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Subject: Pug's Guide to Dune - Fremen Strategy rss

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Jeffrey Vaca
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Pug’s Guide to Dune – Fremen Strategy

Let me begin by giving you a frame of reference. I play with the Basic Rules plus Optional Rules – no Advanced Rules and no expansions. If you play by a different ruleset, then what I have to say may or may not be helpful – but if you play with different rules then you’ve got bigger problems than the details of my little strategy article!

[No, really.]

With that said, let’s talk turkey…

The Fremen are one of the least feared factions in the game. They don’t get as much respect as most of the other factions and are often taken for granted, but you can turn this into a strength.

Their disadvantages would seem to be formidable. The Fremen have no powerful abilities in combat like the Bene Gesserit or the Atreides, no increased hand size or extra traitors like the Harkonnen, and no increased income like the Emperor or Guild. However the Fremen are not lacking in advantages of their own.

The advantages of theFremen are:
1) Good leaders (the Fremen have some of the best leaders in the game).
2) Rapid movement (Fremen tokens may move 2 spaces).
3) Free shipping (the Fremen pay nothing to place tokens on the map).
4) Free revival (the Fremen may revive all 3 tokens for free each turn).
5) Desert dwellers (Fremen tokens are not devoured by sandworms and take half losses in the storm).
6) Worm riding (Fremen tokens can use sandworms for movement).

For a looked-down-on faction, they sure seem to have a lot going for them – so why are they scoffed at? The answer is that the Fremen player usually cowers instead of taking what is rightfully his.

SETUP
Unlike the other factions (excepting the Bene Gesserit’s single, foolish token), the Fremen don’t have a fixed setup. They have options and have to decide where their 10 tokens start.
Their options are, Sietch Tabyr, False Wall West and False Wall South.

I could pontificate on this at length, but I’ll spare you the pain and just cut to the chase – Put half of your tokens in Sietch Tabyr and the other half on the False Wall South. You’ll also have 3 starred tokens, each of which count double in combat. Spread these out however you like, but I usually put two of them on False Wall South and hold one in reserve.

So why have I chosen this setup? The short answer is that the Fremen should keep their tokens in large-ish groups whenever possible. Small groups of yellow tokens tend to get stomped out of hand (more on this later). So two territories. Fine. But why those two? Well, you should occupy the Sietch on general principle alone. Why leave it open for the taking by some other shmo? And the ‘East’ side of the map is much more difficult for you to reach then the ‘West’ side, so it’s best to put some tokens on the far side of Dune while you can. After all, you can deploy tokens directly onto the False Wall West, so why bother committing them there now? You can also deploy into Sietch Tabyr and then still move, which is why I tend to put the starred tokens on the other, more difficult to reinforce side of the map.

BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Before you even begin to think about what you should be doing, you need to adopt the proper mindset. Let’s consider the other factions for a moment.

The Atreides and Harkonnen have formidable abilities in combat, but are in a constant struggle for spice. The Emperor and Guild have no fancy abilities in combat, but they are brimming over with spice. Finally, the Bene Gesserit are a special case. They are nasty in combat and generally low on spice, but thanks to their coexistence you can’t touch them unless they want to be touched and they generally have….alternative methods of gathering spice.
You don’t really need spice for anything more than treachery cards (and maybe the occasional bribe) which may give you the impression that spice acquisition is a low priority - but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to run out and grab all that you can get your sandy little hands on. Why? Because you need to control the flow of Spice on Dune. If you can keep spice out of the hands of the Atreides and Harkonnen (the two most dangerous to you in combat) then you will be the master of combat on Dune. All the Emperor and Guild can throw at you is lots of tokens, but you’ll win the battle of attrition because it costs them spice to ship and revive while it costs you nothing.

Its important to remember that if you can starve out the Atreides and Harkonnen (and hopefully the BGs) then you will choke out the flow of spice to the Emperor and Guild. After all, where do you think their abundant spice comes from?

