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Blue Max: Original Rules
Foreword: In this page you can read are the original rules of the board games. Even if we tried to keep the online version of the game very similar to the original one, we slightly modified some rules to adapt them to the online game and other rules are not implemented (Lewis gun and Campaign rules).

Blue Max: Dogfights over France

Blue Max is a multi-player game of World War I aerial combat over the Western Front during 1917 and 1918. Each player is a fighter pilot of the British, French, American, or German air service. Each game is a single dogfight, in which players try to shoot down as many enemy planes as possible without being shot down themselves. There is no limit to the number of players in a single game.

Inventory of Components

The original Blue Max game board consists of the following components.
Two 17 x 22" maps, joining to form a 34 x 22" playing surface.
Two sheets of counters totalling 60 aircraft, 36 damage chits, and 30 other markers.
18 double-sided maneuver schedules.
One pad of aircraft record sheets.
Four combat results tables.
This rules book.
One die.

Learning the Game

Blue Max is a fairly simple game; most of the rules are contained in the components used during play and reference to the rule pages should rarely be necessary. In learning how to play, a description of the game components is instructive. Below is a short introduction to the game, using the components as a guide.

The Map: The playing surface is divided into hexagons (hereafter called hexes for short) which are used to define the precise positions of aircraft.

The Aircraft: There are 60 aircraft, each showing a picture of a plane which actually fought over the Western Front. German planes are identified by the black crosses (in several styles) on their wings. The three nationalities of the Allies may be distinguished by the color of their roundels (the circles on their wings); from the outside to the center, British roundels are blue-white-red, French roundels are red-white-blue, and American roundels are red-blue-white.

During play, each plane should always be located in a particular hex, with its front facing toward one of the hex's six side, as shown in the diagram.

The Maneuver Schedules: There is a separate maneuver schedule for each aircraft type. An aircraft's maneuver schedule shows every move the aircraft can make; its starting position is shown by an arrow facing straight ahead, and its ending position is shown by a solid black aircraft. Printed below each maneuver is its maneuver code; a sample maneuver code is shown at right. The first number identifies each maneuver. The letter gives its direction; L is left, R is right, and S is straight. The final number is a fuel/speed number, described later.

Aircraft Record Sheet: This sheet has two functions. At the beginning of each turn, players secretly record their next moves (using the maneuver code) and then simultaneously reveal and perform them. In addition, the several groups of boxes on the sheet are used to record an aircraft's physical characteristics (and combat damage to those characteristics).

Combat Table: This is the most complex-looking part of the game, but it isn't really very difficult. The table is used to determine the result when one plane fires its machine guns at another. The top section is used to determine a combat value; numbers for various situations which render fire either more or less effective are added together to give a combined value. This value is then cross-indexed with a die roll - because chance plays a part in combat - on the bottom section of the table. The result gives the number of damage chits to be drawn and applied.

Damage Chits: There are 36 damage chits, each with a blue side and a red side. They are drawn randomly from a cup when an aircraft is hit by machine gun fire. Most chits have a number and a name which corresponds to one of the groups of boxes on the aircraft record sheet; this represents the number of boxes to be marked off on the sheet. Other chits give more unusual forms of damage. The red side generally has more severe damage results than the blue side.

The rest of the counters are markers used at various points during the game.

Rules: The rules are given in the order in which they are used in the game; it should be possible to begin playing a game while reading the rules, referring to each rule only when it comes time to use it for the first time.

Paragraphs preceded by a deal with special cases of the rules. The average game can be played without taking these cases into account, and you might want to skip them the first few times you play, just to make the rules easier to absorb.

Preparation for Play

Players should first choose sides; the two sides should have the same number of players if possible. Then each player should choose an aircraft type, an appropriate counter and maneuver schedule, and an aircraft record sheet. If there aren't enough record sheets or maneuver schedules to go around, they may be photocopied; a record sheet is provided on stiff paper for this purpose.

There are historical constraints on aircraft choices (although these may be ignored by agreement of the players). All Allied aircraft should be of the same nationality. In addition, a date should be chosen for the combat, from January 1917 to November 1 918. Consult the aircraft availability chart on the back cover of this booklet; only aircraft listed as being available on or before that date may be used.

