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Subject: Should certain factions be used in 2,3,4,5,6 player games? rss

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Chris Jones
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I found a thread ages ago, but hunting yielded nothing, about certain factions that unbalance games with less players!

I wondered if people had a preference for which factions should be available in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 player games (which would use all of them I suppose).

There seem to be extra factions (Lansraad, Tilixeu etc) - where are these from and are they any good?

Ta

CHRIS
 
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Dan Taylor
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Re: Should certain factions be used in 2,3,4,5,6 player game
I believe the extra factions are from magazines (The General, among others). We used the Lansraad in the last game we played and it was... interesting. Not sure if it was good or not.

As far as what factions to use in what games... not sure. Seems like (IMHO), the Harkonnens, the Atriedes and the Fremen might be "better" to put in than leave out. It seems like the Guild and the Emperor might have problems if the bidding for treachery cards is slow or there aren't a lot of people wanting to come to Dune. The Bene Gesserit seem really hard to play in anything other than maybe a 4 player game.

I'm not a game expert by any means, so if someone else wants to chime in...
 
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Chris Jones
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Re: Should certain factions be used in 2,3,4,5,6 player game
So (to start the flame war)...

2 player
ATREIDES and HARKONNEN

3 player
FREMEN and HARKONNEN and ATREIDES

4 player
FREMEN and HARKONNEN and BENE GESSERIT and ATREIDES

5 player
FREMEN and HARKONNEN and GUILD and BENE GESSERIT and ATREIDES

6 player
THE LOT!

Anyone got any comments?

CHRIS
 
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Kent Reuber
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I probably wouldn't bother playing Dune with less than 4 players. With 3, maybe you could try playing 2 factions each (consider your 2 sides to be non-allies until the first Worm card is drawn), but that's likely to get messy.

For 4, I'd pick: Atriedes, Harkonnen, Emperor and Fremen
For 5, I'd add: Bene Gesserit
For 6, add the Guild
 
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Colin Hunter
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I've played quite a few games and while now I never (unless I'm forced to) play with less than six, but in the past I played quite a few games that are small.

2 player I wouldn't even bother. Harkonnen will probably win as long as they get some good cards early. No power in 2 player will really stand up to them, and they can win on the first turn so I don't think harkonen is adviseable in 2 player. Remeber in 2 player a harkonen will keep 4 traitors possibly having up to 4 of their opponents. If you really want 2 player I would try something else. they all seem so unbalanced so it is hard to think of anything... guild and fremen maybe? no idea

Once you get to three player the game is a bit fairer, but still unbalanced I would think fremen harkonnen and atreides would be logical choice

Four player with the BGs is interesting, but I think playing with the emperor will yield a more balanced game. This is mainly because the emperor is like the goal keeper early on against the harkonnen and atreides. He is about the only power that can weeken them early before they get set up. Once you get to 4 players he actually starts getting enought money to do stuff. However the guild would be good as well. with four players it matters less what powers there are. Even in 4 player though the harkonnen and atreides are quite powerful.

Five players is for me the most playable out of these. I usually insist that the emperor is playing, for the previously mentioned reasons. Personally I would leave out the guild or BGs. One the factors is most people like playing the BGs (their is a poll on the egroup that proves that), so people tend to want to include them. They are quite a passive power, but they do help balance the harkonnen and emperor so they are pretty necessary. The guild potentially is a good balancing power and its karama ability is game saving/winning so they are pretty important too. I think once you get to 5 players as long as you have the emperor, fremen, harkonnen, and atreides it doesn't matter too much.

I know why you put the emperor in last and I used to think the same (he doesn't start with any troops on planet and his abilities are rather non interactive). However the fact he has buckets of cash really means he is game saver. The powers are strictly equal, but the overall multiplayer dynamic ensures that they are. Good luck
Colin
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Colin Hunter
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Oh and I tend not to play allies with less than six. Alliances are critical to the game, but certain alliances are pretty game breaking. Theoretically everyone should be trying to win by themselves (as in a tournament it is worth more points), however it doesn't always work like that.
 