HOW TO BEGIN
Buy a card. You have three spice and nothing else to spend it on, so make sure you get one. If one or both of your cards are weapons and/or defenses then you are off to a great start, but even if they aren’t – only the Atreides knows that (and even then, only about one of them) and they have better things to do than throw their scant early resources against the Fremen monster for a little spice. That would be a sure way for them to take themselves out of the game (unless they are very, very careful). Note that even if you are holding worthless cards – DO NOT get rid of them right away. A Fremen player with 2 unknown cards is still far more threatening than a Fremen player with no cards at all. Once you get a full hand of cards you can start thinking about how to get rid of your chaff, but try to keep your hand as full of cards at all times as possible.

Next you’ll want to go for spice. Only a very foolish Atreides or Harkonnen player will go for the spice in a big way on turn one, and the Bene Gesserit are in a position to do nothing early on. So unless the Emperor or Guild feel like pissing away major resources early (very unlikely) then you are the Big Man on Planet. Go for the spice in a big way (6-8 strength). Show them right out of the gate that you have no fear of worms, storm, or the feeble troops of your enemies. After all, what’s a little token loss to you? Nothing.

If the spice blows on the ‘near side’ of Dune, then ship new troops in to grab it. If the spice blows on the ‘far side’ of Dune, then ship new troops somewhere safe like False Wall West or the Polar Sink and use your False Wall South troops to grab it – but try to keep a force on the ‘far side’ for as long as you can because it takes precious time to get them back there once they are gone.

Go for the spice. The ONLY spice territory you can’t get to on turn 1 is Sihaya Ridge – so no excuses.

GO BIG AND BE EVERYWHERE
When you make a move for spice, go big. A large stack of tokens is always intimidating and you can make it so costly to get the spice that the trip won’t be worth it even if they beat you (again, 6-8 strong should usually do the trick).
Your quick and free recovery means that the battles will cost you little but will drain precious resources from your opponents.

After a few turns, if you don’t start to hear the other players whining that the spice is always appearing near you, then you may be doing something wrong.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR CONTEMPT
Many players will disregard the Fremen and spend their time worrying about the factions with fancy powers while you go about your business.

If you are very lucky they will ignore you while they eat each other alive. That would be an opportunity to use your surprising mobility to go for the win, but you can’t count on this. Instead, try to keep your tokens spread out, but not too badly divided.

SECRETS OF THE DESERT
Using the Storm – The other players may be willing to throw a few tokens in front of the storm, but will almost always be unwilling to fight right in front of it. Your willingness to do so makes you dangerous, and provides opportunities to collect spice that the other players will avoid taking advantage of.
Worm Riding – This can really tip the balance in your favor. Remember that you can ride right into a stronghold or a stone territory. You can use this to consolidate your tokens or to strike – but don’t be hasty. Getting over-excited and rolling into a stronghold where you’ll get punished is foolishness.
Be sure to check the ornithopter rule. The rules as written and clarified by the designers allow you to ride into Carthag or Arrakeen and use ornithopters on the same turn – but not every group plays this as intended. Make sure you know in advance how your group plays this rule. Dropping a token or two into one of these cities and gaining ornithopter use can allow you to make radical and unexpected moves.
Karama – Want a worm without triggering a Nexus? You can use a Karama card to do just that. When you call a worm is doesn't only have to appear in the last territory the spice blew in - you may send the worm to any territory that you wish (including the territory where the spice blew this turn, if you wait until the end). This can be used to devour enemy tokens, remove spice from the map, or simply to move your tokens to a more useful location. And remember that the worm can be sent to any territory – even stone territories or strongholds (although it only devours tokens in the desert).
Spice indifference - Once the Fremen get some good cards in their hand, they are fairly indifferent to the quantity of spice they hold. A Fremen player who has been successful in having acquired spice as directed in this article will find themselves swimming in spice that they have little obvious use for - and this provides a unique opportunity. Fremen spice can be spread around the table by way of bribes and deals with reckless abandon, allowing you to guide the direction of the game to your purposes. Since the Fremen don't need the spice for revival or shipping, spice expenditures won't limit your other actions.
Okay, so I was hasty with that reckless abandon thing. Obviously you don't want to give spice back willy-nilly to the very factions to whom you were trying to deny it - but if you bend your mind to the matter, you will find new and creative ways to forge deals to your benefit.