Each player then fills out his plane's characteristics on his aircraft record sheet, using the aircraft characteristics chart on the back cover of this booklet. Write the aircraft's identification number (from the counter), type, and stability in the blanks provided. Black out all engine, wings, fuselage, tail, and fuel boxes in excess of the number listed on the chart for that aircraft type, and black out all gun boxes other than the ones listed for the aircraft.

Put all 36 damage chits into a cup or other suitable opaque container.

Finally, each player should put his airplane counter on the board, in any hex behind his side's start line and facing in any direction.

Play now begins. On the first turn, an aircraft may perform any maneuver which appears on its maneuver schedule.

The Sequence of Play

Blue Max is played in turns. To allow the game to proceed in an orderly manner, the turn is divided into a sequence of steps, as shown below. The turn begins with the tailing step and proceeds through each following step, in order; after the fire/smoke extinguishing step, a new turn begins.

During each step, all players perform the indicated actions at the same time; all players must be finished with one step before the next step can begin.

It is very important for the steps to be performed in the proper order. For the first few games, one player should be appointed to regulate play, calling out the name of each new step when the previous step is finished. To aid in this, the sequence of play is printed on each corner of the map.

Sequence of Play

1. Tailing Step: Each player determines if he is being tailed or is tailing another player.

2. Maneuver Selection Step: Each player selects and records a maneuver from his plane's maneuver schedule. A player being tailed must disclose the direction of his maneuver to all players tailing him.

3. Fuel Expenditure Step: Each player crosses off fuel boxes equal to the fuel/speed number of his maneuver.

4. Movement Step: Each player moves his aircraft as shown on the maneuver schedule for the maneuver which he recorded in the maneuver selection step.

5. Combat Step: Each player who has a target may fire his machine guns. If he fires a Lewis gun, he must cross off ammunition boxes. The player flying the target aircraft determines and records damage, if any.

6. Damage Step: All damage suffered in the combat step takes effect.

7. Jam Clearing Step: All players whose guns are jammed may attempt to unjam them.

8. Gun Jamming Step: All players who fired a long burst during the combat step must roll to determine if their guns have jammed.

9. Fire Damage Step: All players whose aircraft are on fire must draw one blue damage chit and record damage, which takes effect immediately.

10. Fire/Smoke Extinguishing Step: All players whose aircraft are on fire or smoking must roll to determine if the fire/smoke is extinguished.

This sequence of play is only an outline. Following rules each explain one step of the sequence of play in greater detail.

Tailing

An important advantage much sought in dogfights is a position from which a pilot has a clear view of another aircraft's rudder, which provides information on what that plane is about to do. An aircraft in this predicament is being tailed.

Definition: One aircraft is tailing another if

1. the aircraft being tailed is in the frontal arc of the tailing aircraft, and

2. the tailing aircraft is in the rear arc of the aircraft being tailed.

Frontal and rear arcs are the shaded areas in the diagram at right. Note that no aircraft can be tailing another if they are more than three hexes apart.

The diagram below shows several examples of tailing. Aircraft A, B, C, and D are all tailing aircraft X; the rest are not. E is not in X's rear arc; F does not have X in its frontal arc; G is too far away.

A pilot may not tail if his plane is on fire or smoking.

A pilot may tail at most one enemy plane in a turn; he may choose from all those eligible.

A pilot may tail all eligible friendly planes.

• Same-hex Tailing: An aircraft is tailing another aircraft in the same hex if

1. both are facing in the same direction and

2. the tailing aircraft's maneuver in the previous turn had a lower fuel/speed number than the one of the aircraft being tailed.

Effect of Tailing: During the maneuver selection step, each player who is being tailed must reveal the direction of his chosen maneuver to each player tailing him. The player should pick up a set of direction markers (one each of L, R, and 5) and pass the correct one to the player tailing him, without allowing any other player to see it (or any of the remaining markers).

A player may choose his maneuver after receiving directional information from all players he is tailing.

