vector-based movement, and ship-to-ship combat. It also has two sets of fighter and missile rules.
STANDARD RULES: The standard rules treat fighters and missiles as miniature starships--they launch and move in the maneuver phase and fire during the combat phase, just like the larger vessels. They have stats same as starships, too--a profile, movement, and weapons. A hit from any other weapon will destroy a fighter or a missile. There are some differences, however: for simplicity's sake, missiles and fighters don't drift or need to change facing; they can move in any direction up to their full move (12 hexes).
Missiles attack in salvoes of five. They, of course, remain on the map for but a single turn, striking with the power and range of a light particle battery.
Fighters launch and attack in squadrons of three and come in two flavors: light and heavy. Light fighters carry one LPB and a needle gun that is only effective against other fighters. Heavy fighters carry a short-range version of a medium plasma battery. Fighters stay in the game until they or their carrier are destroyed; there's no need for them to land and re-arm in the standard rules.
COMMAND RULES: In the command rules, missiles and fighters get their own action phase, in between the maneuver phase and the combat phase. They're not treated like starships, and they have a set of stats somewhat different than those in the standard rules.
Instead of attacking with a LPB (2 points damage), missiles now inflict 3 points of damage per hit. It's a tradeoff, however, because now a missile must move into an adjacent hex before it can hit a starship. However, now a starship's larger weapons are ineffective against missiles, only fighters or a starship's point defense (its LPBs) can take out a missile.
Fighters also get a makeover for the command rules. On one hand, they now have to head back to their mothership after one turn of attacking. On the other hand, they're more powerful--light fighters inflict 1 point of damage on starships and get two attacks against enemy fighters; heavy fighters do 4 points damage against ships. On the gripping hand, they also evade larger vessels' medium and heavy particle batteries, but light batteries can do a number on incoming fighters if a player gets some good rolls. This brings us to the command rules combat sequence.
As mentioned earlier, the fighter & missile phase lies in between the maneuver and combat phases. This part of the turn breaks down into several subphases: First, one player launches all fighters and missiles for that turn, then the other player does the same thing (fighters deploy up to three hexes ahead of their carriers; missiles travel their full move). Next, the first player moves half his fighters (in groups of three), the second player moves all his fighter squads, and the first player moves his remaining fighters.
After that, players remove their stands of fighters and missiles from the main map and place them on the assault battle board to play out the combat. And since I'm out of time right now, I'll describe how fighter combat works with the command rules in a later post.