Immediate brain dump after using Astral. We used Discord for audio, which was a tad flaky tonight. Maybe due to increased load with everyone stuck at home.
Astral worked well. I don’t think any players did a tutorial, and I did part of one. With a little fumbling, we made our way just fine. One player even took some notes on their important character sheet, which was not uploaded in advance. He was able to upload it and deal with it on the fly (worth noting that 80% of people involved are employed at a software company).
The only minor gripe I have is that I couldn’t figure out how to get tokens to work independent of the map grid. It squished my ship token, since it was rectangular. I did find how it could take 2x1 tiles, but that was too big, and then stretched. Probably something I can either fix or definitely something I can live with.
How does it compare to Roll20? Well, I last ran on Roll20 several years ago, with another unsupported system. (STA is unsupported on Astral, not sure of it’s status on roll20. The game I ran before was ED: RPG, actually, which also has connections to Modiphius, right?) I found that experience unpleasant. Back then we had frequent problems with the site, had to switch back to Discord for audio, and several people had to reload the game. My experience more recently as a Shadowrun player was similar. Not as bad, but not something I felt was polished or easy.
Astral was easier, IMO, than roll20. It was generally stable too. I had one error before the game started when I was trying to update things too fast, but then, no issues.
Between the ease of use, stability, and free premium features for now due to COVID19, I would recommend Astral, and would choose it to GM with over roll20.
(Also, want to take a moment to note that I am just a guy, and not affiliated with anyone. This is just my opinion and generally positive experience.)