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Subject: Dune: the perfect blend of Euro and AT rss

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Luca Lettieri
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Dune is one of those few games which can legitimately boast to belong to the very select group of all time classics. An almost 30 years old design (first released in 1979), this game, were it still in print, would be able to compete favorably on the current market; in fact, it would leave most of the other games crawling in the dust. This review will tell you why.

But first, the obligatory reviewer profile: I'm the game provider for my gaming group; I own a few dozens games, and I love almost all of them. I couldn't care less about whether the game is Euro or AT, as long as it is fun: I'm equally at ease playing El Grande or Twilight Imperium.

This review has been made after playing the game 6 or 7 times (can't remember the exact sessions), with number of players variable between 3 and 5. Shortest game lasted under an hour on 3 turns; longest one dragged on almost 5 hours ending on turn 14 (with an incomplete one clocking at 4 hours on turn 8).


The physical components

                            


This is the part of the game which most heavily shows its age; the overall graphic design is outdated and the components aren't up to par with modern standards. They are mostly functional, though. The main piece is a nice, mounted, 2 parts map board; this is sturdy and works well. You'll also find that the two combat wheels and the leader discs are more than adequate. The parts which could use some redesign are the token counters (basically small round chips in six different colors) and the spice and treachery cards, which are rather small and flimsy. The treachery cards have an important characteristic: they only show their name on it; to know their powers, you have to read their description on the (included) player pads. On the bad side, this is annoying, especially in the first couple of games; on the plus side, this makes the game completely language independent, as all you need to do to create your very own foreign language edition is to print some reference sheets with the cards and special powers' description on them.
A sorely lacking item is a deck of traitor cards; I suggest you download one of the DIY files and print your own, as the standard option (writing them on the pads) is awkward, especially if the Harkonnen faction is in play. An easier alternative is to simply give each player a small piece of paper (or 4 pieces to the Harkonnen) and have them write their traitors' names down on it.


An overview of the rules

The basic structure of the game is rather simple, which is a plus in my book as it means you can teach it quickly. The game is composed of a number of game turns (with a built-in maximum of 15), each composed of six phases. The map has 5 strongholds on it; the first player to control 3 of them at the end of a round wins the game. Number of players is 2-6. The phases are as follow:

1) Storm Round. The storm piece moves around the board for a randomly predetermined number (1-6) of sectors, simulating the Coriolis storms pounding the planet. Everything which is caught in the open desert in the affected sector(s) is destroyed. This basically means soldiers and spice left on those parts of the map in previous rounds. The biggest effect of the storm, however, is the isolation of the sector on which it lands: strongholds in it can't be conquered, and you can't move through the storm. This "revolving changing map" effect is important, and you must keep it into account or you'll lose miserably.
2) Spice Blow. A card gets picked from the spice deck, indicating a territory on the map and a number of spice tokens which appear in said territory. Spice is the game currency, and it's scarce, so the net effect of this (everyone rushing to the place to get the bucks) is pretty obvious. If a worm appears, everything present in the last turn spice territory gets eaten by the worm, then another card gets picked. This means that collecting spice can be even more costly than simply having to win a battle. Also, worms bring the possibility of alliances (more on this later).
3) Bidding Round. A number of treachery cards equal to the number of players gets auctioned, face down, one at a time. Highest bidder wins the card. Once you have 4 cards, you can't bid anymore until you drop to 3 or fewer. Treachery cards are essential during combat and have other powerful effects, so they are precious, coveted, and the main money drain of the game. You really, really want to have your hand full or almost full to pound the enemy into submission.
4) Revival and Movement Round. First, players can revive up to three dead tokens and put them back in the reserve. Then, they can do one shipment from the reserve on the planet (anywhere on the map, even in an enemy occupied stronghold) and one on-planet movement. Limited revival (3 tokens out of a maximum of 20 available) means that losing many troops is going to be a multi-turn hurt, so you need to plan accordingly. The "ship anywhere on the map" effect is obvious: you're never ever safe, because anyone with enough troops in reserve can beam down in your cities and/or territories and spank you. On the other hand, the fact that everyone has only one shipment and one movement each turn means that choosing the right moves is essential. To avoid analysis paralysis, ruthlessly implement a time limit of thirty seconds each for the shipment and the move. Don't let anyone plead mercy on this; real men choose fast anyway, and if you need 15 minutes to do your move you're not worthy. Or so I tell to my group.
5) Battle Round. There's not enough space for two of the players in any territory on the map (well, except the polar sink, but that's where wussies go), and here is where you need to walk the walk after you talked the talk: time to blow stuff up! A battle plan is composed of up to four components: troops involved (from zero up to all those you have in the territory), leader chosen, an attack treachery card and a defense treachery card. Three of them (the two cards and the leader) simulate a one-on-one duel between the leaders; the surviving leader(s) add their strength to their troop strength, and whoever is stronger wins. Here's the nice thing: if you lose, you lose all the troops in the territory (and the cards used); but if you win, you still lose the troops involved in the fight. Bottom line: combat is risky and costly, but you need to fight to control territories (to collect spice) and strongholds (to win). There's also plenty of other stuff going on which may modify the combat result (traitors, special powers which can reveal part or all the plan or restrict players' choices, etc). which make combat fast, fun, and not random (no dice is rolled)
6) Collection Round. To the victor, the spoils: survivors get to pick up spice present in their territory.


