Blue Max Questions and Answers

Feel free to email me if you have questions regarding the Blue Max Miniatures rules. I'll be glad to answer your questions via e-mail and will also post answers here for others to benefit from.
Allan Wright (

Check out the bottom of this file for some Questions and Answers from Blue Max's other designer Phill Hall.

Question: I'm sorting through the airplane charts in the Miniatures edition, and there are duplicate aircraft sheets!!

Here are the dups I found: Spad 7, Nieuport 11, 12, 17, Pfalz/Fokker E-III, Roland C-II, Albatros D-I/D-II, Sopwith Pup, Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, Morane-Saulnier N, Avro 504k, Bristol Scout D, Airco DH-2, Raf Re-8. Why?
Answer: There was a section of the rule book that was supposed to explain this that got omitted. Here it goes for my explanation.

All of the charts that say 'Early War Charts' are for campaign years 1915 and 1916. Before January 1917 use the charts that say 'Early War Charts' on them. These charts are 'scaled down' so that the Nieuport 17, Spad VII, Albatros D-II are the BEST. THESE CHARTS ARE NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE 'original' LATE WAR CHARTS. All airtraft that were in service during the months spanning the break off point (Dec 16 - Jan 17) therefore need 2 charts. One for when they fly with early war aircraft and one for when they fly with late war aircraft.

Question: What step do you roll for spin when voluntary stalling (1l1, 1s1, 1r1)?
What step do you roll for spin when taking damage from wing or tail?
What step do you roll for spin when when trying to attain an altitude that is unattainable?
Answer: All are done in the problem step - only ONE roll is taken regardless of the number of reasons to check. If you stall (1l1, 1s1, 1r1) you get your shot, then check in the problem step and possibily suffer the consequences.
Question: When you take a fire damage blue chit and it turns out to be a wing or tail damage, do you have to roll for spin?
Answer: No - this is why the fire damage/recovery steps are AFTER the problem step.
Question: When do kills get assigned? At the time of the kill or when you get back to base? We had a case today when two of us (being German) shot at one individual and the individual was killed. However, in the same round, my wingman, being the higher point German, died as well. Do I get the kill or would he still receive the kill because of the higher values. Answer this as though we could be Allied as well.
Answer: You get the credit - Hans (who died) never gets to report it to the C.O. so you get the credit. Live players cannot claim credit for planes they didn't damage on the turn the plane went down though. Works the same for allied - only 'living' pilots have a chance of getting credited with the kill.
Question: If shooting at someone in the same hex, same altitude, do all engine hits become tails?
Answer: Yes, directional damage rule applies as the only way a range 0 shot can be taken is if both are facing the same direction - the slower plane is on the 'tail' of the faster one esentially.
Question: Is the fuel used value also the speed code of the plane?
Answer: Yes.
Question: If you are flying a plane with an observer on it and happen to end up on a hex with a slower plane and are at a lower altitude, does the observer get to take a shot at the slower plane?
Answer: Yes, but NOT if at same altitude as now the enemy plane is in your 'blind spot'.
Question: On the other side, if you are flying the plane with an observer stalling in the hex or flying a slower speed in the hex at a lower altitude than the faster plane coming into the hex, does the observer and the pilot get to shoot at the slower plane coming from 'behind' and ending up in 'front'?
Answer: No. If this was allowed you'd have to allow BOTH planes to shoot each other in the same hex with the same reasoning.
Question: Because the observer has a firing arc in the rear of the plane, if a plane is in the same hex at a higher altitude than your plane with the observer, but pointing in a different direction than yours, should the observer be able to take a shot at the plane but take a deflection modifier?
Answer: No. I now this seems reasonable, but we're currently playing the same hex combat rules pretty strictly. Observers rarely were able to put an enemy plane down. In the rules it already happens MUCH more than it really did. Adding this would make them be able to get on the 10-15 table easilly and often. Too powerful. Just think of it as the planes passed for such a brief moment neither got a shot.

You are welcome to 'interpret' this rule the other way as a 'house rule'. It makes the game more deadly, which is a little ahistorical, but I don't have any game-mechanics problems with it.

