Power systems work as before, except that jump drives cannot be deactivated for extra power, except when specifically allowed to do so by scenario rules. Also, ships no longer have a power total, but an "extra power" or "power shortage" rating.
Initiative changed significantly. In particular, the various categories (capital ships, HCVs, etc.) have been eliminated and bonuses added in their place. This makes it possible—though not very likely—for ships to beat a fighter's initiative, resulting in some interesting situations that could never happen in the previous edition. In general, the bonuses are: Minbari Units: +1, Capital Ships: +0, Heavy Combat Vessels: +6, Shuttles: +9, Medium Ships: +12, Heavy Fighters: +16, Medium Fighters: +18, Light Fighters: +20, Agile Ships: Varies (usually from +3 to +5), Commercial Units: Varies (usually -1 or more).
Initiative penalties for slow movement were doubled (e.g., speed zero incurs a -10 penalty).
Jammers now prevent lock-on to the protected unit, but no longer affect EW in any other way. This means you always suffer the double range penalty to hit a jammer-protected target, but can still apply EW to it. Ballistic weapons (missiles, ion torpedoes, etc.) halve all ranges against a jammer.
Accelerations and decelerations (as well as jinking) are now announced when the unit's turn to move comes up, rather than at the beginning of the turn. Among other things, this makes energy mines more difficult to use (but we increased their strength as compensation).
Engines now show the amount of free thrust they provide within the engine icon, and are no longer deactivated if the ship's reactor is destroyed.
Turn maneuvers remained the same, except that fighters can now turn regardless of their facing. The flat turn cost for Minbari ships was deleted.
Rules for gravitic drives were added, allowing Minbari vessels and others with this technology to accelerate, turn or roll while pivoted.
Pivots and rolls operate as before, but a ship (even an agile one) which makes a pivot or roll during a turn is now subject to the weapons fire penalty and launch/land restrictions (even if it stops a pivot in progress, for example).
The Combat Step of the Combat Sequence is now broken up into four distinct sections, with ballistic weapons scoring damage first, followed by ships firing all weapons, fighters firing at fighters, and finally fighters firing at ships.
Flight level combat is now the standard method for using fighters during the game. In addition, some enhancements were made to the system. For example, flights now fire their weapons as a group but score damage individually, linked weapons always hit the same target, and the owner of the target flight chooses which fighters are hit by incoming fire. There is also a fighter drop-out rule to simulate the effect of damaged fighters that can't stay with the rest of the flight (roll 1d10 for any damaged fighter, and if the number rolled is greater than the number of hits left on the fighter, the fighter drops).
Called shots no longer require a lock-on, and can be used by Raiders.
Critical hits were updated and many of the charts were altered. In addition, the critical hit roll is modified by +1 for every point of damage the system in question has sustained.
Sustained mode no longer requires a lock-on, and requires double arming instead of triple arming.
Ramming is now based on a pre-calculated ramming factor for all units. There's no need to total up the number of boxes on the ship or fighter (which could get tedious, especially for large ships).
Cargo icons now show a transfer rate. If a cargo ship drops a cargo pod, its aft thruster ratings and its engine's free thrust are both increased by 1.
The tractor cost for tractoring ships was halved.
Jump engines don't have the huge operating costs they had in the First Edition. Instead, they require only their basic energy level if opening a vortex for a single turn. If they want to hold a jump point open for more than a turn, they must deactivate all weapons and power-requiring systems (except sensors) on the ship in order to do so.
Optional enhancements were removed from the basic rules for lack of space. They will reappear (with updates) in an upcoming product (Showdowns).
Rules for external missile hardpoints on fighters were added. Bascially, any light fighter can carry 2 missiles, any medium 4, and any heavy 6, but each lowers thrust by 1 and jinking levels by 1. Each missile costs 8 points, scores 10 damage, and has a launch range of 6 and a distance range of 18. The fighter may guide the missile to its target (it gets the fighter's offensive bonus, but the fighter can't shoot any other weapons and must keep the target in his firing arc) or release it (it gets no bonus but the fighter can operate independently). These rules all apply to Thunderbolts except the T-bolt can launch 2 per turn, not just 1.
Flash mode was changed. When flash damage hits a target, determine the system (or fighter) hit, apply damage until the system is destroyed, and then determine another system (or fighter), repeating until all damage has been allocated. However, flash damage can't hit a primary system until all systems on the facing side (and the facing structure) have all first been destroyed.
Energy mines were altered significantly. They now score damage in the new and improved flash mode. Their scatter range is now 1d5 and is limited to no farther than the distance between the original launch hex and the target hex. Also, they score only half damage against Enormous units, such as bases.
Interceptors can now be individually switched to different modes (i.e., some of them can be in offensive mode while others are defensive). You do not need to set all interceptors on the ship to the same mode.
Various other weapons were altered. All weapons which formerly had different versions between ships were consolidated into a single type (e.g., the standard particle beam and twin array). The light pulse cannon became a 1-turn firing weapon, and the twin array's range penalty was increased to -2 per hex. The weapons yields of most heavy weapons was increased. Pulse cannons gained bonuses on their volley count die rolls based on how accurate the to-hit roll was. Some other modifications were also made in the name of play balance.
Control sheets for ships were radically changed in order to be more visually appealing. Icons are no longer attached to structure blocks by lines, but by where they appear in relation to the structure on the silhouette. All unnecessary information (e.g., crew and officer counts) was deleted, and the year in service date was added. Shuttles gained a damage track and statistics box. Combat point values for ships were radically altered and adjusted for better balance. In general, the entire layout of the sheet was changed to make it easier to use and better to look at.
The rules for agile ships, ballistic weapons (such as missiles), shields, adaptive armor, flash damage (which was altered from its description found in the Narn-Centauri War supplement), external launch rails, and other items created since the First Edition have been integrated into the new rulebook.
Each of the five races received new units. The Earth Alliance gained the Nova, Olympus, and Thunderbolt; the Minbari earned the Tinashi and White Star, the Centauri picked up the Demos, and the Narns finally got rules for the T'Khar Assault Shuttle. All of these have appeared at some point during the show.
The Raiders and civilian targets were removed from this edition for lack of space. They will return (along with the Raider Battlewagon and Carrier) in the Showdowns supplement.