Alliances

                            


A very peculiar aspect of Dune is the fact that several players can win by means of an alliance between them. Alliances can be formed only when worms appear; once formed, they are binding (i.e. you can't attack your ally) and can only be changed/dissolved at the next worm appearance. If the allied players control the required number of strongholds between them, they all win simultaneously.
The original rules made no special provision for alliances, which meant three players holding one stronghold each could ally and win. Subsequent rule modifications (present in the French edition or in the BWC notes) made it so that a two-player alliance needs 4 strongholds to win, a 3-player one needs having all 5, and 4 or 5-player alliances are forbidden.
The alliance rules make for very interesting diplomatic play; winning alone is HARD, especially with 5 or 6 players, but an alliance can mount a winning offensive much more easily. Also, the players' special powers (of which I'll speak later) complement themselves, and include an "alliance power" which can be used to help your allies; this means that the right alliance is much stronger than the sum of its parts.
The bottom line is that, more often than not, a game will be decided by an alliance win. This is good, because it forces diplomacy to enter into the equation, multiplying player interactions exponentially; also, it shortens the game.


Player powers

                            
 


THE defining factor of Dune. There are six different factions in the game, which will be very familiar to anyone having read the book(s) and/or having watched the movie:

The Atreides (main faction powers: prescience, i.e. gets to look at various game elements)
The Harkonnens (main faction powers: treachery excellence; more traitors in his pay and more treachery cards)
The Fremen (main faction powers: military strength, knowledge of Dune allowing for better movement)
The Emperor (main faction powers: filthy rich, gets to receive treachery cards' bids)
The Guild (main faction powers: rich, gets to receive shipment fees; also improved movement options)
The Bene Gesserit (main faction powers: the Voice, "fix" part of the opponent's combat plan; coexistence with others)

Each player gets to use one faction during play. The factions' starting positions are asymmetric, and more importantly, each one of them has a set of unique powers which alter the basic game rules. While the powers themselves are rather simple in terms of rules (well, except the Bene Gesserit ones), their impact on the game is dramatic. Each faction has definite (and different) strong and weak points, and each one MUST be played in the correct way to have the slightest chance of winning. As an example, the emperor player starts with zero troops on the planet, but whenever another player wins an auction for a treachery card, that player must pay the bid to the emperor. This means that the emperor has a very weak beginning position, but he's also going to be very rich throughout the game; so he can mostly ignore collecting spice and concentrate on conquering strongholds, he makes a perfect match for an alliance with money-hungry factions (like the Harkonnens), he wants very badly to conquer one of the two strongholds which give increased movement capabilities, and so on. Note, however, that you don't need to be a master strategist to effectively use a faction; the abilities are so powerful that optimal play for each faction becomes rather obvious in a couple of games. The devil, as always, is in the details.
A final note: while the faction rules are, effectively, a bunch of exceptions, they do not overburden the game. During the first game, the trick is to suggest to each player to concentrate on the rules of its own faction, so he can experiment with those. After that, the rest comes easily, as I can assure you that once you're pounded into the ground by someone else's special power, it is going to give a very lasting impression of said faction's abilities. In my own group, I decided to play with all the optional and advanced rules straight from the very first game, with no particular problems.


