The 2 big Star wars games of recent months have been Imperial Assault and Armada...I'd been keen to try both for some time and have managed to squeeze in a game of each in the last 2 or 3 weeks.
I played one game of Imperial Assault and have now picked up a set from a friend so will post something more detailed about this in a later post, once I've had a chance to get my head round the rules and the enormous amount of stuff that comes with it.
If X Wing is a WW2 air game in space then Armada is very much a naval fleet action with slow powerful Capital ships being swarmed by tiny fighter squadrons as they manoeuvre towards each other. The similarities with X Wing (to me anyway) lie in the force building with characters, special weapons etc. being added to existing ships. The combat mechanisms are similar too with special dice symbols counteracting each other and a series of hits and/or criticals resulting.
The new features that I picked up on (bearing in mind this was the first game) were the pre-plotting of orders for the Ships: my destroyers had to plan 2 and 3 turns ahead respectively...not helped by the fact that I kept forgetting what I'd ordered! Squadrons can move or fire unless they have been given a specific order by their capital ship, in which case they can do both, which leads to some juggling of priorities as the squadrons engage. Movement for the bigger ships is regulated by their speed and a nifty clicky turn device which is used to plot movement. The quality of all the components was very impressive, from the turn device to the bases for ships with individual dials for each shield. The ships themselves are very nicely done and the small squadrons of fighters and bombers look great next to the ponderous Destroyers.
Inevitably we got lots of things wrong, most notably Destroyers engaging fighters and the fact that fighter squadrons can pin other squadrons, preventing them from shooting up the larger ships until they've dealt with the escorts. We're planning another game in a few weeks so hopefully we'll both have got our heads round the rules properly...incidentally FFG make their rules available for free which is a nice touch and gives both players a chance to prepare ( or it would have if I'd got round to doing more than giving them a quick skim)...they can be found here