It is possible to have a chain of aircraft tailing each other. In such cases the first player in the chain gives directional information to the second, who then decides his maneuver on the basis of this information and gives directional information to the third, and so on. For example, in the diagram on the previous page, G is tailing B, which is tailing C, which is tailing X. (G is also tailing C and B is tailing X, but let's ignore these additional complications.) X gives the direction of his maneuver to C, who then gives his direction to B, who then gives his direction to G.

It is also possible to have a circular chain, as in the diagram at left. A is tailing B, which is tailing C, which is tailing A. In such cases, each involved player must roll the die; the one who rolls lowest must give his information first.

Maneuvers

Each type of aircraft has its own maneuver schedule. During the maneuver selection step, each player must choose one maneuver from his plane's schedule and write it down secretly on his aircraft record sheet.

There are some restrictions on the maneuvers a player may choose.

Fuel: The aircraft must have enough fuel remaining to perform the maneuver; the number of fuel boxes remaining on the player record sheet must be at least equal to the fuel/speed number of the chosen maneuver.

Restricted Maneuvers: Some maneuvers (numbers 27 to 36) may be chosen only if the previous turn's maneuver was simple, straight flight (maneuver number 2, 3, 4, or 5). You can repeat the same special maneuver more than once in a row as long as you repeat exactly the same maneuver and this is not a non-repeatable maneuver (see below).
A valid sequence is 2S, 29S, 29S, 29S, while you cannot do 2S, 29S, 30R (different restricted) nor 2S, 31L, 31L (non-repeatable maneuver)

Non-repeatable Maneuvers: The maneuver codes of non-repeatable maneuvers are enclosed in brackets (numbers 1, 28, 31, and 36). A non-repeatable maneuver may not be chosen if the previous turn's maneuver was a non-repeatable maneuver.

Acceleration: The maneuver chosen may not have a fuel/speed number which differs by more than one from the previous turn's maneuver. Thus, if the previous turn's maneuver had a fuel/speed number of 2, the player may choose a maneuver with a fuel/speed number of 1, 2, or 3.

Fuel Expenditure

During the fuel expenditure step, each player must mark off a number of fuel boxes on his player record sheet equal to the fuel/speed number of the maneuver he has chosen. When the last box has been marked off, the plane is out of fuel. An aircraft which is out of fuel may still suffer from smoke, fire, and fuel tank explosion (see Damage).

Gliding: An aircraft which is out of fuel (or whose engine has been destroyed - see Damage) must glide. Only aircraft which must glide are allowed to glide. A player whose plane is gliding may choose only maneuvers number 2 or 9 during the maneuver selection step.

Movement

During the movement step each player moves his aircraft as dictated by his chosen maneuver.

The maneuver schedule shows the relationship between the plane's starting and ending positions for each maneuver. The arrow is in the starting position and the solid black plane is in the ending position. For example, in maneuver number 12, a plane moves two hexes forward and turns one hexside to the left.

In several maneuvers (numbers 1L, 1R, 27, and 28) the aircraft ends the maneuver in the same hex it started in, although it faces in a different direction; in maneuver 1S, the plane does not move at all.

All movement is performed by all players simultaneously. Any number of aircraft may occupy or pass through the same hex without colliding.

Combat

During the combat step each aircraft may fire at one enemy aircraft within its field of fire (if there are any). An aircraft's field of fire consists of the hexes directly to its front and one, two, or three hexes away, as shown in the diagram at right. An aircraft may make only one attack in a turn, whether it has one machine gun or two.

An aircraft may not fire through a hex containing another aircraft, although the player may fire at the target of his choice in a hex containing several aircraft, both friendly and enemy.

• Same-hex Combat: An aircraft may fire at a target aircraft in the same hex if

1. both aircraft are facing in the same direction and

2. the fuel/speed number of the maneuver which the attacker performed in the movement step is lower than the fuel/speed number of the target's maneuver.

Recording: At the beginning of the step, each player who wants to fire must secretly record on his aircraft record sheet the target of his fire and the length of his burst (short, medium, or long).

Resolution: All fire is considered to be simultaneous, and no damage takes effect until the next step. The actual resolution of the various combats may take place in any convenient order. For each combat, the following procedure is used.

1. Range: First determine the range from the attacker to his target; the range is the number shown on the diagram at left. If attacker and target are in the same hex, the range is zero.