The feel of the game

One word comes to mind when playing a game of Dune: tense. The game is rich in "decision points", and each one of them is potentially critical to the final success. The "automatic" phases of the turn (storm movement, spice blow, spice collection) are completed in a matter of seconds; everything else is someone making an important choice. Downtime is also reduced, provided you ruthlessly "encourage" your players to avoid AP. The biggest wait would be during the movement round, but here, too, the brilliant structure of the game comes to the fore, with the "one per turn" limitation greatly decreasing the time needed while contributing to the tension: will I spend my one movement to try a dash for the spice, or do I consolidate my position to attempt a surprise takeover next turn?
Adding to this is the fact that, especially thanks to "anywhere on the planet" shipments, anyone can win anytime. For example, with the right planning it' s entirely possible to conquer two strongholds in the same turn; thus the unassuming, passive player which was quietly sitting on his lone stronghold doing little during the whole game can win in one single, masterful stroke. Not that this is easy, especially if the other players know what they're doing; but the possibility is always there, so you must keep it into account ("mind the player who moves last" is a lesson learned the hard way by many Dune players, I think... our group is certainly included).

The other side of this coin is that no one is safe anywhere on Dune; the instant you become complacent is the moment of your death. Due to the structure of combat, even the most powerful position can be successfully assaulted; so you can't play the consolidation game, as it will only get you to your grave. Besides which, the 20 soldier tokens each player has are simply not sufficient to make the required 3 strongholds unconquerable. In Dune you must manage your resources carefully, discourage others as much as possible to bother you, and position yourself for the decisive move which will end the game; slow, progressive empire building is simply impossible. In other words, the game is also extremely dynamic.

The third pillar of Dune's structure is, of course, diplomacy, and all which this entails in its better form. Alliances are the most obvious element, but they are far from the only option; for example, information is precious in Dune, and if you have it you can (and should) think about selling it to others for a nice profit; money can be exchanged freely at any time, and this allows all kinds of underhanded deals (Atreides: "so, Emperor, you really would like to know if one of the auctioned cards is a Lasegun, hu? Well I can warn you when it comes up for auction, for a price of course..." - Guild, whispering in the Harkonnens' player ear: "Hey, I notice you have several troops off-planet which you'd like to ship... what about you attacking the Fremen over there, in exchange for a refund of this turn shipment"). Backstab early, backstab often, and have no remorse; Dune is won by the practical player, not by the honest one.


The bad points

Apart from the flimsy cards mentioned above, there's one significant weakness that I can think of: game length is pretty much random. A game can last anything from 30 minutes (surprise third turn victory) to 6-9 hours (15 turns marathon). This is due to the extremely dynamic nature of the game, and the fact that the wins usually either come with a brilliant final move (aided by the ever necessary bit of luck), by the right alliance forming, or both.


The sweet spot

                            


Common knowledge puts it at six players; I've not been able to play with the full complement yet, but judging by past sessions I'd agree. The games with 5 players were undoubtedly the best ones; the game works well with 3 or 4, too, but the sharply reduced diplomacy options and the missing special powers make for a somewhat lessened experience.


The learning curve

The first game is the usual learning experience; you will make stupid mistakes, but after a couple of rounds the general flow will become clear. The second and third games will be used to explore and fully understand every faction's quirks and abilities; you'll have fun, but will not be able to get the most out of your powers yet. From the fourth game onward, the game goes into high gear.


The theme, or "is this an Euro or an Ameritrash?"

