Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Black Cross / Blue Sky Squadron Cards

Black Cross/Blue Sky (click link to its Boardgamegeek entry) is a historical wargame covering the Battle of Britain. It's a hybrid board wargame and miniatures game, allowing players to field multiple squadrons of fighters and bombers without bogging down in too many details. After playing it a couple years ago at Rapier con in Jacksonville, I fell in love with the game. If you look in the blog's archives, you'll find some posts and photos of the game I played.

Last year I sold off much of my remaining unpainted miniatures collection that I realized would never see a paint brush. I used some of that money to purchase the base Battle of Britain game. I got in just in time. Sadly, the game has gone out of production and probably will not return any time soon.

Squadron Card Layout
Even though I love Black Cross/Blue Sky, I dislike keeping all the various damage counters on the individual planes. Inspired by the game I played with Jerry Boles at Rapier con, I made my own set of cards to record much of this information. Each card is designed for one British "Vee/Vic" or one German "Schwarm." To make life easier, I'll just call these squadrons. On the "front" side of the card, each squadron card has the game stats for that type of plane, using those from the Battle of Britain boxed game. It also has a large drawing of that plane and its nation's symbol, all against a blue sky background.

On the "back" side of the card are spaces to keep track of damage, critical hits, and ammunition for each plane in the squadron. (Only fighters can run out of ammo, so pure bombers don't have this info.) I also put some critical hit info on the cards. BTW any time you check off a red damage space, the plane is destroyed!

How To Use The Cards
Each squadron has its own PDF file below. Print a squadron's card and cut around its outer edges. Do not cut the card in half! Instead, fold the card along the center black line. Slide the card into a 4x6-inch rigid, clear plastic "toploader" card sleeve designed to hold large postcards or photos. I use the Ultra Pro series for these.

I keep track of each squadron using small, removable color-coding dots, which can be picked up in any office supply store. They usually come in packs of four colors--red, blue, yellow, and green. I've also seen other colors as well. Post-It, Avery, and others make them from .25" up to 1" in diameter.

I assign each squadron a color. I place a small .25" dot of that color on the stand of each plane in that squadron. I write the plane's number on the dot as well. On the back side of the corresponding squadron's card I place a larger dot of the same color. I also record each plane's number. I find color coding squadrons like this makes my life easier. BTW using the same color for the British and German players is no problem.

Of course, you can use them as you please.

 Why Toploaders?
The toploaders allow us to use washable markers to keep track of damage, ticking off one circle for each point of damage. When done, simply wipe off the markings and the toploaders are clean to use again. The removable dots also make life easier. Nice and neat, no need to print out a new card each time you play the game.

If you have a chance to play Black Cross/Blue Sky, I hope you try out these cards and enjoy using them. Let me know.

Links to Black Cross / Blue Sky Squadron Cards:
BCBS Card - British Blenheim IF
BCBS Card - British Defiant
BCBS Card - British Hurricane Mk1
BCBS Card - British Spitfire Mk1
BCBS Card - German Bf-109E
BCBS Card - German Bf-110c
BCBS Card - German Do-17Z
BCBS Card - German He-111H
BCBS Card - German Ju-87B
BCBS Card - German Ju-88A


  1. Corrected name errors on the Blenheim and He-111H cards, and uploaded new PDFs for them. I also checked all the other cards, including their stats, and they all are correct according to the Plane Cards in the base game. One note: The rules explain how to perform "half rolls" and tell the reader to check the "Half Roll" stat on the Plane Cards but the cards and cheat sheet list the stat as "Roll." My cards (and Jerry Boles') correctly label the stat as "Half Roll." Just an FYI. :-)

  2. Uploaded new versions of all squadron cards. Just minor formatting tweaks to bring them in line with the Lost Squadron cards I'm working on and make everything nice and even. (BTW I made all yellow engine damage circles black since the LS expansion has planes with three and four engines. It would have been too many colors.) Also corrected the engine damage note for the Ju-87B card.

    That should be the last tweaks to these cards! Look for the LS set soon.

  3. Thank you so much for designing the cards! i have downloaded and printed them out and I am just waiting on the sleeves I ordered from Amazon.

  4. Any why you'd share how you made these cards? Or do you have a blank template to share? I'd like to make cards for a ton of other aircraft for my games. Thanks, this is awesome.

    1. I'm sure I have a template. I'll post it when I get a chance to this weekend.

  5. I'll ask here because, well, I'm desperate! Do you by chance have access to the aircraft stats to all the "blue sky" games? I cannot find them anywhere. Thanks

    1. I don't have the other Blue Sky games, but you can download stats for the Luftwaffe 1946 game with a stats generator. They will be close to BS stats. Look under Downloads.

  6. The stats generator is off. I entered in the data for A6M2 Zero and it doesn't match whats in the Red Sun/Blue Sky rule book.

  7. Thanks for the help Rob - Pete UK

    much apprieciated

    Is the template card on here somwwhere as I can see it anywhere?


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