2. Combat Value: Find the column of the combat value table which corresponds to the range. The first number is the base value. Then go down the list of modifiers, adding the value of each one which applies (or subtracting it if there is a minus sign in front of the value). The cumulative total is the combat value. If the total is zero or less, the attack has no effect, although the attacker is still considered to have fired. The various modifiers are explained below.

Short Burst, Medium Burst, Long Burst: Add the value for the type of burst fired.

Stability A, B, C: Add the value corresponding to the stability of the attacking plane.

Target Stalled: Add this value if the target plane performed maneuver number 1 during the movement step.

Attacker's Speed 3 or 4: Add this value if the attacking plane performed a maneuver with a fuel/speed number of 3 or 4 during the movement step.

Attacker Has Single Gun: Add this value if the attacker is firing only one machine gun. The base combat values are calculated for two machine guns.

Firing with Deflection: Add this value unless the target plane is directly in front of the firing plane and is facing directly toward or away from it. For example, in the diagram, aircraft A, B, and C are firing at aircraft D. A is firing with deflection; B and C are not.

Fired at Target Last Turn: Add this value if the attacking plane fired at the target plane last turn also (even if the final combat value in that turn was zero or less).

Tailing Target: Add this value if the attacking plane was tailing the target plane during the tailing step of this turn.

3. Die Roll: Roll the die and cross-index the die roll with the combat value on the combat results table. The table reads out in numbers of blue and red hits suffered by the target. For example, on a die roll of 4 with a combat value of 11, the target suffers one blue hit and three red hits.

Drawing Damage Chits: There are 36 damage chits. On each chit, one side has a blue damage result and the other has a red result. A player whose aircraft is hit by fire must randomly draw one or more damage chits and record the results.

If more than one attacker is firing at a single target, all the attacks should be resolved and the target's player should draw all resulting damage chits after the last attack.

The player draws chits one at a time. First he draws a number of chits equal to his blue hits, reads the blue side, and records the damage on his aircraft record sheet. Then he draws a number of chits equal to his red hits, reads the red side, and records the damage. The player should not return any chits to the cup until after all his chits have been drawn. After the player has returned his chits to the cup, they should be well mixed before the next player draws.

Recording Damage: Most chits instruct the player to cross off one or more boxes on his aircraft record sheet. Others have more complex effects, explained under Damage below. These should be recorded under the notes to that turn. Note that a chit may have more than one effect; all effects listed on that side apply.

Damage

Damage recorded in the combat step takes effect in the damage step; thus a plane shot down during a combat step can still fire in the same combat step.

Most hits simply require boxes to be marked off on the aircraft record sheet. For example, if a damage chit says "4 wing", the player should mark off four boxes in the wing section of his record sheet.

Except for smoke, fire, observer killed, and results which cause the destruction of the plane, all damage results are secret and should not be revealed to other players.

If an aircraft is fired upon from directly to its front, all tail hits become engine hits. If it is fired upon from directly to its rear, all engine hits become tail hits.

When all of an aircraft's wing, fuselage, or tail boxes are marked off, it is destroyed and should be removed from play. When all of its engine or fuel boxes are marked off, it must glide for the rest of the game (see Fuel Expenditure).

In addition to results affecting boxes, there are many other types of hits, explained below.

Fuel Tank Hit: Explode!: The aircraft's fuel has exploded and the aircraft is destroyed; remove it from play.

Pilot Killed: Remove the aircraft from play.

Pilot Grazed: Must Do Slower Maneuver Next Turn: The player must choose a maneuver whose fuel/speed number is one less than the maneuver he performed in the current turn; if his current maneuver had a fuel/speed number of 1, his next maneuver must have a fuel/speed number of 1 also.

Pilot Grazed: Must Do Straight Maneuver Next Turn: The player must choose a maneuver whose direction code is S. Ignore this result if the aircraft's rudder is jammed.

Rudder Jams: Must Do Left/Right Maneuvers: For the number of turns given on the chit, the player must choose maneuvers with the correct direction code (L or R). If another rudder jams chit is drawn during the period when the rudder is jammed, ignore it. (Note that you still must apply all other results, such as tail hits or fuselage hits, which are on the same chit as a discarded result.) The rudder stops being jammed after the movement step of the last turn in which the plane has to perform an L or R maneuver.