An easy question to answer: Dune is the perfect blending of the two. The basic structure of the game is a solid Euro: nice, elegant, simple to learn yet creating many interesting and difficult decisions. But on top of this "Euro core", there lies a thin, added layer of rules (mainly in the form of faction powers) which inextricably links the game to its theme.
The powers, and their interactions with the game, are incredibly well suited to represent the struggle going on on Arrakis, the various factions' strengths and weaknesses, and their modus operandi. Without these powers, we'd have an interesting game of conflict and resource management. With these powers, we have Dune: an ageless classic, and a masterpiece of game design which anyone involved in the job would be well advised to study.


The bottom line

Dune is an absolutely great game; unless you're in one of those groups which can't stand backstabbing and betrayal, chances are you'll find it a really fun experience. Unconditionally suggested for every group which can handle moderately complex, diplomatically vicious games.


The final countdown
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Matt Jensen
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Great review. Thanks for explaining this game that seems to be a holy grail of sorts!
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Russell InGA
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Excellent review! (Maybe some of my buddies will read it and decide to give it a try again!)

One note on the rules: During the Spice Blow round, if there is a worm, after that is resolved you still turn another card so that (barring the storm) there is a spice blow every turn.

Rules wrote:

VII. Spice Blow
...
A.2. If it is a worm card, all spice... and another card is turned over, and so on, until a territory card appears and spice is placed.(Bold mine.)



In terms of number of players, I think 4 does work if you play without alliances.

And I disagree that even a complete game (15 turns) (played by experienced players) is going to take 6 hours (4 I might buy). angryyuk

goo
 
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Troy Adlington
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What makes you think this game has any 'Ameritrash' in it?

Just asking!!

I always thought this label was attached to lots of dice rolling, minis instead of counters, sort of fgames.
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Geert Alexander Heijnen
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It's a common misconception that everything with nice looking plastics in it is Ameritrash. To me ameritrash games are games that offer an experience and have lots of theme and mechanics to cater to that exact theme. This usually leads to a game with a less streamlined rulebook as there are many extra rules and exceptions needed to fit this theme in the game. However this leads to games that for me are more intuitive as rules seem to logically adapted to the theme.

Dune is as ameritrash as it gets, it might run on an euroish engine but then again take all thematic rules away and you got an euro, remove the slapped on theme and you got an abstract.

What makes it ameritrash for me?

- It's conflict based and offers lots of interaction. Euro's usually dont play with direct confrontation yet offer a more (most of the time, too) subtle player interaction which results in the multiplayer solitaire syndrome. It also allows to make alliances.

- Theme: So what adds flavor to this game? First off it's different player powers. Each faction has different advantages. Well integrated to the Dune universe. Eg, The Bene Geserit, doesn't have a lot of military power but can protect itself but it is more of a faction that plays on the background, carefully directing the future, this is reflected that the Bene Geserit must choose a house to write down at the beginning of the game. If that house wins, the Bene Geserit win instead.
Then there are lots of extra rules and exception to those rules to make the game fit the theme.

- Last and probably most important for me. They offer a real experience! Ameritrash sucks you in, takes you for a rollercoaster ride and then spits you out. They provide games where you don't get the feeling your merely exploiting mechanics but that you really get the feeling you are in the middle of it all.
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Luca Lettieri
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rules_heretic wrote:
Excellent review! (Maybe some of my buddies will read it and decide to give it a try again!)

One note on the rules: During the Spice Blow round, if there is a worm, after that is resolved you still turn another card so that (barring the storm) there is a spice blow every turn.


You're totally right, I was confusing the instances where you don't get the spice due to the storm with the Shai-Ulud appearances. I've edited the review, thanks for the correction.

rules_heretic wrote:

In terms of number of players, I think 4 does work if you play without alliances.

