I have owned a copy of Dune for 3 or 4 years. Since moving across the country a few months ago, I've become involved in a Boardames Meetup that focuses on longer games. It was time to get Dune onto the table!
Four brave players showed up at 11am at Great Escape Games to vie for spice in space: C, D, J, and me. D had played the game decades ago as a a teen; the rest of us were new. I had decided to use the Basic Game rules with the WBC FAQ/clarifications if needed.
Rules explanation went reasonably well, taking about 30 minutes. We then selected factions and got to it:
C = Fremen
D = Emperor
J = Atreides
I was the Guild.
This meant that both Carthag and Habbana Ridge Sietch were unoccupied. Fremen set up several tokens in both their starting places. I was dealt the Lasgun as my starting card. And we were off!
Bidding for Treachery cards was fairly vigorous in the first round. I got a Shield, which made a nice set with my Lasegun. I decided right then I could be a bully and would blow up the Fremen in Sietch Tabr this turn with the Lasegun/Shield combo. Other bullies were swarming however; the Emperor spent his big stack of spice to ship a large force into Tuek's Sietch. My plans changed to blowing up this tempting large force, which is precisely what happened. My single unit in Sietch Tabr was then killed, as was my leader. Note for future reference: Fremen has the Gom Jabbar.
The second turn we had a worm. However, nobody was quite ready to ally since we were all just getting our spice legs under us. Fremen moved right into the empty Tuek's Sietch and made themselves at home. They now occupied Tuek's Sietch and Sietch Tabr and were knocking on Habbana Ridge Sietch's door. I shipped down to Carthag to get a stronghold and ornithopters. We had a conflict-free round.
Third turn: another worm! I offered to ally with the Fremen, and who knows why, they accepted. Emperor and Atreides then felt obligated to also ally. I thought there was a great chance for our alliance to win since we had three strongholds and could move into a fourth. Fate had other ideas though, and the Fremen got the snot knocked out of them in both Habbana Ridge (by Emperor) and Sietch Tabr (by Atreides).
I don't remember much about the fourth turn. I hadn't won a battle yet and needed cards badly. I got a Jubba Cloak.
The fifth turn saw our third worm! I immediately betrayed the Fremen and allied with Atreides. Together, we controlled Sietch Tabr, Carthag, and Arrakeen. Good stuff. This turn was one of restocking and gathering forces.
Sixth turn: I saw an opportunity. Emperor had used a Truthtrance to ask Atreides if he had an Emperor traitor. The answer was "yes." I also hppened to have one of the Emperor's leaders in my pay. I thought it was worth the chance to win by shipping a single token into Habbana Ridge. If Emperor chose wrong, we would win the game. That's exactly what happened. Treachery for the win, and the Guild and Atreides control the spice.
The game played fairly quickly; probably about 100 minutes. Of course, we ended in Turn 6 on a bit of a fluke.
I thoroughly enjoyed the game. This 40-year-old game has a very different conception of fun from many modern games, at least the Euro wing of gaming. Dune is a wild, clunky, themey beast. Euro min-maxers and efficiency specialists have to learn new tricks. Like going for the win on a 1-in-5 chance.
I'm into in. Great fun!
i think the average game length for dune is around 7 turns