If the aircraft was fired upon from directly to its front, the rudder is not jammed. Change the result to "Engine Damaged: no speed 3 or 4 maneuvers".

Engine Damaged: No Speed 3 or 4 Maneuvers: The player may not choose maneuvers whose fuel/speed numbers are 3 or 4 for the rest of the game.

• If the aircraft was fired upon from directly to its rear, the engine is not damaged; change the result to "Rudder Jams: must do straight maneuver for next 3 turns".

Fabric Tears: No Restricted Maneuvers: The player may not choose restricted maneuvers for the rest of the game.

Fabric Tears: No Speed 3 or 4 Maneuvers: The player may not choose maneuvers whose fuel/speed numbers are 3 or 4 for the rest of the game.

One Gun Destroyed: One of the aircraft's remaining guns, chosen at random, is destroyed. Roll a die to determine which gun is destroyed and mark it off on the aircraft record sheet.

Smoke: Smoke is coming from the aircraft's engine. Place a smoke marker on the plane. A player whose aircraft is smoking may not tail. See Extinguishing Fire/Smoke for further information.

Fire: The aircraft's engine is on fire. Place a fire marker on the plane. A player whose aircraft is on fire may not tail, shoot his guns, or perform restricted maneuvers. See Fire Damage and Extinguishing Fire/Smoke for further information.

Observer Killed: Place an observer killed marker on the aircraft. If the aircraft has no observer (and only the Bristol F.2B and Halberstadt CL Ila do), there is no effect. See Observers for further information.

Observer Wounded: The observer may not fire for three turns; the pilot is not affected. If the aircraft has no observer, there is no effect.

Clearing Jams

All players whose guns are jammed (see Jamming Guns below) may attempt to unjam them during the jam clearing step. In order to attempt to unjam his guns, a pilot must have performed a non-restricted maneuver with a direction code of S during the movement step. If this condition has been met, the player rolls a die; his guns are successfully unjammed (and are back to normal) on a roll of 4, 5, or 6.

Jamming Guns

All players who fired a long burst during the combat step must roll a die to determine if their guns have jammed during the gun jamming step. The guns are jammed on a roll of 5 or 6.

Fire Damage

All players whose aircraft are on fire must draw one blue damage chit during the fire damage step and apply the result immediately.

Extinguishing Fire/Smoke

All players whose aircraft are on fire or smoking must attempt to extinguish this during the fire/smoke extinguishing step.

To extinguish a fire, roll one die. On a roll of 5 or 6, the fire is out; remove the fire marker. If the aircraft performed a sideslip (maneuver 8, 1 6, or 1 7) during the movement step, the fire is out on a roll of 4, 5, or 6.

To extinguish smoke, roll one die. On a roll of 6 the smoke is out; remove the smoke marker. However, on a roll of 1 the

smoke turns into fire; flip the smoke marker over to make it a fire marker.

Secrecy

There are several things which the players are required to keep secret from the other players (even those on the same side).

A player should not tell another player what maneuver he is going to perform (although the direction of that maneuver is disclosed to everyone who is tailing him).

A player should not tell another player what target he is going to shoot at or what type of burst he is firing.

A player should not tell another player what type or how much damage his plane has received, with three exceptions: fire, smoke, and the death of the aircraft's observer, which are visible to all players and are represented by markers placed on the aircraft.

A player should not tell another player if he is out of fuel or gliding and whether his guns have jammed or are out of ammunition.

The purpose of this rule is to prevent players from taking advantage of things the actual pilots would not know. For example, World War I fighter pilots had no radios and could not communicate while in the air; therefore, two players should not be allowed to plan their maneuvers jointly. Each pilot should be on his own.

Formation Flying: There is one exception to the secrecy rule. At the beginning of the game, if both sides agree, one pilot on each side may be designated the squadron leader. At the beginning of the game or during any maneuver selection step, pilots whose aircraft are in the same hex and with the same facing as the squadron leader may declare themselves to be flying in formation with him. The leader writes down on a separate sheet of paper the maneuver he will perform during the turn. The other pilots may record that maneuver on their own aircraft record sheets and perform it during the movement step.

