Home Forums Modern So how do we handle Drones on the wargames table?

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  • #193220
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Nothing to definitive, just a few thoughts on how we could handle drones as part of a wargame

     

    So how do we handle Drones on the wargames table?

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193241
    Avatar photoAndrew Beasley
    Participant

    It’s frightening the way these have changed the face of war – as big an impact as aircraft in my mind.

    I have to recommend the (disturbing) film https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_in_the_Sky_(2015_film)note that link contains spoilers to see one side of warfare that’s not covered by the press.

    #193245
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Interesting, thanks

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193247
    Avatar photoMike Headden
    Participant

    It’s frightening the way these have changed the face of war – as big an impact as aircraft in my mind.

    I have to recommend the (disturbing) film https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_in_the_Sky_(2015_film)note that link contains spoilers to see one side of warfare that’s not covered by the press.

    An excellent and thought provoking film.

    The fat man and the runaway carriage thought experiment in action. How does one balance a certainty of loss of life if one takes action against the potentially greater loss of life if one does nothing?

    While drones may be changing the face of battle (or not) it seems to me it’s still boots on the ground that count.

     

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    #193274

    I think if your game has morale rules, command control rules and Fog of War concealment, armed and observational only drones are easy to put on the table as a normal unit or fig.  The big differences from a standard unit would be susceptibility ECM attacks on them, but essentially they are a combat unit not subject to panic or morale tests, and possibly much harder to spot being smaller than an manned aircraft and capable of NOE loitering. (But possibly noisy too).    Skirmish level games are going to handle this a bit differently than games where platoon or company sized stands are the maneuver unit.

     

    Drone rules are going to be covering lots of different classes of drones.  Large Predator types might be treated more like a conventional CAS aircraft. Smaller observation only drones might not need a figure, or its figure might represent a higher saturation level in a particular area. Some drones might have better performance in terms of maneuverability even if it’s a larger rpv as g forces and needs for the pilot are eliminated.  Suicide drones (or single shot grenade/ bomb droppers) might not need a figure any more than we need figures for an antitank or anti air missile.  Depends on the time increment of a turn.

    Anti-drone/ECM assets’ area of effect and drone assets themselves might be limited or plentiful as per the scenario, it would be a shame not to let a player decide where to commit/prioritize his assets with figures on the table.  Abstract dice rolls might be fine for the internal small spotting assets or as yet another weapon or piece of ordinance to attack with by an infantry platoon or squad, but the military principles of mass, economy of force, and surprise are hard to model if every fig/unit has the same assets covered by a blanket on the whole board.

     

    Ammunition/logistics issues apply as well.  Even a small spotting toy drone, while cheap and expendable, cannot be replaced immediately—and how many suicide drones might be available within the firefight before resupply?

     

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193279
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    In 6mm/company/battalion scale games I don’t think you need track drones any more than you track any other ammunition.
    With the very small observation drones even in skirmish games I think it depends on how much you track ammunition.  If you tally handgrenades and suchlike then you should probably keep track of drones.

    For those drones that have a warhead, then I think you need some way of keeping track of the numbers. I’d model it on how you track artillery expenditure. So if you only allow the artillery to provide the support of one battery for three moves (or whatever) then you might allow somebody six of these drones.

    I suppose mortars might be another model to look at. Do you worry about them running out of ammunition or do you just assume that they’ve stockpiled ammunition and they’re actually limited by the number of tubes? In that case you could do something similar, there are infinite kamikaze drones available but you can only control two a move.

    Actually given that mortar rounds seem to be priced at about $2000 each for unguided (funnily enough governments won’t actually give me a quote for them 🙂 ) a stock pile of kamikaze drones could be no more expensive

    Interesting ideas

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193282
    Avatar photowillz
    Participant

    When all said and done warfare comes down to money and cost of weapons, ammunition, troops, training and equipment.  One way on a wargame table to handle drones on a wargame table would be to link the number and capability of drones linked to cost.  £2000 for a fire / fly and forget maybe £200000+ to a fly, search, attack, and return.  Giving your armies a budget for a game may well limit the number of drones you could use each turn / game.

    Not forgetting it is all well and good attacking the enemy with expensive advanced warfare equipment and then they have the temerity to attack you with cheap bows and arrows, in the long run you may well lose the war on economic grounds.

