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Subject: Just hit this damn red button Jamis!! rss

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Armin Sudhoff
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First report... after more then 50 games! ...Hope you enjoy

The following factions were in play:
Atreides: Martes
Emperor: Chrischdi
Fremen: Veronika (newbie)
Guild: Doerk
Harkonnen: me (instead of Ixians)

After a debate, if the new Ixians are too strong (especially vs. the emperor), we decided, not to play with them, what made me to redraw my faction... what was good luck in the end ;-)

First of all it should be said, that we have some house rules: (at least the most important here
Advanced revival: there is no technical revival limit, but the more you revive, the higher the price. That way, spice is even worthier... you can never have enough of it, as it is in "real-Dune"... (+1 troop=2sp, +2 troops=5sp, +3 troops=10sp, ...)
"no worthless beginning": When a player has a worthless as his first card, he may show it and redraw until he's got something "useful". (Harkonnen must have two worthless, then redraws both).
"more cards": 5 weapons and defenses of each type. One more Karama, hero, truthtrance, 2 more worthless, harvester (get all spice with one troop), plumpser.
Last but not least: We tried the "alternate Harkonnen Karama Power" of initiated by echephron (found here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/894633/harkonen-karma-power ), more infos about that in the end :-D

...but let's start with the beginning.

1st round:
Fremen start half in Tabr, half on False Wall East
Spice-blow in Sihaya Ridge
Cards go to: Fremen (!), Atreides (2), Harkonnen, Emperor.
Fremen has forgotten the house-rule "no worthless beginning" and has now his worthless and family atomics(!)

Movement:
Harkonnen lands 7 tokens in Tueks and moves 3 from there to Sihaya, Atreides also go for spice, Emperor "waits", Fremen Moves "falls wall"-guys into Habbanya. Guild ships 10 more troops to Tueks! Only with starting card!!

Battle:
for Tueks: Guild dials 9 and outnumbers Nefud with Guild-Rep.
for spice: Harkonnen kill Yueh and capture Jessica :-D therefore loose Uman Kudu. Atreides looses weapon :-)

2nd round:
spice in Hagga Basin... my lucky day :-D
cards go to: Atreides, Harkonnen (2?), Emperor, Fremen

Movement:
Atreides reinforces Arrakeen, Emperor goes for spice via Carthag... just 4 lousy tokens. Fremen go to spice, too with 8 or 9 troops :-( Harkonnen waits for the worm or a better blow. Guild waits.

Battle:
Fremen outnumber the emperor. Some worthless cards are discarded. Fremen remain with 1 troop and jsut collect 2 spice.

3rd round:

The worm comes up! Atreides suggests a "bad-boy - good-boy"-Alliance. Harkonnen only agrees, when spice is shared 2/3 for collector 1/3 for ally (he knows: Atreides go first for some turns). They also agree, that Harkonnen may see spice and card deck and therefore honestly reveals any traitor, fighting vs. Atreides. As no one else wants to ally, Harkonnen and Atreides go slightly for victory since that turn (maybe Fremen/Emperor would have been a good answer...).

Blow: Old Gap (yessss!)

cards: much crap comes up: it is distributed to our alliances wishes :-D Worthless cards go to emperor, truth-trances, hajr and cheap heroes to guild. Same next two turns... but emperor also gains a weapon and someone a defence but the emp pays high prices for all his cards (worthless or not).

Movement:
Atreides go for spice. Emperor blocks Tabr (Fremen) with 1 Sardaukar. They make a deal, not to use any attack cards and dial zero, so Harkonnen can't "walk" there from Carthag (maybe even better, then allying with Fremen! ...a strategy he repeats 2 or 3 times, to get rid of worthless). Fremen go with 4 tokens to the Imperial Basin, to blow the wall. Harkonnen moves some tokens to the basin too, to stop Fremens atomics there. Guild lands in Arrakeen and uses Hajr to reach spice AND evacuate to rimwall, to be prepared for the atomics.

Battle:
Harkonnen have an easy job vs. Fremen... I got Stilgars water(!!) and forgot to capture an enemy leader blush... the party realised my fault and pressed the game, so I only remembered it during the collection phase... They didn't allow me, to capture that late angry
("battle phase is over! *blabla*").
Guild wins the battle for spice vs. Atreides with one token remaining.

