The term ‘Air Power’ has a very specific connotation in modern terms. It describes a situation where control of the air determines who has control over the strategic situation on the ground. It means taking the high ground, literally.
In Jovian Wars learning how to use your Capital Ships is important, and you can’t win without them, but the stars of the show are the Exo-Armors and to a lesser extent, the Fighters. In the beta rules there will be some changes introduced that will promote the use of Exo-Armors and Fighters in very dynamic ways. These changes are thanks to responses submitted by players on the forums and by messages.
The biggest addition will be the introduction of the Fuel rating for Exo-Armor and Fighters. This takes the place of Reaction Control and provides a hard limit for how many times a model can attack in a dog fight or while on a bombing run (see below). Fuel can also be used to make additional boost moves or to speed up be used to return to base faster to gain the advantage of attacking and then returning to a defensive posture defending the capital ships quicker.
The average Fuel rating is 3 with models that are larger and more built for sustained combat like the Syreen, Fury, and Hector, Dragon Striker, and Storm Rider reaching Fuel:4. Models can also purchase additional Fuel rating as an upgrade.
Tracking Fuel is only required during a model’s activation or if it is involved in a dogfight. The Fuel rating represents the maximum capacity of the models small fusion bottle(s) to turn reaction mass into plasma that can be used to accelerate or maneuver. This may sound like class A technobabble but there is extremely good research/speculation into how fusion bottles will work in the future that indicate that this is how power will be derived from fusion power.
The List of things that require Fuel are:
Additional Boost moves.
Additional Bombing Run attack passes.
Return to Base moves (that do not result from ending dogfights or bombing runs)
Additional Return to base moves.
So why was this change implemented? Pretty simple. Game pace. While dog fighting and other actions are very thematic and fun, it’s tedious to roll a dozen or more rounds of attacks without a result. It helps to move the game along and removes a lot of the temptation to use models that are really sub-par at dog fighting from bothering to engage in them.
The role of an interceptor has also been more clearly defined. When an active Exo-Armor or fighter model ends a move or attacks an enemy model within 3” can choose to Intercept it beginning a dog fight. This nicely creates a tactical situation where a player can position Exo and Fighter models to actively defend their capital ships instead of only being able to support them against missile attacks.
A new special action for Exo-Armor and Fighter models that is called "Bombing Run" has also being added.
In the early alpha getting to attack an enemy capital ship was considered dynamic enough but through development I determined that there was a design space to allow the same type of dynamic attack on capital ships. Thus was born the Bombing Run special action. Being a special action means that a squadron committing to a bombing run cannot also do a Return to Base special action like a model that is just moving and attacking. To start a bombing run does not require a skill roll, simply that a model must move into base contact with the target ship without boosting. If the model is intercepted then it will have to pass a skill roll [D+] or it will be limited to an attack with Fire Control:1 only. Naturally there are some models that are just really tough and good at breaking through (Vindicator) even if they are not very fast.
If the Bombing model does make it to the enemy ship unmolested by interceptors then it still has to run the gauntlet of the target ship’s point defense on the first attack run, and each attack run it spends fuel on after that. There is a very real danger of being shot down by enemy anti-squadron defenses if you try a bombing run on a ship that has not been softened up by attacks! On the plus side the awesome thing about Bombing Runs is that you can attack the target ship multiple times and their point defense can't be used against missiles at point blank range!
All this makes bombing runs very powerful, yet they are not alpha strike attacks. Charging in to attack an enemy capital ship when it has taken little or no damage will most likely fail, not just because of enemy fire. Smaller fast ships are very difficult to catch to make multiple bombing runs on even if their defenses may not be up to defending against them. If the speed rating of the bombing model is less than the speed of the target model then there will only be time for one attack pass before it has moved on relatively. This makes fast models like destroyers, Frigates, and Cruisers very resistant to bombing attacks while larger slower ships at greater risk. Of course any model that suffers damage to their engines is going to suddenly be a prime target. Connected to this is how the Capital ship Critical Damage table has been adjusted to now make engine damage a  &  result when a [T] result is rolled.
So there you have it; a powerful new way for Exo-Armor and Fighters to interact with Capital Ships. Will there be specialized Bomber Exos and Fighters in the future? I sure hope so! You may even find that some models are pretty good at it (Looking at you Fury and Vindicator!).
Moving from an Alpha Rules set to a Beta rules set will mean several things for players. First of all there will be much less changes in the rules going forward. The goal is stability. Players who read the Beta rules should read them again as there have been a lot of small changes. A change log file will also be released soon.
Eventually the Beta rules will be converted to a Living online Rule Book after a year of being in Beta. This will allow us to add new fleets and models to the game on a fairly regular basis. The Beta rules will continue to be kept updated on the forum with errata and FAQ. Everyone who has been very involved online and through messaging me with comments and suggestions should know that your contributions have really helped to push the project to be far better than I originally hoped we could be at this point in the development cycle. You have my thanks and deepest respect! Keep it up!