The game is a fun filler. Its doesn't require much brainpower or induce analysis paralysis. Though sometimes minefields and asteroids can really be a hassle when you've got nice cards ready to go.
Defense is almost non-existant... fighters and bombers can be real killers... strategic considerations are almost non-existant. Its about slug match and breaching quickly through the outer defenses.
Its very luck dependent in many ways... but a smart player will win a larger share of the victories with good resource managment or possibly good diplomacy (ok ok... whining for other players to spare him)
I haven't played other versions... but I checked the art and cards out thru the BoardGameGeek... I like the 2nd edition art and some extra cards more. (ship add ons seem very nice.) Most ships in the 3rd Edition are just gun platforms with the difference being hull damage. Kovalics art is fun and nice... but I thought the 2nd edition is much more dramatic and mood setting.
Unless you get a chance of buying the 2nd edition... this is a worthwhile game.