And I disagree that even a complete game (15 turns) (played by experienced players) is going to take 6 hours (4 I might buy). angryyuk

goo


As I stated, there was one of our sessions which was aborted at turn 8, after 4+ hours, with no end in sight. It started as a 5 player game, then turned to a 4 player game after the Fremen went home in the middle of the night, on turn 5 if I remember correctly. We went on as the Fremen had been totally wiped out from Dune and was in no alliances, so his disappearance didn't have a bad impact on the ongoing game.
But that particular game has been our most horrible bloodbath; the 4 players had a grand total of 12 counters left on the map between all of them, and this with the Tleilaxu card having been played twice in succession due to treachery deck recycling; we had formed 2 2-player alliances and then simply proceeded to attack each other in 2 or 3 strongholds every turn... the net effect was that no one managed to hold onto 4 strongholds and at 4 AM the game was declared null.
The game can really drag on if you allow players to agonize over movement and battle; you need a strict time limit on those, similar to the one already present for the auction.
 
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Troy Adlington
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Hi Lilred,

I Like that you define Ameritrash as having the Theme 'wag' the game, as opposed to a Euro where the game engine is nailed down then some theme found to tack onto it.

However I'm going to disagree with you big time on this one.

Dune was an amazing breakaway from its wargame roots. It's quite streamlined in its core systems and is quite accessible to non wargamers.

However Ameri-trash it ain't....*

Ameri-trash is best represented by games such as Risk, Axis & Allies, Monsters menace America, War Age of Imperialism, Attack, etc etc. ie I have my mini's you have yours, we bang them together with lots of dice and see who wins

Also in the genre is such broader in scope games as Arkham Horror, Doom, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Descent, and even Shadows over Camelot. As you say these games drip with Theme!

Dune is much more a game like say Here I stand. Or a better example would be Starcraft. (ie. Combat to control areas, Specific player powers and problems, Multi-player meta games needing to take into account the current VP totals.

As such I'd class it as a Multi-player Strategy game, and in my Honest Opinion these sorts of games when done right are the absolute apex of the hobby.

just my 2c.

Troy







* Bad English in respect to my current abode




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Geert Alexander Heijnen
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Hello Troy,

I guess we have to agree to disagree then. Genre's are usually a very personal issue. Metal music anyone? Not to make this a heavy discussion but just to give my thoughts on your reply.

Quote:
Dune was an amazing breakaway from its wargame roots. It's quite streamlined in its core systems and is quite accessible to non wargamers.


This for me makes the Ameritrash theme. Wargames can be highly realistic taking into account almost EVERYTHING. Between this conflict simulation and the euro boardgame there is a lot of space. In this space for me is the Ameritrash genre.

For me games as Tide of Iron also fits the Ameritrash genre. It's more boardgamey than real conflict simulations. With Victory Points and Command Points with Cards it offers some mechanics that improve it as a boardgame but wouldn't be very realistic.

Games as Starcraft and Dune you deem as Multi-player Strategy game, perfectly fit into my definition of Ameritrash.
To define ameritrash as plastic and dice is a very shallow definition in my opinion.
 
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Troy Adlington
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Oh I forgot to say LIGHT!!

Dune's not light...Ameri-trash is light.

Thats the main thrust of my point and I forgot it...I was changing nappies (diapers) at the time!
 
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Joe Lott
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Quote:

The theme, or "is this an Euro or an Ameritrash?"

An easy question to answer: Dune is the perfect blending of the two. The basic structure of the game is a solid Euro: nice, elegant, simple to learn yet creating many interesting and difficult decisions. But on top of this "Euro core", there lies a thin, added layer of rules (mainly in the form of faction powers) which inextricably links the game to its theme.


See this is what is wrong with the whole thing... THIS IS AN AMERICAN MADE GAME 100%, Before the whole Euro thing came about. So what part of it is even Euro? None.

This game was released the year I was born for gods sake. Don't go applying your crappy labels (Both of them) back to games that were around before those stupid labels were even invented.

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Luca Lettieri
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masaakunokouchi wrote:

See this is what is wrong with the whole thing... THIS IS AN AMERICAN MADE GAME 100%, Before the whole Euro thing came about. So what part of it is even Euro? None.

This game was released the year I was born for gods sake. Don't go applying your crappy labels (Both of them) back to games that were around before those stupid labels were even invented.



The usage of the labels in this review refers to the structural elements commonly associated to them, and it has nothing to do with the nationality of the designers. As for the game predating the labels... I guess we can't classify anything, then, since classifications are obviously created after you've become aware of the items you're classifying in the first place.

