Drones are not only one of the most exciting toys around, but they have the potential for extra fun as game of drones. They’re more enjoyable when a group of people gets together on the playing field to show off their quadcopter drones. There can even be envy and competition for when people bring their drones out for display. Some people may be proud that they spent hundreds of dollars on their drone, while other drone owners may know how to fly a drone well, or get theirs soaring higher than anyone else.
Photo by Ted Eytan / CC BY-SA 2.0
Drone tricks are always impressive, but not all drones can do them. The pro drone pilot may be able to get their drone to do moves that haven’t been pre-programmed into the machine.
Some drone owners may have even built their own custom drones, including unusual paint jobs or graphics, ones that can’t be purchased in a store. When you get a group of people onto the field there’s bound to be some competition happening. One way to create interest for a drone gathering event is to hold a Game of Drones competition.
Drone owners can be alerted in advance that they must bring their fastest and most impressive flying quadcopter. A friendly competition can occur, or perhaps a prize can be offered for the drone pilot who has won the most events.
Game of Drones: How to Start a Drones Event
There are several different competitions that drone owners can have fun doing. Keep in mind the limits and abilities of your drones, and you’ll have a lot of fun doing it. You can even invite an audience to come and watch the event.
You may wish to choose an assortment of games, different age ranges, and different types of drones. After all, is it fair to pair a palm-sized drone against the DJI Phantom 3?
Game of Drones: Setting Rules
You’ll need to set some rules for drones games, particularly if you wish to ensure the safety of the drone pilots, the audience, and the surrounding landscaping.
Here are just a few rules you may wish to consider for the flying competition.
- No drones allowed in the air except during competitive events.
- A drone owner must not knowingly try to crash into or ram another drone, person, or object.
- If a drone is getting out of viewing range, it must be brought back immediately.
- No one may fly another person’s drone.
- No one may touch another person’s drone.
- If birds are flying past, the drone must be lowered until they have safely passed.
- Pets must be on a leash at all times.
- Younger children must be watched by at least one adult.
- No one may argue with the rulings of the drone games judge. Remember it’s just a game and not to take things too seriously.
- If you’re not participating in one particular drone game, you must take up position in the audience, keeping out of the way of the drone pilots who need to have space on the field.
- Competitors should understand the basics of piloting before they engage in combat.
- Cheap drones that do not respond to their radio controller must not be flown.
Game of Drones: the Best Game
There are many cool competitions you can have with your friends. Consider a few of these suggestions and perhaps you’ll be able to think up more ideas later.
- Distance Competition. See which drone can be flown out to the furthest distance without losing contact with the radio controller, or dropping out of the sky. You may wish to have a team member situated a far distance away, so that they can judge which drone has reached the farthest distance.
- Height Competition. Let every competitor fly their drone as high up in the air as they can get, without losing the connection with radio controller, or having the drone drop back down again. You may wish to do this at the base of a hill, so you can have a judge situated in a high spot at the top of a hill, or even in a tree.
- Hover Competition. See which of your friend’s drones can keep their drone hovering in the air the longest. Of course this may be contingent on how much power their battery pack contains. It may also be tiring, as people try to hold their drones in hover mode. Make the rules more difficult and not allow competitors to use their hover mode function on the radio control unit. Also designate a certain space that the drone must remain hovering within, and if it slips outside the bounds, they have lost.
- Have competitors flip or roll their drones on demand. Make it even more difficult by not allowing them to use the tricks button.
- Have competitors demonstrate a simple take off, flight around the field, and then a landing back on the ground, without mishap.
- Set up a target on a picnic table, and have each competitor go one at a time. They must fly and land their drones right on target.
Game of Drones: More Complex Game of Drones Events
You can set up more challenging events for the drone pilots who have been flying for the longest. Here are a few ideas.
- Obstacle Course. Set up an obstacle course for the drones. It may involve winding around pylons, slipping under or over hurdles, flying in a circle around the field, and landing on specific targets.
- Figure Eights. Have the drone perform a figure 8 in the air, without using any trick or switch button.
- Two Figure Eights. Have two competitors fly figure 8s around each other without colliding.
- Return to Home. Have the competitors fly their drones out to a specific distance and then have them press the return-to-home function on the radio controller. See which drone returns to their take off position first.
- Fastest Drone. Set up a line about two hundred yards in the distance and see which drone can reach the finish line the fastest. Be sure to disqualify any drones who crash before they get there.
Game of Drones: Drone Photography Competition
Another great idea for a drone competition is to hold a drone photograph or drone video competition. The competitors can take their photos at any time with their drone cameras, or record video at any time with their drone video cameras. The images could be posted to a website, and visitors can be asked to vote for their favourites.
People may even be curious as to what type of drone camera you used to record your images, so you may wish to include that information on the site.
This type of competition allows for friendly competing, but takes away a lot of the stress of holding an actual one-day event.
Game of Drones: Other Drones Games
Drones games can also be done by people who own an airplane, helicopter or UFO drone. While quadcopters may be some of the bestselling drones in the stores today, UFOs are quickly catching up, particularly when you can have a spaceship or starship from your favorite television series or science fiction movie.
You can also perform game of drones events with any type of flying drone. But you’ll have to keep in mind that other types of flying drones simply do not have the range or height of a quadcopter. You certainly don’t want to run competitions of them together, unless it’s for humor.
