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Blue Max in a nutshell

Here you find a very short description of the rules of this game. You can read the Italian version here, the complete English rules description by following this link, and the complete French rules here

You are a World War I pilot, fighting over France during the heaviest years of fighting between 1917 and 1918. Using your airplane you must try to shoot down as many enemy planes as possible without being shot down. You can fire at another plane only if it is directly in front of your plane and at a maximum distance of 3 hexes.

Game versions

Currently, in the online version of this exciting game, there are three different version you can play:

  • Simplified Blue Max. In this version all the rules explained here after are applied except the Tailing. The situation of the other planes are visible, so you can see the damages and the fuel remaining in the enemies tank.
  • Standard Blue Max. In this version you can obtain the tail from other planes. The situation of the other planes are hidden, so you cannot see the status of the other planes.
  • Advanced Blue Max add special damages to the standard rules. Special damages can cause your plane to go slower, put it on fire, have a gun destroied and so on. You can also find the dreaded Pilot Killed chit.
  • Advanced Blue Max without kills is like the Advanced version, but the Pilot Killed, Explode and Observer Killed chits are removed. This means that you cannot shot down you enemies with a single lucky shot.

Game sequence

Game is divided in turns, movement are simultaneous. Each turn, using the Maneuver Schedule table, you select the move your plane will perform trying to fire at your enemy. When all the players have selected their moves, the computer calculates new positions, fuel consumption, shooting sequences, damages and retired players. Then a new turn begin.


Not all movement are allowed in every move, but some restriction applies:
  • Fuel: The aircraft must have enough fuel remaining to perform the maneuver; the number of fuel boxes remaining 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, 5). There is an exception: loops. If you select a 27 or 29 maneuver, you can repeat it as many times as you want.
  • Stalls: If you select one of the following moves, your plane will stall: 1S1, 1R1, 1L1. A stall may not be chosen if the previous turn's maneuver was a stall. You cannot stall twice in a row. Caution: being hit while stalling can be very harmful, please refer to the combat value table to see how much dangerous is can be.
  • 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 1, the player may choose a maneuver with a fuel/speed number of 1, 2.

Movement preview: the shade shows you the future position of your plane based on the selected move (14R2 in this case)


The damages inflicted to an enemy depends from a serie of factor: Distance, attacker's Stability and Speed, Deflection, number of Guns, target stalls. Each time a plane can fire at another one, the computer calculates all this factor and add it to a dice roll for the final damage result. At the end of the game page there is a table that explains the effects of this factors on the damage.

When one of the aircraft's section (Tail, Wings or Fuselage) is completely damaged the aircraft falls and it is retired from the game. If you lose your engine, you do not fall, but you can move very slow and you become a very easy target. You can avoid beign shot down by escaping from the map on your side (Left for Allied, Right for German).

When all players from one side are eliminated or retired the game ends.

Shooting: A fires at B, distance 2 with deflection while B fires at C, distance 1 with no deflection.

Tailing (Standard and Advanced Blue Max)

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.

  • 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 (NOT implemented yet): 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 S) 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.

Special Damages effects on tailing: if you are playing the advanced version of the game, and your plane is smoking or burning you cannot obtain the tail from other planes.

Implementation of Tailing: in the online game you can have the tail from another player without asking him. This gives you a great advantage expecially when you see more than one tail: every pilot will act as if they are tailed because they do not know which one you are looking at.
When there is someone you can tail, a list of names will appear just over the movement chart, on the right. You can select one of the name and this is the one you'll tail. If the tailed pilot has already moved, you immediately see his future direction, if he/she has still to move you have to wait for the move to be done.
You cannot change your mind: once you select a pilot, then you cannot change it.

Tailing: You can look at the tail of one plane in the front arc, but planes in your rear arc can look at your tail.

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.

Special Damages (Advanced Blue Max)

In advanced Blue Max you can suffer special damages. When you suffer dameges, one out of four (25%) could a special one. We decided not to use the Blue Pilot Killed chit, keeping only the red one. Here's a list of the special damages divided between blue and red chits:

Blue chits:

Chits: Some of the very worn original chits from our overplayed copy.

Smoke: Smoke is coming from the aircraft's engine. A player whose aircraft is smoking may not tail. See Extinguishing Fire/Smoke for further information.
One Gun Destroyed: One of the aircraft's remaining guns is destroyed. If you are out of guns you cannot cause damages to enemies.
Engine Damaged: No Speed 3 or 4 Maneuvers: you may not choose maneuvers whose fuel/speed numbers are 3 or 4 for the rest of the game.
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
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.
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.

Red chits:
Fuel Tank Hit: EXPLODE!: The aircraft's fuel has exploded and the aircraft is destroyed.
Pilot Killed: Remove the aircraft from play.
Fire: The aircraft's engine is on fire. 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.
Fuel tank hit: lose 3 (or 6) fuel: A bullet made a hole in your fuel tank and it's leaking. You lose some fuel.
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, it is ignored. 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.

Retiring - Leaving the map

If you find yourself in a bad situation, you can decide it's time for you to leave the fight. To retire, just make a move that will put your plane outside the map limits.

But be carefull! You must leave the map from the side that is good for your faction: left for Allied, right for German. If you exit the map from the wrong side, your score will be halved (you'll be warned and have to confirm your decision).

Retiring with Honor

In some cases, retiring is not a dishonorable decision, expecially after a tough fight. If your plane is in one of the following condition, and you exit the map from the correct side, you'll be considered honorable:

  • Almost without fuel, with less than 3 fuel left in your tank,
  • Without engine, i.e. engine completely destroied
  • Having all your guns destroyed.
Retiring with Honor is expecially useful in league games: your plane will be considered still on the map, thus reducing a strategic victory to a tactical or marginal one. See the league rules for more information.
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