HOW TO WIN
Dune is a game of opportunism, and nothing is a sure thing, so there’s really no way to make grand strategies. Everything depends on the moves (and especially the mis-moves) of your opponents. Learning to stalk your prey carefully and striking when the time is right is the most important (and difficult) thing that you will learn in this game.

Your job is to be in the right place at the right time – all the time.

Controlling spice flow will make you a major factor, and if you spread your tokens out properly you will often be within striking distance of strongholds. While out gathering spice, or hanging out on stone territories riding out the storm, make a point of being where you need to be to go for the win. If you keep this in mind, then you will always be ready to seize opportunities as they present themselves. If the table is ‘sleeping’, or simply recovering from a particularly nasty ‘bout of mayhem, you can often step in and go for the win before they know what’s happening.
Cultivate fear through intimidation and successful attacks and your opponents will often think twice before standing between you and your well laid plans.


IN SUMMARY

• Buy a card.
• Go for spice – or simply deny it to others.
• Move and attack in force.
• Use the storm and worms to your advantage.



Note: This strategy article is intended primarily for new-ish players. The game is far too fluid to allow any definitive statements on strategy, and it may vary a lot depending on the group you play with. Experience is the best guide (as the old timers will tell you), but I just wanted to point the newbs in the right direction.
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Jeffrey Vaca
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Re: Pug's Guild to Dune - Fremen Strategy
I had a more to write (and I have this nagging feeling that I've left some glaring thing out), but this one was running long and I'm frankly getting tired of working on it. Maybe I'll go back and work on it more later, but for now I hear the Emperor's article calling.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous article. As before, feedback is welcome.

Thanks.

Jeff
 
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Nathan Sharpe
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Thanks for writing these, they are awesome. The format is especially useful in that I think it will help new players like me hit the ground running if I draw one of these factions to play. I play my first game tomorrow hopefully. I've always felt that more strategy articles should be written about this classic.

If you ever feel like expanding this article I'm sure others would appreciate it as much as I will.
 
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Rod Batten
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I'm planning to put together a board from original scans and I really appreciate this insight into how the various factions work. Thanks for writing these guides, they'll make it easier to get started.
 
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Ruwen Bussinger
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I also want to thank you for the great strategy articles. Although i dont own a copy of the game yet, you managed to further increase my eagerness to sit down and start building the game out of the many files here on BGG.

Your articles provide a great insight on the various ways the different factions can be played, especially for a newbie like me.

Keep it going. I can't wait for the emperor's article to be released...
 
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Evgeny Reznikov
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One Fat Pug wrote:

Karama – Calling a worm can be done at any time. The rules go to great pains to make it clear that this ability has nothing to do with the Spice deck (and therefore the spice phase), so take advantage of this great ability.


This is not correct.
The original player aid specifically states that the Karama card can be used in that way only in the Spice phase.
The PDF player aid that sees use most often is incorrect and should probably be fixed.
Using the power at any time may lead to strange and contradictory situations (two players in a territory with spice at the collection phase, for example).

Link to scan of the original aid:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/file/info/9799

Regardless of that - great work on the article series.
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Lawrence Spode
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Thanks for another great article Jeff. Could you put these up as printable files (.doc or .pdf) on BGG or http://www.starbasejeff.com when you get a chance?
 
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Jeffrey Vaca
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azuredarkness wrote:
One Fat Pug wrote:

Karama – Calling a worm can be done at any time. The rules go to great pains to make it clear that this ability has nothing to do with the Spice deck (and therefore the spice phase), so take advantage of this great ability.


This is not correct.
The original player aid specifically states that the Karama card can be used in that way only in the Spice phase.

Not entirely true, as I didn't refer to a scan but rather my copy of the original player aid pad when clarifying the rules or writing the article.

Fortunately I own many copies of Dune, so I did a little investigation.

The ORIGINAL player aid pads said nothing about the spice phase. By original, I mean the 1979 edition of the game. It appears, however, that the 1984 re-print (or at least some of them) included this additional information.

