I'm sure many people would like to know what is different in Twilight Imperium:Armada from Red Alert!. I'm also sure most of these don't want to read an entire rule book. After one reading having not seen the product yet and a little note taking, here is my take on it. They have five new concepts not in RA! and eight rules differences. Let's cover the additions first.
Carriers/Squadrons. From what I know of TI the board game, which I don't own but probably will when the FFG league starts up again, these are a key ingredient. They had to add them to be moderately based on TI. Squadrons come in 2 types-fighters and bombers. In order to have them in your fleet you must also have a carrier. Crew/Tech that modify them goes on the carrier. The rules that cover them seem pretty straight forward. No launching and landing, except that a carrier in beam range of a bomber can fill it up with torps just by using an AC/T order.
Initiative. I think they got this idea from someone in my garrison. Brad, are you getting residules? ;-) Even though this is added it may actually make this game more playable. Effectively command order is determined at the beginning of the turn, not each orders phase.
Timing. This is scary. It is only one paragraph in the rule book but last time I played Magic I think its rule book had bulged to 70 pages(albeit small pages) because of this. I suppose it had to be there just to make the combos that inevitably arise in a collectible game resolvable(resolvable? a term only a gamer could appreciate).
Multiple Disk Effects. This is a rule spelling out that no disk may be modified by multiple copies of the same disk. I think this idea was built into RA! by the limitedness and uniqueness of its disks and really is not all that new. I hope and expect it will help resolve more rule/disk controversies than it creates.
Mercenaries are crew disks that can be used by any faction.
This is familiar to any one who plays DiskWars or RangeWars.
I see 8 specific changes to the RA! rules.
1. One tech disk of each type per ship.(They list an ability that might come with some disks allowing you to buy more.)
2. Only 1 admiral per fleet.
3. Wing commander/squadron tech must be assigned to a carrier.
4. In order to check for crits one needs to get 3 shield hits!!! One hull hit still does it though.
5. Torps are removed at the end of the third orders phase each turn not after they move 3 more times.
6. On the subsequent moves a torp can change heading once at any time during its move.
7. Security may move to another ship in one's Armada.
8. Class ships wont be unique.
From what I can tell of the disks pictured on the FFG site symbols will replace almost all the disk text. They have an appendix listing a whole bunch. I hope the printing is superb. It had better be with all the symbols that are going to be used. I think it could get awfully confusing or pains taking to examine closely each disk of an opponent to find out what it does when one needs to know. Otherwise it looks real good.