As for the general tone of your reply, I fail to see how labeling Dune's underlying basic rules structure as of Euro-type can be construed as an insult, but to each his own.
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Big Guy
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Very helpful review. I have never played this game but did a GeekBuddy analysis and noticed that it was rated highly by folks I game with in this area. I am very interested in playing at this point.
 
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roger miller
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Nice write up. The "blend of Euro and AT" thing is a bit unfortunate, it's an invitation to useless blather. IMHO, those categories aren't even useful any more.

I liked Dune back in the day. They absolutely nailed the theme with the special abilities of the players. I liked the first book in the series a lot, and this game was up to its material.

It isn't a Holy Grail of gaming, though. Game length can be a real problem. Alliances help, but it's really dependent on the mix of players. And you definitely don't want analysis paralysis types at the board.

If you're into longer games, don't let that put you off. I'm just past the point where I go for games that can go beyond the 4 hour mark.

A lesser issue for me, but one that rankled some players, is that one alliance was quite powerful in its combined abilities.
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John Lyons Beck
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masaakunokouchi wrote:
Quote:

The theme, or "is this an Euro or an Ameritrash?"

An easy question to answer: Dune is the perfect blending of the two. The basic structure of the game is a solid Euro: nice, elegant, simple to learn yet creating many interesting and difficult decisions. But on top of this "Euro core", there lies a thin, added layer of rules (mainly in the form of faction powers) which inextricably links the game to its theme.


See this is what is wrong with the whole thing... THIS IS AN AMERICAN MADE GAME 100%, Before the whole Euro thing came about. So what part of it is even Euro? None.

This game was released the year I was born for gods sake. Don't go applying your crappy labels (Both of them) back to games that were around before those stupid labels were even invented.


Hear, hear! IIRC, the term "Ameritrash" isn't even four years old. And the first "Euro" didn't show up until 15+ years after this game was put out! I guarantee you, ten years from now, people are going to look on those labels & become nostalgic or dismissive. When I first played Dune, when I was barely 14, we called them wargames. There were wargames, RPG's and then everything else, which included Risk. Aside from a few notable exceptions, wargames were all designed & produced in America. What separated them, aside from their subjects, was who published them. There was a HUGE rivalry between AH & SPI: (AH acted like they were the only producers of games in the world, and never mentioned other wargames in the mag, The General.) Nowadays, few even know about that, let alone be able to tell the difference between an SPI game & an AH game (or a GDW game, ftm.)

So enjoy your 'tacked on' rivalry, folks: it's gonna smell like disco & bell bottoms ten years from now.
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Jim Miller
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I like what a previous Geek stated... a multi-player strategy game...

Nice Review... I love Dune, and have introduced it to a younger crowd, 15-19 and they just LOVED it. I have played many, many games of Dune and have seen short games and long games. In either case and all the ones in between, Dune delivered a GREAT gaming experience, and isn't that what we all are looking for?

Ratings and labels are attempts to quantify and qualify our previous gaming experiences, they are useful in giving an indication to ourselves and others what type of gaming experince we prefer, but that is where their usefulness ends. Because of our (Gaming Geeks) wide range of personalities we will always find a game that others just love and we didn't, thinking that person a little wacked. Therefore I would propose that folks take ratings, labels etc. with a grain of salt and realize if a game such as Dune delivers a great gaming experience (what we all want) it may, just may disappoint someone else.

My only personal rebuke for myself is to try a game more than once before I judge it too harshly... I have made that mistake in the past, thrown the game on the shelf, pulled it down 10 years later, and realized I made a big mistake on judging the game after one play. So many things can make a game appear bad the first couple of times you play... misread the rules, having a bad day, poor game companions, bad environment etc. Finally, you may just realize that you hate word games, but love pushing little plastic pieces around a board conquering your enemies...
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John Lyons Beck
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morpheous wrote:
My only personal rebuke for myself is to try a game more than once before I judge it too harshly... I have made that mistake in the past, thrown the game on the shelf, pulled it down 10 years later, and realized I made a big mistake on judging the game after one play. So many things can make a game appear bad the first couple of times you play... misread the rules, having a bad day, poor game companions, bad environment etc. Finally, you may just realize that you hate word games, but love pushing little plastic pieces around a board conquering your enemies...


