Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blue Max (board game)

The box of the first edition of the game.

Blue Max is a multi-player board 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. It was first published by Game Designers Workshop (GDW), in 1983. The game is named after the prestigious German order Pour le Mérite, informally known as Blue Max.

In this game, you are a pilot of World War I, fighting over France in the 1917 and 1918 years. Using your airplane you must try to shoot down as many enemy planes as possible without being shot down. The game is played on an hexagonal board, using a maneuver chart from which, every turn, you decide which move your plane will do. After every player have decided their move, all the planes are moved simultaneously on the map. You can fire at another plane only if it is directly in front of your plane and at a maximum distance of 3 hexes.

The rules are simple and most of the them are contained in the components used during play and reference to the rule manual is rarely necessary. After playing some games, you can start use the campaign rules, which add another level of fun to the game.

Blue Max was designed by Phil Hall and originally released in 1983. A reprint of the boxed version was released in 1992. An updated miniatures version was released in 1995 that included early war aircraft.The miniatures version did not include the aircraft counters or map of the boxed versions. Blue Max was selected as one of the best one hundred games by Games Magazine in 1993 and won the GAMA award for graphics in the same year. Canvas Eagles, an upgraded version of Blue Max, was designed by Eric Hotz and released free on the web.

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