Essentially the rule set is the same. Units/ships take it in turns to move, then to shoot and so on. I made the comparison to chess because of its elegance. A theatrical interstellar dance that results in someone getting the living shit blown out of them. Combined with the space operatic overtones of Noble Armada it worked very well.
With Star Fleet it works but in a different way. I grew up with Star Trek – although I’d hasten to add when the original series was re-run just before The Next Generation aired. I am not that old. The point is that in pretty much every episode of Star Trek in all its incarnations it was very rare for ships to rock up and immediately blow said living shit out of each other. There was posturing, manoeuvring and various other attempts at diplomacy or general sneakery. So the ACTM rule set works rather nicely.
More over because the multitude of weapons and gizmos are/should be familiar which makes it easier to get to grips with what does what and the slightly over baked combat mechanic. It’s not bad just as every weapon has a special rule there’s no attacks that are just a straight up roll.
The fact that it’s Star Trek means that you get to hoon about with shuttle craft, cloaking devices, shields and warp drives. This is unassailably cool. Equally being able to damage a dilithium chamber is way cool. And, again, the familiarity with the universe makes it all the more satisfying when your Constitution class lays into its opposite number of the Klingon Empire.
As with Noble Armada the scenarios and campaign rules are fantastic is a big feather in Mongoose’s cap and gives the game incredible longevity. Plus you know, it’s Star Trek. The game is set during the General War which is a fooking huge conflict and there are lots of lovely lovely background about the factions as well as the conflict itself. Add it to the campaign rules and you can actually fight out some of the big conflicts of the war. This is a very good thing.
And the models are cool. As with Noble Armada they’re metal so won’t have the level of detail resin models have but they do look cool. The starter fleets gives you a few ships but they’re all massive and they’re all Star Trek so worth every penny.
Like Noble Armada, Star Fleet is an elegant game that puts tactics at the heart of the game. Adding in the Star Trek universe and it’s hugely fun simply because there is nothing quite like having your very own USS Enterprise powering across the board blowing things to pieces.