Tally Ho!

The Blue Max Rules

The Blue Max – grid-based WWI aerial combat


Aircraft Types


The following are the basic aircraft types, with the individual types listed at the end:

·   Single Seat Fighter: The basic fighter type armed with MGs firing forward that are synchronised to fire through the propellers and sometimes a wing-mounted MG.

·  Observation Aircraft: Two-seater aircraft with a single MG at the front and an MG armed observer at the back.

·    Two Seat Fighter: Similar in layout to the Observation aircraft this generally featured higher performance.  

·      Pusher: An early type of aircraft acting as either a fighter or observer. They overcame the issue of firing through the propeller by placing it at the rear and the MG armed observer at the front.

·    Heavy Bomber: Cumbersome and slow these undertook both tactical and strategic missions. Typically, they were armed with 2 or 3 MGs

·      Zeppelin: Whilst vulnerable due to the flammable hydrogen they were far from defenceless as they boasted up to 6 MGs mounted in the sponsions. 


Turn Sequence

1.    Both sides fire their guns simultaneously.

2.    Planes are activated in turn using the initiative deck, which contains 1 card / plane.






Single MG



Double MG




You lose 1D6 / square to the target.


You gain +1D6 (single MG) or +2D6 (double MG) per combat advantage you have over the enemy. These stack to a maximum of 2 CAs.  



·         Each single MG may fire at a different target each move.

·         Targets must be in direct LOS. You may not fire through clouds.

·         MGs arc of fire differs depending on the type as above.

·         You lose 1D6 per square of distance to the target.



Major hits


Major hit, roll for effect


1 HP lost and observer dies


Minor hit, lose 1 HP


1 HP lost and lose one speed class


No effect

3, 4

Lose 2 HPs




1HP lost and lose one agility class




Critical - lose 3 HPs


Hit Points


Hit Points

Critical Points

Single Seat Fighter



Two Seat Fighter









Heavy Bomber








·         When a plane reaches its critical value, it must withdraw from the fight by the shortest route possible, off the ends of the tables not the sides.

·         If planes reach 0 HPs, they are shot down.

·         Some aircraft may vary from the standard amounts as shown in their stats.   



Aircraft have two characteristics: their speed and their agility, with both influencing their movement.

·   Speed is Fast, Medium, or Slow. Planes must move exactly the number of squares shown unless this is impacted by a manoeuvre or damage.

·    Agility is Nimble, Average, or Clumsy. This affects your turning and ability to manoeuvre.  All turns are 45o and you must not end a turn facing diagonally.





6 Squares


1 turn / square moved and may slow down by 2 without manoeuvring.


4 Squares


1 turn / square moved


2 Squares


1 turn / 2 squares moved, with an initial turn to start the move only.

Note: This means Clumsy planes must commit to the turn as their first action regardless of Crashing

·         Aircraft ending up in the same square or crossing over each other do not crash, instead they are assumed to take avoiding action.

·         Aircraft with a wing-mounted gun (e.g. the SE5a) may make a shot as they pass on a 4,5,6. This indicates they managed to pass under the enemy.



 Aircraft may also undertake more complex manoeuvres than just turning.

·       Some are only available to Aces

·         Many create a Combat Advantage with +ve indicating a positive and –ve a negative. Sum them up to see if one side or the other has an advantage, up to a maximum of two.


Standard Manoeuvre


Average / Agile only

Move 2 forward and do a 180. Count -ve.


Medium / Fast only

Reduce speed by 2, min 2. Count -ve. No turns. Can’t do 2 turns in a row.


All types

Increase speed by 2. No turns. Can’t do 2 turns in a row.


Average / Agile only

-2D6 to attackers but no shot yourself next turn. May be combined with a turn.

Aces only


All types

Always move last, dice-off with other Aces if a conflict. This is declared when your turn moves up.

Immelmann turn

Average / Agile only

A split-S with no disadvantage.

Engine Hang

Average / Agile only

Move 0, but count two -ve.

Dead Eye

All types

+2D6 or +1D6 attack (double MG / single MG)




Leaving the table

·         Unless critically hit, where planes have a legal move that would keep them within the combat area, they must take it.

·         If leaving is unavoidable, they return in the next move where they left and move first. They will collect a -ve and be unable to shoot in the next turn.

Advanced Rules


·       Small clouds cannot be shot through but may be flown through.

·         If you fly into a large cloud you are lost for a turn. Remerge at a random point the move after, with a -ve.  Unless you get lost of course!