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Zack Boatman
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2- F & E
3- F & E & A
4- F & E & A & H
5- F & E & A & H & G
6- F & E & A & H & G & BG
 
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Armin Sudhoff
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Re: Should certain factions be used in 2,3,4,5,6 player game
F & E seems no good choice for 2 player: The Fremen just don't bid on treachery cards and the emp. sucks hard. He can nearly send no troops on planet and his "great sardaukar" suck against the desert-men. Having during the whole game only 5 spice (so he can split to send up to 5 troops or buy 3 treachery cards, sending only 2 troops.
Fremen start with Tuek's Sietch (10 units on the False Wall South or East?!) and flood with their remaining troops the other two sietches and the two cities.
I think, they will win in turn 2 or 3.
In two player Emp. vs. Guild seems to be really pretty, they have to give each other spice, the emp can use his sardaukars... but at all, two player gaming seems not to be very interesting.

My Opinion:
2: E & G
3: A & H & G
4: F & H & A & E
5: Any 5 factions (of course A,H,F should join, because of the story)
6: All :-)
 
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Domenic
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I got Dune for Christmas, and I see that the consensus out there is that the game should really be played with 6, and the focus is on the shifting alliances and politicking to keep leaders in check. However, I got my desire for that kind of game out of my system years ago, after playing a *lot* of Illuminati: Deluxe Edition. That means I'm looking for something completely different than most: a thematic Dune game that can be played fairly straight-up, and not just as a board for Diplomacy.

Anyway, to answer the OP's question, I've played a handful of 2-player games so far, and it's clear that the factions you choose are very important. We played Guild vs. Bene Gesserit, Emperor vs. Fremen, and Harkonnen vs. Atreides (2x).

The Fremen won easily against the Emperor, because while the Emperor gets any spice the Fremen pay for cards, the Fremen only need spice to buy cards while the Emperor needs spice to resurrect troops and move onto the planet. Essentially, the Emperor's income is proportional to the number of other players in the game. As an off-the-cuff guess, I'd say it's balanced for 4 players, weak for 2-3, and strong for 5-6.

By contrast, the Fremen's revival and movement powers don't scale, and it's end-of-game victory condition gets more difficult with more players. Again, assuming balance at the midline of 4, Fremen are stronger with 2-3, and weaker at 5-6.

Like the Emperor, the Guild's ability to get paid when others ship is stronger with more players. His ability to ship himself for half-price doesn't scale.

The Bene Gesserit's ability to get on-planet for free when others ship is more powerful with more players. We played without the co-existence optional rule, which probably makes sense if you're playing with few players.

The Harkonnen's ability to have multiple traitors is more powerful with fewer opponents. In a 2-player game they almost certainly get 2 traitors, and possibly three. The ability to get double cards and hold up to 8 doesn't scale.

The Atreides abilities don't scale, but the ability to profit from selling information is reduced with fewer opponents.

With more players, weak or overpowered factions are balanced by politics. With fewer players, this is less of an option, and it becomes more important to select the factions wisely.

So: At 2, I'd avoid the Fremen and Harkonnen for being too strong and the Bene Gesserit and Emperor for being too weak. That leaves Guild vs. Atreides. Atreides has the advantage in combat because of prescience, but the Guild has the advantage in troop numbers and/or cards (due to collecting money from Atreides when he ships, which is re-used in the auction). Haven't tried it yet.

At 3, I think I'd throw in the Bene Gesserit. Their ability to get on-planet for free interacts with the Guild's desire to charge, and their voice ability interacts with the Atreides prescience.

At 4+, there should be enough players that keep-the-leader-in-check politics will override any rules-based imbalances.

Just MHO, YMMV.

Editing this in place rather than adding a bunch of new posts:

We tried Atreides vs. Guild, and the Atreides prescience power absolutely dominated. On further reflection, we noted that the Guild, Bene Gesserit, and Fremen all have special victory conditions while the great houses do not. Presumably, this is a balancing factor, and the Houses are slightly stronger militarily (though note the Fremen comments above). At this point, the Harkonnen / Atreides match-up is the only one we've tried where the game has gone either way. Note, too, that a 2-player game can be very fast, since it only takes winning the first two battles to win the game.
 
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Gabriel Alonso
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The Rex recommended set up is

3- Sol (Fremen), Jol Nar (Atreides), and Lazax (Emperor)
4 - add Letnev (Harkonnen)
5- add Hacan (Guild)
6 - add Xxcha (Bene Gesserit)
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