1 eyeball as well.

    British forces would be less effected by it than anyone else, as justified by Slims statement that the British army fights all its battle on the side of a hill, in the pouring rain and on the join of 2 maps.


    If you are talking very heavy rain, entrenchments become a pain, digging mud is horrible and feels like an endless task. Standing in them is even worse. So anything below the water table is specialist build. Any defences are more likely the Ypre raised breastwork than the set into the ground type.

    John D Salt

    I think you need to distinguish two aspects of the wetness; precipitation, and the state of the ground.

    Precipitation has the effects Fred outlines on visual (including thermal, depending strongly on droplet size) acquisition by increasing atmospheric absorption and decreasing contrast, and clouds will reduce light levels. Rain increases clutter on radars, and severely increases attenuation in the extra high frequency bands. Temperature inversions, such as might be associated with fog conditions, might result in anaprop or ducting for radars. On the other hand, precipitation suggests no great likelihood of heat exhaustion or dehydration casualties, and will lay the dust that might otherwise result in easy detections of moving vehicles or firing guns. Depending on cloud conditions, air operations may be restricted, but modern all-weather types should be able to fly and strike through solid clag, and it requires astonishingly bad conditions to weather out rotary wing aircraft.

    The state of the ground will depend on drainage as much as recent precipitation — real morasses result when the drainage system breaks down. Soil on inclines that is waterlogged to the right degree can become practically impassable to wheeled vehicles, as the top layer of soil shears off when vehicles try to cross it. Helmbold reports a slight reduction in average advance rates in winter as compared to summer, but other factors seem more important. While mud is, generally, miserable, soft and soggy soil will have the effect of making groundburst shells less effective.

    While the British Army is indeed used to rain (“If it ain’t raining, it ain’t training”), one might assume that the inhabitants of a rainy region or planet were similarly well adapted — recall the old Norwegian proverb that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes — and so there are no adverse effects on morale. From my own experience in the TA, I can tell you that people playing at soldiers can be quite happy doing a four-hour stag in the pouring wet with rain dripping off their helmets, SLRs and noses, just so long as they have got their poncho on properly (and possibly pegged out) and one of those little tubes of compo condensed milk to suck on.

    You do not say whether your SF world includes the use of nuclear weapons, but obviously precipitation has a strong effect on patterns of radioactive fallout from groundbursts. Presumably directed-energy weapons would be badly devalued, too.

    Most wargames rules I have seen, however, simply ignore the effects of rain altogether.

    All the best,



    Just to add to what John said, helmets make excellent rain protection devices. So any soldiers who insist on fighting in soft caps (as so many Wargames figures appear to) should be seriously penalised as the rain pours down over their faces and they have a great soggy mess stuck on their heads.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    Fredd Bloggs

    Rain down the face is ok, it is that slither of water down the back of the next that is murder.


    And for British forces, Rain increases morale, as it gives them something else to moan about. It is when they stop moaning you have a problem.

    Thaddeus Blanchette

    …said the bishop to the barmaid.

    (Sorry, but someone had to do it…)




    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!


    Keep it gaming related please.

    articles on the history of ale are not what this site is meant for.

    Thaddeus Blanchette

    More to the point, it will also be an effect on campaigns. Lots of rain means more equipment breaking down, slower supply distribution, delayed reinforcements and replacements and higher attrition among human troops from disease. Of course, better prepafred and equipped troops would have an advantage. On the one hand, your regular-type soldiers might have great equipment and training which allows them to ignore pretty much everything. On the other, perhaps their gear wasn’t adequately prepared before shipping out nand now they are stuck on the end of an interstellar length supply line. Maybe the irregulars are miserably prepared because they sit at home during the rainy season. Maybe they have all sorts of clever native technology that allows them to move about in the rain with no trouble at all.

    This might be why the rebels on KM prefer hovertanks, however. With not much brush cover and huige areas that might flood in the rainy season, hovertanks actually make sense. Wheeled vehicles, not so much.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    Angel Barracks

    This might be why the rebels on KM prefer hovertanks, however. With not much brush cover and huige areas that might flood in the rainy season, hovertanks actually make sense. Wheeled vehicles, not so much

    Interesting, yes.
    I could tie this into my rough half scribbled campaign notes about fighting on home, neutral or away ground.
    So the Junker Insurgents with their amphibious trucks and soon to have hovertanks would prefer fighting in the lowlands of the river valley rather than the rocky foothills of Anshan!


    Fredd Bloggs

    Just look at the grief the conditions gave Americans in Vietnam, to the locals it was just a fact of life.

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