Barrage balloons

·       These may not be shot or flown through.

·       They may be shot down and each has 6 HPs.


Bombers and Zeppelins

·         These are so slow that they are placed in the middle of the table and the action takes place around them.

·         Zeppelins have 2 gondolas, each with 3 MGs firing forwards and to each side. Measure arcs from the gondolas.

·         Heavy Bombers have one observer in the front and 2 in the middle. All have a 180 arc of fire.

Aircraft Statistics – printer friendly




SE5a – Fighter, Fast, Medium, 2*MG, wing MG.

Sopwith Camel – Fighter, Medium, Agile, 2*MG



Bristol F2B – Fighter, Medium, Average, 1*MG, 1*observer MG.

RE8 – Observer, Slow, Clumsy, 1*MG, !*observer MG



Hadley-Page O/400 – Bomber, 3*observer MG

Nieuport 17 – Fighter, Fast, Agile, 2*MG






Fokker Dr1 – Fighter, Medium, Agile, 2*MG

Fokker DVII – Fighter, Fast, Agile, 2*MG



Albatross DIII - Fighter, Medium, Average, 2*MG

Fokker EIII – Fighter, Slow, Clumsy, 1*MG



Roland CII - Observer, Slow, Clumsy, 1*MG, 1*observer MG

Halberstadt CLII - Observer, Slow, Clumsy, 1*MG, 1*observer MG



Rumpler CIV - Observer, Slow, Average, 1*MG, 1*observer MG

Gotha G IV - Bomber, 3*observer MG



Zeppelin P-Type - Bomber, 6*observer MG




Blue Max Campaign

 The basics

·        Players are divided equally between Deutsche Luftstreitkr√§fte and the Royal Flying Corps.

·         The campaign is played as a series of missions. Both sides role for a mission each turn, so two are played per turn. The active side is always Side A.

·         Typically, the action will involve 1 or 2 planes per player.

Mission Table


Photo Recon


Fighter Sweep


Long Recon


Bombing Run


Long Recon or Photo Recon


Bombing Run


Fighter Sweep


Bomber Escort


Dawn Patrol


Balloon Busting


Dawn Patrol


Balloon Busting or Bomber Escort



Promotion and death

·         After 3 confirmed kills the player is allowed to choose their own aircraft from the available models of the right type, rolling-off if several players want the aircraft.

·         After 5 kills they become an Ace, gaining one of the ace manoeuvres randomly. Every 3 kills after that gain another ace skill.

·         Pilots who flee the field due to critical hits always survive. If you are shot down then on 5,6 (D6) you survive and make it back for the next mission.

·         Winning a mission and surviving counts as a kill.

·         Only the player who deals the killing blow gets credits. No assists unless specified in the scenario. 

The Missions

Some variations on the themes will come from introducing clouds and moving the objective markers about.


Photo Reconnaissance:

·         The aim is for Side A to escort their observation aircraft to a designated point on the table and then escape safely off their own edge. Escaping from a different edge counts as a draw.

·         Side A gets 3*fighters and 1*observation.  Side B gets 3 fighters.


Bombing Run:

·         Side A must bomb three ground targets by moving one of their observation aircraft over the target squares. They win if they bomb two of the three, otherwise it is Side B’s victory.

·         Side A gets 2*fighters and 2*observation aircraft. Side B gets 3*fighters.


Fighter Sweep / Dawn Patrol:

·        Both sides have 3*fighter aircraft.

·        The winner is the one who shoots down the most. Aircraft forced to flee count as half a kill for determining the winner.


Long Range Reconnaissance

·         Side A is searching for some hidden enemy guns but has several possible locations. There will be 4 possible sites (markers). Three are blanks and 1 is real. Side A win if they can discover the location and escape with one of their observers. If they find the guns but don’t escape it’s a draw.

·         Side A gets 2*fighters and 2*observers. Side B gets 3*fighters. 


Balloon Busting:

·         Side A is seeking to destroy three observation balloons being used the enemy. They win if they can destroy all three.

·         Both sides receive 3*fighter.


Bomber Escort

·         Side a is trying to escort a heavy bomber or Zeppelin to bomb a strategic target when Side B spots them and attacks.

·         The Bomber / Zeppelin is placed in the middle of the table and does not move. Side A wins if they drive off Side B’s fighters. Side B wins if it downs the beast. It’s a draw if Side A’s fighters flee but the beast survives.

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