Question: If you are in a stall/spin, when do you drop and roll for facing? It seems more logical to do this in the maneuver phase than what the rules imply by doing it in the damage phase.
Answer: Plot 0s2. In the maneuver round roll a die for # of hexes to spin, spin aircraft in movement round and drop one altitude level.

In problem resolution step roll to pull out of spin, if you fail plot OS2 for next maneuver. If you pull out you may do any Speed 1, 2 or 3 maneuver next turn.

Blue Max Questions and Answers
Questions from Ray Trochim ( trochim@rintintin.Colorado.EDU )
Answers from Phil Hall

Question: We had an interesting situation happen and we guessed as how to resolve it. A Sopwith Camel at Very low (ground) altitude fired a long burst at an Albatros DV flying at Low altitude. This forces the Camel to climb next turn. But also during the firing step, the Camel was shot at by another Albatros. During the damage step, the Camel pulled a rudder jammed chit forcing the Camel to make Right turns only for the next two turns. Not really sure what to do, we assumed that the Camel was unable to climb because it had to make right turns. Because it was unable to climb, we assumed that the pilot should make a spin check. Was this correct? How would you have handled this?
Answer: Generally, I would take whatever happens first and do that, followed by the next situation and apply that, if possible. I would have had the Camel climb, since he was already doing that, then force him to make the turns at the new altitude.
Question: So basically, if your plane is flying at VL altitude and you go into a spin, you WILL hit the ground on the next turn without a chance of recovery since the recovery step comes after the movement step. If your plane is flying at L altitude, you only have one chance to recover form the spin before hitting into the ground. Correct?
Answer: Yup. You auger in if you spin at VL.
Question: Speaking about climbing as a result of firing a long or medium burst at a target at a higher altitude. Exactly how do you treat planes flying at their max altitude. For example, lets say you have a plane with a Max altitude of M (medium) and fires a long burst at a plane flying at H (High). Does the plane a) must perform the straight maneuver (speed 2 or greater) during the move step in attempt to climb (gaining no altitude of course) and is considered "stalled" at the end of its move then checking for spin during the problem step, or b) the plane is considered in a "stall" and does not move at all on its next turn then checks for spin during the problem step.
Answer: The firing plane should roll for spin and if he doesn't spin, he is considered stalled in the next turn. This is the only way to bleed off speed sort of instantaneously.
Question: A question about climbing. The rules clearly states "Climbing consists of specifying "climb" after any S (striaght) maneuver which has a speed of 2 or more". It also states "An aircraft cannot climb at its maximum speed. (it must select a maneuver with a speed at least one less than its maximum speed.)" Well, for some planes, this causes a problem. For example, the Roland CII has a max speed of 2 (so does the Fokker EIII) and so cannot climb since it cannot climb at its max speed. Does that mean the Roland CII, Fokker EIII, Pfalz EIII, Morane-Saulnier, RE8, and DH4's can't climb? Same type of problem holds true when using the Early War charts for the Fokker EIII Pfalz EIII, FB5, Nieuport 11 and 12, Morane L&N, and the DH2. Strange thing about the DH2, by the rules, it cannot climb using the Early War Charts, but it can climb using the Late War Charts. Are we right in assuming this is an oversight and the climbing rules should have read more along the lines of "Climbing consists of specifying "climb" after any S (straight) maneuver which has a speed of 2. An aircraft cannot climb using a speed 1 (S1) maneuver or maneuvers with speeds greater then 2 (S2)".
Answer: Ouch!! I completely missed this. More errata. Sigh. I will have to change that to being able to climb at one speed less than top speed. The intent of the rule was to slow over-the-ground movement when climbing, since the aircraft isn't going to move as far across the ground if it climbs steeply.
Question: Non-repeatable maneuvers 28, 31, and 36 are also restricted maneuvers. How can they ever be repeatable? After performing the straight maneuver, can you perform multible restricted maneuvers in a row?
Answer: You may perform multiple restricted maneuvers in a row provided it is the same maneuver. For instance, 29S2 is a Split S/ Half-loop. You may do another one the following turn to perform a loop. Same for the other restricted manuevers as long as they aren't in brackets. I completely missed the fact that I didn't explain that in the main body of the rules.
