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Bloody April, 1917: Air War Over Arras, France

DESIGNER: Terry Simo
PRODUCERS: Mark Simonitch, Andy Lewis, Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, & Gene Billingsley


 Bloody April, 1917 is a standalone game using a similar format to Elusive Victory/Downtown, modified to cover the unique aspects of air combat during World War 1. The game covers the pivotal air combat over the Arras sector, France from March until the end of May 1917. Players take on the roles of Royal Flying Corps commander or German Imperial Air Service commander for their respective sides and will have a multitude of taskings available to accomplish and complete their objectives. Bloody April, 1917 will include both single mission scenarios and multi-mission/multi-day campaigns to allow players to play out large scale battles in a manageable timeframe.

Bloody April, 1917 recreates entire air raids in detail. Each player will have many unique tactical challenges to overcome. Both players will have numerous taskings available such as Bombing, Recon, Artillery Cooperation, Contact Patrols, Balloon Busting, Offensive Patrols, Line Patrols and Trench Strafing. Players will also have Anti-Aircraft systems available such as different caliber "Archie " AA guns and "Flaming Onions" incendiary weapons to hinder their opponent's movements. The map covers a significant portion of the Arras sector from Bethune and Lens in the North to Cambrai in the South. All the major aerodromes in this theatre of operations are displayed on map with a scale of 1Nm per hex and 2 minutes per game turn. Each detailed aircraft counter will represent anywhere from 1 to 5 aircraft.
The Royal Flying Corps (RFC) player will be on the offensive during this timeframe and have a plethora of diverse aircraft types ranging from obsolete but workhorse B.E.2 2-seaters to brand new aircraft that would become legendary as the war went on such as the SE-5 scout and Bristol F.2a 2-seater. In all the RFC player will have over 15 different types of scout and 2-seater aircraft at their disposal. Pusher type F.E.2b/d and D.H.2 aircraft and the Sopwith Triplane will help fill your arsenal. Sopwith Pups and 1 ½ Strutters, Nieuport 17s and SPAD VIIs are some of the other types available. R.E.8s and F.K.8s will help augment your 2-seater fleet and will begin to replace the heavily attrited B.E.2 fleet.
The German Imperial Air Service player takes on the role of Jagdstaffeln (Jasta) commander utilizing Ace pilots such as the legendary "Red Baron", Manfred von Richthofen and his Jasta 11 comrades flying Halderstadt and Albatros scout aircraft that terrorized the British 2-seaters during this period. The German player will also have his own 2-seater aircraft such as the Rumpler and Albratros C-class 2-seaters to provide Recon, Bombing and Artillery Cooperation.
Sample Aircraft Counters

2 minutes per turn


1 mile per hex


Individual planes and flights 


Customer Reviews
# of Ratings: 9
1. on 6/29/2016, said:
I found this game to be tedious and have one of the worst rulebooks I have read. There are some fun moments, but ultimately I sold it due to lack of clarifications on many functions and just not having a fun time with it.
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2. on 12/1/2015, said:
I can't believe the 1 star rating. I can only surmise it isn't the game he thought it was going to be. I think it's a superb operational wargame and does something no game has done before. Where I think it will really shine is if a PC conversion is done. With an AI for the German side. I'm a WW1 obsessive and appreciate what the game is trying to create and succeeding very well indeed. Yes it does take some time to learn and isn't the fastest playing wargame out there, but considering the subject matter it really does do what it set out to do. Honestly the one star review is a travesty.
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3. on 10/27/2012, said:
I am giving it a five rating because it appeals to the vast majority of people who have acquired it. Great subject matter. I have one problem with it. I ordered it because it was promoted as a medium complexity game. It turns out to be a high complexity game. I hate it when a game turns out to be significantly more complicated than promoted. I have been burned too many times when this occurs. If I knew it was going to be this complicated, I would not have purchased it. Will trade or sell as soon as I can.
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(15 people found this comment helpful, 6 did not)
4. on 10/21/2012, said:
Outstanding game. The rules are deep and worth the effort for learning. Components are top notch too. What makes this game shine, though, is the sense of tension as the sides approach the trenches plus the sense of accomplishment when a player complete a mission. This is the earliest days of air missions and pulling one off is no mean feat. My top game of 2012!
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(7 people found this comment helpful, 3 did not)
5. on 9/10/2012, said:
Great game at the top of GMT production starting with a wonderful box cover art. All the components are toughness and with high quality graphic (great ADC in strong cardboard, well colored play aid ect. ect. ). I'm a "virtual player" (mostly play by vassal), but the game items really pleased me. Game subject it's original (no other games treat WWI operational air warfare ) and appealing. The system is a little more "tactics" compared to DT or EV : just a little more detailed in movement (no only 4 altitudes bands but the single band are subdivide in increments as a WWI A/C haven't the afterburner :-D ) and in combat resolution ( a dogfight can last for more turns). At last: astonish game for alls, a must for air-warfare players.
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6. on 9/4/2012, said:
This is a physically impressive game. It's very detailed, and really lets the players get into the nuts and bolts of air operations during World War I. I do wish a bit more attention had been paid to the role of Schlastas in German operations, but that might be good for a module or add on...
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(10 people found this comment helpful, 2 did not)
7. on 4/6/2010, said:
El inicio de la aviacion y sus grandes ases, el baron rojo.. Tiene todas las condiciones para ser un gran juego al igual que sus hermanos downtown y eleusive victory.
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Showing comments 1-7 of 7