• A pilot may decide to break formation at any time by recording a different maneuver than the leader has chosen. In any case, a pilot must break formation if his plane is unable to perform the chosen maneuver.

• If there are a large number of players on a side, one or more may be designated formation leaders (in addition to the squadron leader). There should be the same number of formation leaders on each side. For each formation leader, one or two other players may be designated his wingmen, able to fly in formation with him.

Escape

Eventually, because his plane has suffered severe damage, is about to run out of fuel, or has run out already, a player may wish to escape from combat and head back to the aerodrome.

A player is considered to have escaped if his plane flies off the edge of the playing surface behind his side's start line. (An aircraft may not fly off the edge anywhere else.)

Honor demands that a player not attempt to escape until he has a good reason for doing so.

The game is over once all aircraft of one side have been shot down or have escaped.

Lewis Guns

The Lewis gun is a type of machine gun used on some Allied aircraft. It has a drum magazine which must be changed frequently in combat, and consequently players who use Lewis guns must keep track of their ammunition expenditure.

Every time a Lewis gun fires a burst, the player must mark off boxes in the ammunition section of his aircraft record sheet. Mark off one box (for each gun) for a short burst, two boxes for a medium burst, and three boxes for a long burst. This is done during the combat step just after recording the intended burst.

After five boxes have been marked off, the magazine has been exhausted and the gun cannot fire until it has been replaced with a new magazine. The player may not fire a burst which would use more ammunition than is left in the magazine.

To replace a magazine, the pilot must perform maneuver number 2, 3, or 4 during the movement step. The magazine is replaced at the end of the turn; thus the gun cannot fire during the combat step of that turn. The gun may fire in the next turn, using the next row of boxes. When all boxes have been marked off, the Lewis gun is out of ammunition and may not fire again.

• Bristol F.2B: The Bristol has two Lewis guns, and therefore uses two magazines at once. For example, if the Bristol's Lewis guns fire a short burst, mark off one box on each of two magazines.

• S.E.5a: The S.E.5a mounts one Lewis gun and one normal gun. They both fire together. However, they are checked for jamming and unjamming separately. If the Lewis gun has only one box remaining in its current magazine, the player may fire a short burst from his Lewis gun and a long burst from his other gun (which must then be checked for a jam), together counting as a medium burst.

If players are using the variant model Nieuport 1 7 which mounts a Lewis gun, the same rules apply as for the S.E.5a.

Observers

The Halberstadt CL Ila and the Bristol F.2B carry an additional crewman, called the observer, behind the pilot. The observer has his own weapons and fires independently from the pilot; as far as the game is concerned, the observer may be considered to occupy a different aircraft which happens to be in the same hex as the pilot's aircraft.

The observer's field of fire is different from the pilot's; it occupies the entire rear arc of the aircraft, with the exception of the hex immediately behind the aircraft, as shown in the diagram at left.

The observer fires at a different target from the pilot and may fire a different burst. His fire never receives the modifier for tailing. He receives the modifier for firing in the previous turn only if he was the one who fired. (Conversely, the pilot receives

the modifier only if the pilot is the one who fired.) The observer receives the modifier for deflection unless he is firing directly to his aircraft's rear and the target aircraft is facing directly toward or away from him. The observer may fire even if his aircraft is on fire.

Line of fire: the observer can always fire at all the planes without checking for planes hiding other planes. The only exception is when there is no deflection between to two planes and another planes stays exactly in the middle. This can only happens when the enemy plane is exactly behind to plane with the observer and there is no deflection.

The observer's guns are checked for jamming and unjamming separately from the pilot's.

The observer may replace a magazine or attempt to unjam his guns regardless of the maneuver which the aircraft performed in the movement step.

CAMPAIGN RULES

After players have become familiar with Blue Max, they may wish to attempt a campaign: a series of connected games. The remainder of the rules are concerned with campaigns.