4th round (or 5th??):

spice blow in Cielago south! First I am very happy, I could land in Habbanya, battle Fremen and "walk" to the spice... but all came different. Atreides played weathercontrol. storm went 0... don't know, why we did this... maybe to be longer the last players... but maybe I remember that wrong...

Emperor tries another "I-block-Tabr-with-Fremen"-action. 3(+1) Fremen go to "The minor Erg", to attempt another Shield Wall blowing. That region cannot be reached by Carthag (Storm over "Gara Kulon"). So I have either to ship into open territory (Tueks and Arrakeen are in allied hand) and forget about Habbanya... or take the last survivor of the battle from Imperial basin there... anyway: The spiceblow in the south is out of reach for now...
I land in Habbanya and try to kill the atomic-gang with the last survivor (by movement)...

This was one of the most crucial situations in the game! If the Fremen blew the Shield Wall, ~10 Atreides and ~10 Harkonnen tokens would have been blown away... loosing also the ornithopter bonus. The Fremen had the lazgun... I had the fitting shield... and even better: I had prescience. So The question was of course for the weapon. The Fremen did well, not to use the laz here... he'd loose the battle anyway, so why throw it away? No attack, this means surviving leader. I asked my ally, if he wants Jessica back for 2 spice... he agreed and I used her in that battle. I "knew", my wife (Fremen) had one of my leaders as a traitor, otherwise, she hadn't played that aggressive vs. Harkonnen. Jessica came back to my ally and the spice floated into Harkonnens' stock

You see, I don't remember all the details... especially not, which turn it all happened...


5th round to 7th round:
Blows are mostly in the Fremen starting area... but as she became very weak and most players try to stop Atreides-Harkonnen victory, much spice can be collected by me (Harkonnen), as I am often last player. Nevertheless, my ally (Atreides) gets crippled by an imperial attack on Arrakeen. Next turn, the emp tries the same in Carthag. Nevertheless, the storm is quite near... and Fremen tokens move to the "minor erg" again (next try to blow the shield wall!!). As my troops have fought much, (many tokens in tanks, although I buy every turn an extra revival), I prefer to move my eight tokens to the rimwall, where a guild token remains (after an attack on Arrakeen??!)... he flees in the open desert. Now the Fremen has the chance, to kill ~16 Emperor-troops by storm... but as it is for sure, that then our alliance will win the game, she doesn't blow the Shield Wall again. After the game, Doerk and me agreed, that she should have demanded at least 15 spice for being that kindly... with that, she could have afforded, to revive her leaders and buy new cards...
Many meaningless battles were fought in that time. The emperor twice stopped me from capturing opponent leaders by Karama... nevertheless, also I achieved to get a Karama finally and used *tadaaa* the new Karama-ability... (after considering a heavy drop for half costs instead). So I drew 4 new traitors, of that I could take two. The choice wasn't that easy. No more Harkonnen drawn: Chani, Bewt, Halleck and Caid. I decided to take Caid and Bewt. Chani was already in the tanks... but I didn't know, how long my alliance with the Atreides will last... nor, who will ally with me instead... But in the end Halleck also wasn't that interesting anymore with the Kwisatz-Haderach in game.

8th round:

In turn 7 the worm didn't change the alliances, although I was moaning, that I'd ally with anyone, as long as we can win together... I explained that needn't be the Atreides (who lost many troops by now, too). in turn 8 another worm shows up. This time, Atreides breaks with Harkonnen and tries his luck with the emperor. This was probably a mistake, because of the card-knowledge of the Harkonnen and the fact, he still had all his traitors. Maybe it was only a prevention for not being betrayed himself... Instead the Harkonnen go together with the Guild.