    #193293
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    That was the argument for not shooting down Shahed drones with patriots missiles

    Mind you I saw a motorbike and side car mounting twin maxim machineguns on an AA mount which is probably good enough and keeps the cost down

    But yes I do like the budget idea. I’ve done it for semi boardgames

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193295

    Yes indeed, budgets…i grow so tired of seeing forces that consist of only the best equipment and training…some that field numbers and percentages never ever reached by the historical force.  Even skirmish gaming should be guided by some historical context and plausible TOE.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193296
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    One of the advantages of a points system, if done properly, is that it can balance things. Ideally an army list will suggest minimums and maximums. This is popular in Ancients.
    One issue I’ve seen is that people seem to expect army lists to provide ‘balanced armies’ where each has a roughly equal chance of winning which the DBMM ancient lists never attempted to do.

    I think for ‘modern’ you need something a bit more flexible, perhaps an insistence that most 155mm ammunition is HE but you can have available x rounds of cluster ammunition.

    A simple financial cost structure would be good, if we could get proper costs. It would be interesting to watch armies evolve as wargamers decided certain weapon systems were just not worth the money. It would be interesting to compare that with the real world to see if real combatants had come to a similar conclusion

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193311

    It’s not just raw costs that determine availability and certainly it should not be based purely on just relative combat effectiveness in the game as tourney players love.  Historical fights are rarely symmetrical or balanced.  Scenario creators need to balance their games by victory conditions, and terrain advantages, as well as points.  I think the tourney driven 200 points of anything vs 200 points of something else, and roll to see who is the attacker rarely produce historically plausible games, but people are either lazy or too eager to just get a game on the table to work on a more plausible scenario.

    Campaign games where a particular scenario’s effects such as losses are felt with limited replacements and resupply in subsequent scenarios do the best job.

    A list of points for choosing assets of the force really  needs to address political factors, doctrinal preferences, logistical channels, and production capacity.  There is a big reason why Shermans remained the main Allied tank during WW2 even when Germany was starting to field Panthers: Retooling of the factories would delay the appearance of any replacing new “better” tank models.

    I like lists that force a player to take minimums and maximums of certain types of troops/equipment,

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193312
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Yes I always think that campaigns are the best way forward, because then that can bring in costs, the risks of retooling and suchlike.

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193338

    Yes indeed, it produces a completely different mindset as well.  Hail Mary attacks or fights to the last man are far less common.  Harboring your limited ammunition or reserves for a later fight instead of shooting willynilly just because you can goes away.  To me it’s the best way to play because the tactical decisions/risks you must make are just so much richer!

     

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193348
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Agree wholeheartedly 🙂

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193361

    Is there a source for 28mm drones of various types?  I wanted to put drones and small tracked rpv “mines” in my Space Hulk games for ages, but never could find a suitable fig.  I ended up with counters.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193363
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    Iliada Game Studio has this

    https://www.iliadagamestudio.com/product-page/sky-banner

    Obviously a Bayraktar type drone. It’s technically 6mm but has a 43mm wingspan so would fit 28mm

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193366

    I might have a use but what i really looking for is the 4 rotor hovering drone. i may end up scratch building some.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193370
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    I’m afraid I’ve not come across any, but I’d be surprised if somebody wasn’t attempting to print them 🙂

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193371

    It’s only a matter of time.  I found a sci-fi fig with a cyberpunk net runner  that had a wall crawling sort of drone that looked like a crab with it but it was very expensive.  I bet a few minutes with some green stuff, toothpicks and some clear plastic packaging to make circles for the spinning rotors is all it will take.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193373
    Avatar photoMike Headden
    Participant

    Typing “drone miniatures wargames” into DuckDuckGo got me this image – available from from Anvil Industries for £4.60

     

    Or this for £2.56 on EBay – Pmc Drone Operator – Modern Wargaming Miniatures for Tabletop RPG – 28mm. Also available in 32mm.

    Or go the whole hog and for twenty quid and up you can get an actual working nano drone! 🙂

    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    #193374

    That anvil fig suits…tho i wouldn’t use the gun.

    Mick Hayman
    Margate and New Orleans

    #193380
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    It’s a nice figure

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #193633
    Avatar photokyoteblue
    Participant

    Love this topic. Hope this posts.

    #193636
    Avatar photoJim Webster
    Participant

    I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff come out 🙂

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

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