Game of Drones: Fighting Drones
Apparently there is actually a drones league that is called Game of Drones and they actually fight to the death. It’s actually the drones that fight to the death, or until they have stopped working completely. It may seem surprising that people will spend hundreds of dollars on a drone only to intentionally have it damaged.
This league has participants from around the world, and has been a sport for the past three years. The goal is to fly your drone into your competitor’s drone to disable it. Whichever drone remains hovering in the air is the winner.
The game is based on points. A drone loses a point if it hits the ground. A reasonable amount of time is given for a drone to recover from a crash, otherwise they lose. The league offers a builder’s kit for competitors, which can be customized. Apparently the drones may need a few new propellers after a competition, but the drone bodies are fairly hardy.
Game of Drones: What Kinds of Prizes to Have at a Drones Competition?
Whenever a competition is held, the organizers often stress over the prizes. Having prizes will attract competitors to the event, but someone must chip in to cover the cost. If you can get an official drone event together, you may wish to charge a small attendance fee for participants and visitors. You’ll be able to defray the costs of prizes this way.
For individual competitions, you could stick to simple prizes, such as drone magazines. You may wish to choose a grand prize winner, the one who has won the most competitions for the day, and they’ll get the big prize. Of course it makes sense that the grand prize will be a drone!
If you’re only hosting a friend’s event, perhaps you can ask around for drone items that your friends are willing to donate, or perhaps someone will be willing to spend money on a prize.
A drone prize makes the event more exciting.
Game of Drones: Drones on Display
When you’re planning on holding a drone event, the first thing you need to do is have all the drones on display. If there are picnic tables on the field you can use these, or you can bring some portable tables with you. Arrange the drones in a line. People can then come up and have a look at them all. Be sure that everyone understands that the drones are for viewing purposes only.
The owner of the drone may wish to be on hand to show the drone to the audience. Each participant in the drone games may also wish to give a short speech on the performance of their chosen drone.
Game of Drones: Professional Drone Competitions
Last summer, the first ever US national drone competition was held in California. An Australian won the competition. It was held at the California State Fair’s summer event. Chad Nowak from Brisbane was the winner of all three drone events.
The drone competition held three different events. One was the individual time trial, the second a team time trial, and the final one was the freestyle trick event. During the time trial event there were over 120 participants.
The competition’s goal was to bring together people from around the world to forge connections. Since this was the first event, it may have also been the first and only opportunity to fly for competition in the USA for those who were not a resident or citizen.
The competition was fraught with glitches. Some racers couldn’t get their drones in the air, while others could not get the video feature to work on their view screens.
Apparently Nowak said he had the advantage in the competition as his video feed always worked. Interestingly, he hadn’t gone with the goal of winning, he simply wanted to keep his drone in the air at all times. He had about one year of drone piloting experience prior to the event. He didn’t start to really have fun until he discovered the FPV goggles.
Even some of the worlds best racers crashed within seconds of their competition. Still, they remained in good humor. It was an extremely hot day, and there were actually more competitors than audience members. Safety standards were excellent, without any injuries. Once the drone events become more popular there should be more people in the stands.
Apparently there are plans to hold the nationals in 2018, though they won’t be at the California State Fair again.
On May 20 in Hoboken, New Jersey, a drone competition event was also held at the Propeller Festival. This was an event that combined technology and music together. The drone competition involved licensed pilots competing in an obstacle course.
Drones Reviews to Help Choose the Best Drone
If the idea of having a games of drones competition appeals to you, but you don’t have any suitable drones, or are unhappy with the performance of yours, you may be in the market to buy a new drone.
It can be difficult knowing where to begin finding a new drone. Your best option is to begin reading drone reviews on Amazon. This will give you the best indication whether the drone is meant for beginners, how easy it is to learn to fly it, and whether it responds to the radio controller, or not.
You can also visit local shops that sell drones and find out if they have demo models so you can see them in action. Nothing is worse than buying a drone, only to find out that it doesn’t respond to the controls in the way that you expected.
You can also ask for the recommendations of friends with drones. Find out if they’re happy with any of their purchases, and what their recommendations may be. You can also find out which drones to avoid or not waste your money on.
There may also be the problem of supply and demand. If your friend has a great drone, it may simply not be available for sale anymore. If this is the case, check and see which new drones have replaced it. They may function even better than the older drone did.
When you’re searching around for a drone, you should also check and see what kind of warranties or guarantees it has. A two week money back guarantee is helpful for when you buy a drone that turns out to be disappointing. Most name brand drones also come with a one year warranty or more, which is helpful for replacing any defective or malfunctioning components that have not been your fault.
If you’re shopping in a store, ask if you can see what’s in the package. Some packages have a clear plastic front so you can see the drone itself, while others only have a photograph on the front. It can be extremely difficult to choose a drone this way, as often you don’t even have any indication of what size it might be. Often the store clerk won’t mind opening up the box so you can have a peek.
Remember that the $1200 drone may fly as well as the $400 drone, so don’t assume that the $1200 one will be the best price.
You may also wish to compare flight times. Flight time is extremely important—after all, how much fun can you have if your drone will only fly in the competition for five minutes? Compare flight time with price to see if it’s worth it to you.
If you’re doing drone competitions, also consider whether you want to buy a drone with a radio controller, or whether you wish to control it through your smart phone or tablet. A radio controller unit may offer better functionality and control.
Once you have your drones ready for competition, you’re now ready for your Game of Drones competitions. Be sure to enforce rules so that you always stay safe on the field.