An Avalon Hill
board game based on the Frank Herbert
series, and by the way, ojnk
is dead wrong
. Dune is one of the best board games
I've ever played - you just need six serious players. The game doesn't work in the slightest
without all six.
In Dune, you choose one the six powers struggling over the future of Dune at the start of the first book. Dune is unlike any other conquest based board games you'll ever play. The combat system is entirely unique and every faction is radically different from every other to the point that on many counts entirely different rules apply to how they work through different aspects of the game. Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.
I'm going to give a brief explanation of some of the more important and unique elements and rules of the game:
For most factions, there are only two ways to get around on Dune's surface. You can walk (or use Ornithopers if you control Carthag or Arrakeen, or you can pay the Guild to transport off-planet troops anywhere onto Dune. You're allowed to use each of these methods once per turn.
Trachery plans a big role in Dune, and is worked out by purchasing Treachery cards. There are many different Treachery cards including weapons for your heroes to use (Projectiles and knives, poison weapons, lasguns, etc), defenses to use against those weapons (poison snoopers and shields), House Atomics, false heroes for ruses, Gholas, Weather Control, useless cards and Karama abilities.
Treachery cards are acquired in the following fashion: during the Treachery phase which happens every turn one card for each faction is placed face down on the table, and each faction bids money (spice) in a clockwise fashion without knowing what they're actually bidding on. This continues until all cards have either been purchased or ignored.
No player may hold more than 4 treachery cards.
Combat in Dune involves no random elements. Whenever two rival factions occupy the same location (except for the Polar Sink, which is neutral) a battle occurs. Each opponent is given a battle wheel with numbers between 0 and 20 to designate (in private) the number of troops they're commiting (read sacrificing) to the battle. Each opponent also choses a Hero (who has a number that states how powerful they are - the more the better... Stilgar is a 7, Yeuh is a 1, to give examples) and any Treachery cards they wish to play (no more than one weapon, one defense and one of any other card). Battle then starts by resolving the Hero conflict - if one side plays a weapon that is not appropriately countered by the other, the Hero dies and his/her points are not added to the battle. After that is resolved, you simply add the number of points on both sides, and whoever has more points wins. The loser loses everything, the winner only loses a number of troops equal to what they dialed on the combat wheel.
So the idea is to dial as low a number as possible, while still winning the battle - because everyone you commit to the battle (save Heroes, if they survive) is going to die.
Every turn there is a spice blow in a different desert section of the board - if you want to collect that spice, it is necessary to get troops into that section of the board and hold it until the end of the turn. The tricky part: sometimes worms show up instead of spice, munching everything sitting where the last spice blow occurred (where you just rushed your troops to last turn).
At the beginning of the game, before anything else occurs, every faction gets to claim one opponent Hero that is in their pay. This is done by placing all Hero counters face down on the table and each person choosing four counters at random. They may choose of these four and secretly write down the name. Later in the game if that Hero is ever used against you may declare 'Treachery!' and the battle ends immediately - you with no loses, your opponent loses everything.
The storm moves around Dune in a clockwise fashion, laying waste to anything out in the open that it crosses. Troops caught in the desert when the storm passes are destroyed. The distance the storm is going to travel during any given turn is an unknown element.
Victory for all factions can be achieved in one way, and three of the factions have additional victory options I'll show in the faction profiles below. For victory to be achieved in the normal fashion, one player must occupy a certain number of city locations at the end of a turn. That number is set at the beginning of the game based on how challening you desire the game to be.