Time

Before beginning a campaign, players should agree on a starting date, from January 191 7 to October 191 8, and an ending date, any time up to the end of the war in November 1918. For each month of the campaign, players should play a set number of Blue Max games; the recommended number is two per month. As the campaign progresses, pilots will gain experience (or be shot down) and newer types of planes will become available.

Sides

At the beginning of the campaign, players should choose sides. There should be the same number of players on each side, if possible. Players stay on the same side for the entire campaign.

Pilots

Each player may have two pilots at a time (although only one of them may fly in a single game). Pilots start as novices and gain ability as they gain experience. When a player's pilot is shot down, he receives another novice pilot.

When an Allied player receives a new pilot, he should choose the pilot's nationality (British, French, or American). An Allied player's two pilots should generally be of different nationalities, although this is not necessary.

Each player must keep a continuous log of his pilots' characteristics. In addition to nationality, there are the following: aircraft used, time in air, kills, experience points, and abilities. Other interesting, but not necessary, entries include the pilot's name and a short description of each game in which he has participated.

Aircraft

When a pilot starts his career, he is assigned to a particular aircraft. That is, each pilot always uses the same counter, identified by its ID number in the pilot's log, and no other pilot may use that counter. The aircraft must be of a type which is listed on the aircraft availability chart on or before the month in which the pilot begins. If there are not enough planes of a preferred type to go around, the pilots with the greatest number of experience points get first choice. When a new aircraft type becomes available, pilots may change to new planes; other pilots may change to planes abandoned by these pilots.

In some campaigns (particularly in early 1917), there may not be enough German planes to go around. Therefore, two expedients may be adopted. First, Albatros D.Va counters may be used as D.llls until the D.Va becomes available; second, more than one German pilot may be assigned to the same D.lll (although they may not both fly at the same time).

Experience

As pilots fly, they gain experience, which is reckoned in points. A pilot gains one point of experience for each turn he spends on the board. A pilot gains 25 points of experience for each aircraft he shoots down. A pilot is credited with shooting down an aircraft if he fired at it and scored at least one hit on it during the turn in which it was shot down; if several pilots hit the aircraft during the same turn, each pilot receives 25 points. No points are awarded for an aircraft that goes down as a result of being on fire.

Novices: A pilot with a cumulative total of less than 50 points is a novice. A novice may not tail enemy aircraft (although he may tail friendly aircraft) and may not perform any restricted maneuvers.

Experienced: A pilot with 50 or more points is experienced and no longer suffers the disabilities of a novice.

Ace: A pilot who has credit for shooting down 5 or more aircraft is an ace. Certain abilities (see below) are available only to aces.

Abilities

As pilots gain experience, they receive special abilities. A pilot may choose one ability from either of the lists below when his point total reaches 100, 200, 350, 500, and 1000 points; he also receives one ability for each five aircraft he shoots down. A pilot may receive a maximum of five abilities.

Pilot Abilities

Being Tailed: The pilot may not be tailed by any enemy pilot other than an ace.

Maneuver: The pilot may treat all restricted maneuvers as unrestricted.

Tailing: The pilot may tail aircraft at a distance of four hexes instead of only three.

Stability: If the pilot's aircraft has a listed stability of C, it becomes B; if B, it becomes A.

Gunnery Abilities

Die Roll: The pilot adds one to his combat die roll. A roll of 6 remains 6.

Jamming: The pilot's guns jam only on a roll of 6 and unjam on a roll of 3 through 6.

Deflection: The pilot ignores the effects of deflection when firing.

Fire Value: Only an ace may receive this ability. The pilot always has a fire value modifier of + 1, in addition to all other modifiers.

Range: Only an ace may receive this ability. If the pilot is firing from a range of 3, the range is considered to be 2. If the pilot is firing from a range of 2, it is considered to be 1.

Observers: If a player's pilot is flying a Bristol F.2B or Halberstadt CL Ila, the observer's kills, points, and abilities should also be recorded. The observer receives points only for kills and may receive abilities from the gunnery abilities list only. An observer with 5 or more kills is an ace. Note that a pilot gets no credit for his observer's kills.

Game Credits

Designer: Phill Hall
Developer: Jhon Harshman
Art Director: Paul R. Banner
Box Cover Artist: Joe DeMarco

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