The next few turns, the emperor and Atreides didn't do a good job during the bidding phase. The Atreides' hand was filled fast and also the emperor had many cards in his hand. A deal with the Fremen (everyone gets one of the cards for one spice) made a lousy bidding round for them. At some point, the lazgun was re-purchased by the guild for 14 spice (emperor didn't pay 15... gladly the Atreides' hand was filled). The emperor was then lazgun-shielded by a guild token and a cheap hero in Carthag, letting him loose another leader (no traitor) and tokens worth 12 strength. He should have shifted his troops more, as he knew, who the lazegun had! Nevertheless, now I knew, that he only had 3 more leaders, two in my pay... the game was almost won. However it still was very close, as in a battle for Tueks between Atreides and Harkonnen, I just won by one point... only because we concluded before, that the Kwisatz Haderach only secures from treachery without giving +2 (emperor player found it too strong! Now he got his pay).
The guild won the two battles vs. the emperor by treachery. Ironically, the Atreides had Fenring in his pay and told him, that he'd be safe (not his traitor)... The Emperor had a "safe" leader, too (Caid), but due to the new Karama-ability of the Harkonnen, exactly this leader wasn't safe anymore (emperor thought, same could be with Fenring... Atreides has not told him, that he is the real traitor)...
...nevertheless, if I kept my Karama until that moment and we played by "old rules" so made a handswap instead before the first battle, the guild had "auto-won" both battles either.

Result: Harkonnen-Guild-victory at the end of turn 11... due to lucky treachery and unfair deals between Atreides and Harkonnen.

I like that absolutly crazy games of Dune!! ...and can't wait for our next session in August... maybe with another session report... then hopefully with photos.

Greetz, HivedOne!
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Klaude Thomas
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Wow! Rather a hectic game. Some thoughts on your house rules.

Atreides. I'd suggest you retain the +2 on the Kwisatz Haderach. Even with that bonus Atreides still wins much less frequently than Bene-Gesserit and Harkonnen, and not more frequently than Emperor or Guild.

Revivals. Unlimited recovery will make Guild and Emperor stronger and dilute Fremen's rapid recovery advantage. But you do ramp the cost nice and steeply and, because alliance games contain those two spice loops (shipping to Guild, and bidding to Emperor) that can lead to spice pooling in the hands of players, I do kind of agree with the idea of giving players an extra way to spend it. Do you recall if anyone did buy +3 tokens or more at any point? What do you think of instead ramping +1=1sp, +2=4sp, +3=10sp, +4=20sp, +5=35 etc (the scale per token is 1/3/6/10/15). So while to buy +3 tokens still costs 10sp, even Fremen might be able to afford +1 or +2 (i.e. for 4 or 5 tokens revived!); and Emperor is unlikely to be able to out-revive them. I don't know how that will affect the game. It might work well. I guess I'm suggesting you don't upset the balance at the +1 or +2 level, because that interacts with the poorer faction's base revivals and expectable levels of income.

Worthless Cards. It is always horrible to start with one in hand. I don't see any harm at all in allowing a mulligan.

Alternate Harkonnen Karama. We've discussed it elsewhere and it played out much as we expected. You drew some leaders which you knew were now not much use. And players became unable to rely on their 'safe' leaders. I do feel that your play shows it slightly hurt a skill element of the game as I predicted: Emperor played the correct leader but it turned out he couldn't rely on it. But I suppose that this is only against the Baron, and he is supposed to be treacherous after all. So I end up feeling your version of echephron's suggestion works pretty well. As you mentioned elsewhere, it's weak enough that you might keep the karama for something else, but strong enough that it's worth taking a shot on. Draw 4 keep 2 appears to work well.

So nice write up! Thank you
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Klaude Thomas
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Actually, I should add that the WBC desert power rule is worth trying. Fremen get free support in desert territories (their tokens count full value for free). Also I suggest you let Fremen allies use worm riding as an alliance benefit.
 
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tom tom
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Nice and interesting review, thanks.

I'm planning to play again soon (10 years or so after my last game) and roaming the forums offers interesting options to include house rules.

I think I'll experiment your "no worthless to begin with" unless some very experienced player shows up and explains why this would be foolish


@ Klaude: From the review I don't think they played advanced combat rules, unless I missed something.
 
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Klaude Thomas
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tomfromparis wrote:
@ Klaude: From the review I don't think they played advanced combat rules, unless I missed something.

