Recommend
77 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Dune: The Dice Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dune Review/First Impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tobias Gohrbandt
Germany
Saarbrücken
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmb
This review is based on 1.5 plays, so it’s possible that with more plays, some of these assessments might change. Though I don’t expect them to, really. As the rules are available for download, I’ll assume you know the rules, or have them on your screen (and I’m too lazy to retype all the fiddly details).

The game allows for 2 - 8 players, but the practical range is more narrow. As a good part of the appeal is forming alliances and backstabbing, I’d recommend against only two players. From my experience, anything from 4 to 6 players works well. More than that, and it becomes difficult to plan ahead, and to make yourself heard.
The goal is to control three of the strategically important areas, four if you’re allied with someone else. To that end, you need to recruit and deploy troops, and to ally yourself with other players.

A single player turn is relatively short (barring analysis paralysis), which means that there is relatively little downtime. Also, even when it’s not your turn, you can try to get the active player to ally with you, or to screw another player, so there’s always something to do.

You start your turn by rolling all the dice, set aside at least one of them, and continue rolling the dice, until all dice are set aside/fixed.
This is actually pretty nifty. While allowing for a good amount of luck, you can still try to get certain results, depending on what die you set aside and what result you reroll. You rarely get a totally useless result overall, though it might be necessary to adjust your plans. There’s also a nice push-your-luck factor here - if you really want to get more, say, Bene Gesserit symbols, you can reroll the faction dice… at the risk of getting useless faction symbols.

The first thing you do when the rolling is done is forge a (very) temporary alliance with another player. You don’t have to, of course, but it’s difficult to win on your own - especially if you fail to make „friends“ (aka useful fools) along the way. It’s almost always beneficial to be invited into an alliance, if only because it allows you to recruit more troops, so most players will readily agree to a proposed alliance. Inviting someone requires somewhat more thought, though, as you might just give your opponent the troops he needs to win. An alliance is also a great setup for an attack one or two turns in the future, if you can get your ally to allow you to deploy your troops in his (ideally weakly-defended) areas.
in my first game, I had a pretty long-lasting alliance with another player, which held for most of the game. Right until the end, when I dumped him, got a new ally, and won that way.
The alliances in this game capture very well the volatile and backstabbing politics of Dune.

Deploying and then moving troops is relatively straightforward. Depending on how much you trust your current ally, you can pay to let him deploy his troops somewhere. You need to find a balance between giving your opponent an actually useful edge, and being so stingy that people don’t want to ally with you. Note that you can only deploy to areas you (or your ally) already control, or to the polar region. You can only move to a single area, depending on the result of your Region Die. If you don’t plan expanding this turn, the Region Die doesn’t matter much. Simply reinforce the areas you’re already holding.

If you end up in the same region as non-allied troops, there’s combat. In combat, again, it pays to have allied troops at your disposal, because you can decide to send your ally’s troops ahead into combat, and keep your own troops safely back to hold the contested area. Again, if you throw away too many allied troops, you need to talk fast and sound honest if you want avoid making an enemy of your ally.
The combat mechanic, especially the fact that all troops actually doing the fighting will die, makes for an interesting guessing game. You want to send in the minimum to win, which isn’t always easy to decide.

Though the game goes for six turns at the most, I don’t expect most games to go on that long. In my first game, we were done after three (or was it four?) turns, and the second game wouldn’t have lasted much longer than that. It’s also in the common interest not to let the game end without a winner, or else the Spacing Guild wins by default. Or possibly the Bene Gesserit. And you can’t have that.

On the whole, the mechanics are easy enough to grasp very quickly, and they won’t bog down the game. However, the tactical and strategic considerations can get pretty involved, as you can the allying. There’s a lot of interaction, and a lot of backstabbing. If you like that, you’ll like this game.
69 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
sacha cauvin
France
rouen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So jealous you got to play the game!

Thank you for the review.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Kazimierczak
United States
Falmouth
Maine
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So how long does it actually take to play-- my big gripe with Dune is that after all the wheeling and dealing it's 3+ hours which we don't typically have.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tobias Gohrbandt
Germany
Saarbrücken
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmb
kaziam wrote:
So how long does it actually take to play-- my big gripe with Dune is that after all the wheeling and dealing it's 3+ hours which we don't typically have.


That's difficult to say after one and a half games. The first time, we had focused players, and we were done in maybe two hours, including explaining the rules, and including a good amount of negotiating. The second game demonstrated that with analysis paralysis and new players, the game takes longer (obviously), but I think three hours would be stretching it.

Of course, since different people differ a lot in how long they negotiate and how fast they make up their mind, it certainly could take longer. With our current group, and assuming all players were familiar with the rules, I'd guesstimate about 90 minutes for a typical game. Definitely not a game which you need to schedule your weekend around.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Rubinstein

Long Beach
California
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I totally love the idea of being able to place troops in an allies space and then having to re-ally every turn. Obviously if you do not, it starts a combat with them. Ingenious and totally evil.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael D. Kelley
United States
Silver Spring
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TobiasG wrote:
kaziam wrote:
So how long does it actually take to play-- my big gripe with Dune is that after all the wheeling and dealing it's 3+ hours which we don't typically have.


That's difficult to say after one and a half games. The first time, we had focused players, and we were done in maybe two hours, including explaining the rules, and including a good amount of negotiating. The second game demonstrated that with analysis paralysis and new players, the game takes longer (obviously), but I think three hours would be stretching it.

Of course, since different people differ a lot in how long they negotiate and how fast they make up their mind, it certainly could take longer. With our current group, and assuming all players were familiar with the rules, I'd guesstimate about 90 minutes for a typical game. Definitely not a game which you need to schedule your weekend around.


Hm... so not necessarily an improvement over classic Dune or Rex.

Since my main problem with the original is identical to Adam's, this might be a deal-breaker.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Heberer
United States
Lake Stevens
WA
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Boy, that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think if you include a sand timer that is something like 1 minute to talk over alliances and make the call you'd get the play time to be shorter. If no alliance is made after 1 minute, you have no ally.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.