Here is a quick update on what I have been working on. It’s been four weeks or about thirty days since we dropped the Jovian Alpha rules on X-mas day and now a month later over five hundred people have downloaded the rules. This is exceptional for an alpha rules set.
Responses to the rules are also coming in and I’m busy working on the beta to get it ready for the kickstarter. After all, who doesn’t like to have up to date rules to go along with their kickstarter pledges?
There are a couple of key places where I am working to update the rules: Dogfighting, weapons, boarding actions, special actions, and ship stats.
When it came to dogfighting it was becoming clear that while most dogfights resulted in some clear results quickly there were a number of interactions where the dogfight could drag on and start to feel like it was slowing the game down. The solution to this has turned out to be a boon in other places of the rules: Fuel. Let me back up and explain something first. Early in testing I realized that the reaction control attribute was not required for exos and fighters since it was only used for capital ship only special actions, so it was taken away to simplify things. The replacement of reaction control with Fuel means that now there is a hard limit on the number of actions a model can make during a dogfight. Attacking and Breaking Off are the two actions you can choose from. If your model uses all their Fuel then they are forced to Return to Base so ideally if you are going into a dogfight you want to destroy your opponent before your fuel runs out or even if you win you are going to have to move your model out of position.
Position is going to matter more now as the community on the forums has asked for and pushed for flanking bonuses and rear bonuses when attacking capital ships. This will bring in more tactics where players are trying to gain the upper hand by their model placement. This will be quite simple as an attack that can target a flank will get a flex dice (+/-1D6) and an attack at a ship’s rear arc will add a boost dice (+1D6).
In addition Exo-Armor and Fighters will now be able to intercept enemy Exo-Armor or Fighters by moving to engage in a dogfight if the activating model moves within short range during their activation. This means you can screen your capital ships with Exos and Fighters as well as using them to improve your point defense rolls. When you consider how the flank/rear bonuses interact with Exo’s with mass drivers you have a situation where you will want to have a protective screen when you can or even the biggest ships won’t last long against that firepower.
The changes to weapons are going to be pretty simple. The biggest change is missiles. Evens/odds was driving people (me too) a little cross-eyed so now missiles hit a system of choice when they hit with a Double instead of randomizing like normal. In Dogfights Particle cannons will reduce their target’s Fire Control to 1 instead of leaving them helpless all the time.
Boarding actions were suffering some of the same issues that dogfighting had except that when the number of marines was reduced to two a similar situation where both sides were whiffing their attacks over and over making the resolution drag on. Now a boarding action will represent the sudden and quick fight for control of the ship, and will be resolved in one roll. “But how will I do anything with only one roll” you ask? Well when that one roll is increased in severity one level there is certainly going to be some significant damage. For Example if you roll a double for damage it will count as a triple, etc.. If the boarding action damage reduces the target to zero structure then it’s captures, as simple as that. Boarding actions are not easy since you have to get past the point defense first, and then suffer from the marines defending the target ship and then get a result from your roll.
In terms of special actions there have been some changes where instead of rolling your model’s skill rating you can roll dice equal to the rating of the system that is used. So if you want to concentrate fire you can make the roll with the Sensors or roll Reaction Control if you want to reorient. Most models will be getting reduced to a Skill:2 with a new upgrade you can purchase called Renowned Ship to get a +1 skill bonus representing a famous crew or ship.
The last changes that are being made are to bring some of the ship stats into line and update traits. There are too many small adjustments to go into detail here but the main point is that the ships and Exos will not be radically change, just be updated with some new traits, fuel attributes, and some modifications to the weapons to better match the kickstarter models. The beta rules will also include the ten ships that will be part of the kickstarter that will be launching on February 15th, the same day that the beta rules should drop.
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