Good point! In which case I'd suggest they drop the unlimited revivals for a game, and try the Advanced Combat rules instead. Those rules help sink spice out of the game economy. But if you do use them it's a good idea to give Fremen 'desert power'.
 
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Michael Tisdel
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Thanks for the AAR - we're playing on Saturday (our second game for the group and my second game after a long drought - since the early 80's blush)

I like the "worthless card" mulligan - I'll propose it to our group.
 
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Armin Sudhoff
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Thank you all for your feedback! Here are my thoughts about your arguements:
vonklaude wrote:
Wow! Rather a hectic game...

Mah... it only "reads" hectic we played about 3,5h... okay , taking in concern, that it lasted so many turns, it might be considered fast... on the other hand, we are all experienced players... the only newb also played fast...

vonklaude wrote:
Atreides. I'd suggest you retain the +2 on the Kwisatz Haderach.

I absolutly agree... mainly the "I-want-to-play-Emperor"-player said, we should try it that way... so we tried it for the first time and try to convince him, to put it back to +2 in the next game(s).

vonklaude wrote:
Revivals. Unlimited recovery will make Guild and Emperor stronger and dilute Fremen's rapid recovery advantage.

The opposite is right: The Fremen can't revive for spice at all in the original game. So a rich Fremen with a good hand, has "spice for nothing" (when not playing advanced). The Emperor and Guild pay regularly 4 spice for their total of 3 tokens. With our rules, it is "5sp for 3" . Close to the original game, but a bit more expensive... therefor, they have the chance, to revive even more... but even they don't have that much spice, to get too much tokens back...

vonklaude wrote:
But you do ramp the cost nice and steeply and, because alliance games contain those two spice loops (shipping to Guild, and bidding to Emperor) that can lead to spice pooling in the hands of players, I do kind of agree with the idea of giving players an extra way to spend it. Do you recall if anyone did buy +3 tokens or more at any point?

The most tokens, recalled that way I have seen in our games were maybe max. 6 or 7 by the guild, to survive one more turn... or even claim victory... but of course paying very high for it... There is a point where you consider to wait one more turn and first get 4 tokens out and next turn 4 or 5... that is much cheaper... but maybe you won't survive until next turn anymore angry
vonklaude wrote:
What do you think of instead ramping +1=1sp, +2=4sp, +3=10sp, +4=20sp, +5=35 etc (the scale per token is 1/3/6/10/15). So while to buy +3 tokens still costs 10sp, even Fremen might be able to afford +1 or +2 (i.e. for 4 or 5 tokens revived!); and Emperor is unlikely to be able to out-revive them. I don't know how that will affect the game. It might work well. I guess I'm suggesting you don't upset the balance at the +1 or +2 level, because that interacts with the poorer faction's base revivals and expectable levels of income.

We have experimented with revival very much... your suggestion is too cheap, so there is more "traffic" making the guild stronger in two ways:
1.) More traffic -> more spice for them
2.) More revived tokens -> more balance in game, less "police-work"
3.) Less cost for "high revival" -> Guild can "police" much more frequently

vonklaude wrote:
Worthless Cards. It is always horrible to start with one in hand. I don't see any harm at all in allowing a mulligan.
One of the worst things about it is, that you have no joker vs. the Atreides... you are totally "naked" from the beginning.

vonklaude wrote:
Alternate Harkonnen Karama. We've discussed it elsewhere and it played out much as we expected. You drew some leaders which you knew were now not much use. And players became unable to rely on their 'safe' leaders. I do feel that your play shows it slightly hurt a skill element of the game as I predicted: Emperor played the correct leader but it turned out he couldn't rely on it...

I don't see thaat much skill anymore in picking the safe leader in an important battle (esp. vs. the Harkonnen). IMO you now need much more "intuitive skill" in selecting leaders at all. In our game, the emperor could have used one of his two Karamas rather to revive a dead leader... maybe even after Harkonnens Karama use, to get back a leader, that the Harkonnen thought to be worthless. Also cheap heroes become now much more useful
vonklaude wrote:
But I suppose that this is only against the Baron, and he is supposed to be treacherous after all. So I end up feeling your version of echephron's suggestion works pretty well. As you mentioned elsewhere, it's weak enough that you might keep the karama for something else, but strong enough that it's worth taking a shot on. Draw 4 keep 2 appears to work well.