Wow. You're totally describing my experience w/ this game. I played it once in '79, and the incident was notorious in my memory as one of the worst times in my life. I was a teenager playing w/ 20-somethings who bullied me emotionally, because they could. And my friend who my link to this group not only didn't stick up for me, but joined in. The story might make a geeklist someday, but it was bad enough for me to put the game away for the past 15 years.
 
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Mark Crane
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Orem
Utah
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gerald maus
United States
Louisiana
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Tried playing Dune with my gaming group of 15 years ago. A question arose which perhaps you can clarify. Who is the aggressor in battle? Rules say "first player" resolves all battles first. I took this to mean only on battles where he moved into another player's territory. Others in our group took it to mean all battles involving the "first player's" tokens whether or not he moved against someone or if someone moved against him. Since the aggressor wins ties this could be crucial. Thank you
 
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Robert Manning
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Sunnyvale
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Re: 'First Player' = Aggressor in Battle?
Sounds like the "Others" have the correct interpretation. From the rules, X.A.3: When resolving battles the 'first player' is named the aggressor until all of his battle, if any, have been fought. From IX.A: The Player whose player dot the storm next approaches is termed the 'first player'. Essentially the first player has tactical initiative regardless of actual movement.
 
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Armin Sudhoff
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Re: 'First Player' = Aggressor in Battle?
agree to Robert, the original rules say 'First Player' = Aggressor
...but one of our houserules is, that the "aggressor" is the defender
what means, the faction that was first in the territory. It makes nearly no difference except if I had the territory already last turn, I am ALWAYS the aggressor (=defender). This gives defenders (of strongholds) at least a bit of an advantage, what seems more logical to me.

Greetz, HivedOne

P.S.: Greaaaaaaaaat pic, M C, why do I recognise it only just?
 
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James Lowry
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Great review; and chalk up a vote in favor of your analysis of it as Ameritrash with Euro-style underpinnings.

Admittedly, I don't entirely think of it as ameritrash, but of the big three modern ur-genres, it is definitely closer to them than the others. Of course, I'm used to thinking of it in old-fashioned terms as part of "other great games from AH" (along with 1830, Merchants of Venus, Civilization, etc...).
 
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Andrew Gill
United States
Washington
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Hey man, Excellent review. I have a conundrum though. I'm trying to get a game of this going with a couple of buddies of mine and am trying to find out the best set of DIY files to use. Do you have any suggestions? Also some printing instructions would be nice, I saw a couple boards and was trying to figure out exactly how big to print them.
 
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Dennis Shaper
United States
Alabama
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Thanks for the review. But now I'm sure I have no interest in the game. 3 turns and it's over, 4 hours and your only on turn 8? Then the 5 hour marathon for 14 turns. Man, what a terrible variable. I guess Dune is an acquired taste.
 
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Brent Tyler
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denroy3 wrote:
Thanks for the review. But now I'm sure I have no interest in the game. 3 turns and it's over, 4 hours and your only on turn 8? Then the 5 hour marathon for 14 turns. Man, what a terrible variable. I guess Dune is an acquired taste.


I have some absolutely wonderful memories of Dune that I haven't played since high school. We used to play in a guys dorm room as students skipping the curfew. We probably weren't the fastest players and a lot of it had to deal with the BG most of the time as they seem to have an annoying habit of making a correct winning prediction. I played probably 10 times or so and the BG correctly predicted the victor 3 times. I do recall one particular game that starting around 10 pm and went until 7 am or so the next day. I think it finished on turn 13 or 14, we never had a game go the full length and we never had a game go less than 7 or 8 rounds. The shortest game I can recall was probably 3-4 hours. We always played with the full 6 players. I can't speak to playing with less players.

I need to see if my old high school friend still has a copy and get him to come to PAX East so we can introduce it to more players. I consider Dune an all day/night game. We always played in the evening and as people got tired things would slow down.
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