“Modern” wargames

Just thinking out loud here.

There is a period in wargaming known as “modern”, which is generally accepted to be post 1945. But can you compare the Korean War to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan?

The period from 1945 to 2021 is longer than the period between the Zulu War and the Second World War. Would we use the same game systems and rules for those conflicts?

My thinking is that we should at least subdivide the “modern” period into pre- and post- “electronic” warfare. The first subdivision is where the war was similar to The Second World War but with upgraded weapons, missiles and the nuclear threat. The second era is the “electronic” or “digital” age with remote instant command possibilities such as drones, helmet-cams, wi-fi earpieces, etc.

For wargaming purposes I would set a period division around 2001, while realising that this has, like all military developments, been a gradual process.


Getting away from wargaming for a moment, I wonder if the modern all-seeing eye on the battlefield will have its consequences. If the man at HQ can see what the man on the ground can see via “helmet-cam” from his remote HQ, how does the man on the ground progress from experience to be the man at HQ? Is the squaddie destined to become a mere battlefield semi-robotic pawn?

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General Whiskers

Wargaming butterfly (mainly solo), unpainted model figure amasser, and Historical Re-enactor of the black powder era.

9 thoughts on ““Modern” wargames”

  1. Wonder if the division should be based on a set of conflicts–and thus the weapons used?
    Maybe the “end” might be like the Iran/Iraq war as the last WWII conflict?…bush wars in AFrica? India/Pakistan conflicts? 2001 doesn’t bring anything but 9/11 to mind, and that is asymmetric warfare….Russia into Afghanistan?

    But, I would definitely put the 1st gulf war into a different category then Korea….
    Though the Israeli conflicts into the 70s were more WWII…

    As well—the Asymmetric warfare of the modern period—a very different type of conflict then Nation-state wars….fights against ISIS? are they the same?

  2. I don’t generally game this period, but I was inspired to write by a post on Facebook showing a rulebook “Modern Wars”. I then looked at the timeframe and the developments in warfare since 1945.
    I believe that every conflict since 1945 (and possibly earlier) needs to be examined and evaluated for its own set of rules.
    But that’s what “boardgame” or map game designers do, isn’t it?

  3. Fair points all- I think it very much depends on the level of the game though- has that much (other than assault rifles predominating) changed in a platoon level and below skirmish game?



  4. you mention fb…..
    I would encourage you to get to MeWe….
    Many of us can no longer tolerate fb….
    so, one vote to duplicate your life 🙂

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