Yes... this is also our conclusion... it needn't to be that lucky for the Harkonnen: the emperor also could have used his safe leader in at least one of the two battles. The odds therefore were 2:3.

Concerning advanced rules: I have stated this out in another post about 3-4 years ago:
Advanced rules make weapons (and defences) even more worthy: troops that only count half regularly make leaders win almost "solo". As defence fits only with 50% (not counting deadly lasegun) weapons are the key for victory... cards get more expensive, the Fremen gets even less cards, empi becomes richer (and can support his Sardaukar in battle even more) and so on...
The only thing I really like about the advanced rules is, that there are not so eminent battles for spice... as you have two blows, you can simply collect "elsewhere". I also considered, to play with two spice-card-stacks but only lay out half the spice (so lousy 3 spice in Hagga Basin)... but who would send troops there to collect??
Seems, we will never play with 2 blows... but therefore have sometims 3 factions in spice territory arrrh

vonklaude wrote:
So nice write up! Thank you

Thank you for all your suggestions!!

Just another little house-rule for the guys, that like "fair starts":
At the beginning of the game we draw traitors one after another and each player is allowed once, to immediatly redraw one of them for 3 spice (not the last one... so you don't have more then 3 safe leaders). That way it's almost impossible, that you only draw Kudu, Guild Rep., Jamis and Yueh whistle ...but for a price ;-)
...sometimes used by Emperor, Guild and Harkonnen *hehe*

Greetz, HivedOne.
 
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Klaude Thomas
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I think you make a good case for your rules for revivals. And I don't mind basic combat and single spice blow. But I do think your changes leave Fremen weaker. Maybe it is true that revivals are too cheap in the original rules. 2sp/3sp might really be justified. But then I bet that makes the game a notch harder for Atreides and Harkonnen. I'm overall hesitant to support open-ended revivals because for me winning Dune is very much about the tempo of token counts and spice. One tries to engineer (or more often take advantage of!) a situation where some players temporarily lack tokens in reserve and/or spice to deploy them. That creates a hole that you can win through.

Drawing Guild Rep, Yamis, Yueh, and Kudu isn't a bad thing. I nearly always take Guild Rep over any other Guild leader except Staban. And I regularly bluff players into playing their lowest leader. You just make them believe you'll kill their leader devil The lowest leader is almost always better to take than the second lowest leader.
 
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Armin Sudhoff
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vonklaude wrote:
I think you make a good case for your rules for revivals. And I don't mind basic combat and single spice blow. But I do think your changes leave Fremen weaker. Maybe it is true that revivals are too cheap in the original rules. 2sp/3sp might really be justified. But then I bet that makes the game a notch harder for Atreides and Harkonnen.

Can't get into your thinking... For Fremen our rules are the only chance, to revive additional tokens at all... so it is better for them (especially when seeing no chance for a harvest and having the CHOAM every turn). HK and AT aren't affected by the higher cost in original rules (they get 2 free revivals)... but I agree, they are the ones who most seldomly revive more then 3 tokens, when not allied.

vonklaude wrote:
I'm overall hesitant to support open-ended revivals because for me winning Dune is very much about the tempo of token counts and spice.

Totally agree... but it IS no open-ended revival. The "hole you can win through" is still there. The rich factions do have only one or two chances, when they can revive several tokens... what means, maybe 5/6/7 additional tokens (for 26/37/50 spice).

vonklaude wrote:
Drawing Guild Rep, Yamis, Yueh, and Kudu isn't a bad thing. I nearly always take Guild Rep over any other Guild leader except Staban. And I regularly bluff players into playing their lowest leader. You just make them believe you'll kill their leader devil The lowest leader is almost always better to take than the second lowest leader.

You are absolutly right... often the "smaller" heros are rather played... but in determining battles, maybe rather the "middle-row" or a strong one, that already has been "tested"... and that is, where treachery counts imo. But that might dependent on the group/player. I'd never play Guild-Rep (or other level 1 leaders) in important battles, unless I knew he'd be safe!!

Greetz, HivedOne!
 
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