Question: There is one chart marked "Siemens-Schuckert DIII/DIV, Sopwith Snipe" On the same page on the back side is another chart marked "Siemens-Schuckert DIII/DIV, Fokker DVIII, Sopwith Snipe". Both charts are the same and so we assumed that these two charts should have the name Fokker DVIII on them making it a dup chart. In short, is it a dup, but one is missing the plane Fokker DVIII?
Answer: The chart with all three aircraft on it is the correct one for those aircraft. There isn't any difference between the two charts other than the fact that the one with only two aicraft on it is a test shot that somehow got mixed in with the publication stuff. Missed that one too.
Question: I have both the the old combat chart that came with the game and the one from the blue max web page. I have a question about the old one. At the very bottom of the Modifiers list, the At different altitude is shown to have +1 +2 +3 +4 for the 0 to 3 hex range respectively. Were these supposed to be -1 -2 -3 -4? We couldn't understand why it would be easier to hit your target at longer range and at different altitude. Also, on the new chart, these modifiers are not there. Is this a typo? We use the -1 -2 -3 -4 for targets at different altitudes since it makes sense to us.
Answer: It is a typo and was supposed to be corrected in the miniatures version, but the graphics person missed the correction due to the fact that they were still working on it on the day it was due to go to press and lost the corrected chart. Frank wasn't aware of the error so used an old chart out of the second edition of the boxed game.
Question: On the new combat chart, the modifier of +1 at ranges 0 to 2 for a target at lower altitude. Is this modifer a representation for diving on your target or because the target has more surface area to hit?
Answer: This is aimed at giving an advantage to the higher altitude aircraft. An arguement can also be made for the greater surface area being easier to hit.
Question: This is a silly question, but that is a typo on the counters? The counters were supposed to read VL, L, M, H, VH and not VL, L, M, H, VL. Correct? Didn't take us long to figure that one out, but I had to check.
Answer: Another typo due to rushing to production. At the time BM was published GDW had 3 employees, Frank, Walt(warehouse), and Sue(secretary). They were using temps to do the graphics, and it shows.
Question: Do you have any house rules for ammo? We noticed that there were only ammo limits for Lewis guns only and none for fixed guns. Or do all planes have 20 ammo points and only the Lewis guns have 5 point drums?
Answer: We tried ammo rules, but they weren't necessary. As a general rule both Allied and German aircraft carried the same amount of ammo for the fixed guns, and both sides guns had a firing rate of 550-600 rounds per minute. They usually carried enough ammo for 10-12 seconds of firing. The Lewis gun had the same rate of fire, but only had a 25 or 50 round drum. The drums in the game are 25 round. Likewise a game is intended to represent only about 2 minutes of flying time. Most air combats of the nature represented in the game lasted about that long, and anyone who was going to die in it did so in the first 2 minutes. If you survived those minutes, you had an excellent chance to survive the fight as it would usually turn into a standoff.
Question: Player A shoots at Player B's plane and it catches fire. A few turns later the plane crashes becuase of fire damage. Does player A get the aero victory? Lets say player B's plane caught fire, was able to put it out but a few turns later the smoke turns back into fire which causes player B's plane to crash. Does player A get the areo victory for it?
Answer: Whoever set the plane on fire gets the credit for it. After all, the time scale is only a few seconds a turn (although it seems like hours. Pretty realistic, huh?). [he said with a smile]
Question: Phil, thanks for all your time. Our first games of BM have been great. We're getting ready to start a campaign soon. We did notice that the fuel goes really quick though. Any ideas how to make it last longer? If each turn is only 3-4 seconds and if the normal plane has 45 or 55 fuel points, this translates to an average of about two minutes of dog-fight time (actually, more like 100 seconds if a plan has 50 fuel points and uses 2 a turn).
Answer: The game as originally published was to represent the unlooked for encounter between 2 patrols. "We came out of a cloud and there they were, sir". As such, it is the equivalent of a back alley knife fight in which there is a fast an furious 2 minutes or so, then everyone backs off. The fuel is put there to keep everyone from blasting around the sky at top speed and to add some questions as to what it is you want to do on this particular turn, and can you afford to use that much fuel to do it. It also brings the game to an end when it begins to reach the standoff phase.
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