So we are, in fact, dealing with an official clarification and I'll correct my rules/article accordingly. Thanks for pointing that out. Now I'll have to go over the newer player aid pad to look for any other changes that they made...

Jeff


[Edit: article corrected.]
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Jeffrey Vaca
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Subhuman wrote:
Thanks for another great article Jeff. Could you put these up as printable files (.doc or .pdf) on BGG or http://www.starbasejeff.com when you get a chance?


I plan on writing up the articles and posting them here first, where I can get the feedback of my fellow players (some of it apparently necessary, like that from Evgeny) and make my corrections/clarifications/additions.

After that I'll give them all another look over - with a fresh eye and a couple more games played (hopefully) - and make any final changes. Then they'll all be PDF-ed and posted to my site.

My intenet is to make one large document with commentary on all aspects of Dune, not just the six factions. For example, I'll be writing an article on fighting battles and another talking about the treachery cards - but I'll still be keeping the subject oriented articles separate for those who are only looking for info on a particular topic.

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Evgeny Reznikov
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Interesting...
I was not aware of differences between the two versions.
I own the 1984 version, and I've always assumed the difference was due to a copying error.
 
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Jeffrey Vaca
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azuredarkness wrote:
Interesting...
I was not aware of differences between the two versions.
I own the 1984 version, and I've always assumed the difference was due to a copying error.

...and I had been doing the same thing. Only looking at my pad and assuming that the controversy was over a house-rule. Funny that I've never seen anyone point out the difference between the pads before.

I'm really glad that you pointed this out to me as I like to play the rules as closely to the original intent as I can get and avoid house rules whenever possible.

 
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Armin Sudhoff
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...and again, another great strategy-guide!

As the others said: goooood work! thumbsup
You even show up new ideas to a "young" old hand... so not only newbs are profiting by your guides

...on the other hand, not every hint is useful to me, because our house-rules modified the game already so much, that some points are different. However, I don't wanna miss one of them (your hints and our house-rules laugh )

Waiting for the emperor
The only faction, I've never played yet (although I've played ~40-50 games), just because one of our players ALWAYS want's to be the emperor :-/ ...and when he wasn't playing, I drew an other faction cry
as having no own strategy for him, I am hot on what you'll be writting arrrh

Greetz, HivedOne!


 
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george glass
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The Fremen are actually one of my favorite factions. [At least it seems that I do better with the Fremen than the other factions.]

They are also good for newbies to play because their good leaders, high revival rate, and free movement allow them to recover from disasters better than any other faction in the game.

They are also fun to role play due to the richness of their history from the books!

Thanks again for a great strategy article! Keep 'em coming!
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Jack Bennett
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Thanks! Keep it up!

One thing that I personally would love to see is just a General Strategy article. The race specific stuff is really well done, and does help with a general strategy, but it'd be cool to see your opinions on the game as a whole, no matter who you were playing as.
 
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Jeffrey Vaca
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pusherman42 wrote:
Thanks! Keep it up!

One thing that I personally would love to see is just a General Strategy article. The race specific stuff is really well done, and does help with a general strategy, but it'd be cool to see your opinions on the game as a whole, no matter who you were playing as.


All in good time...
 
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Adam Rouse
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Catanarama wrote:
Good article, Puggsy. I'm hoping to play the Fremen in our next online game.

I've always felt the Fremen were very powerful ... free "shipping," great revivals, good leaders, good movement rate, etc. Added together, all of their advantages form a pretty powerful package.


What happened to wanting to play BG next game?
Oh, sorry, is that off-topic? Anyway...

Though I have seen the Fremen used really poorly, one of the players in our online group is a Fremen fanatic and chooses them very often, usually to great success (though some of us -- not me -- chalk it up to absurdly good luck, haha). He does basically what you suggest in your article: go for the spice blow as often as possible (which should be always). And this has led to some very, very rich Fremen scum!

Fremen are unfortunately the only faction I have yet to play, so I can't say if it's a good strategy or not, but I would probably put all 10 tokens at startup on the False Wall by Tuek's Sietch. The only way to get to that side of the board quickly is to use up both your shipment and movement on the same tokens, which I don't like to do with any faction -- much more fun to ship one token group somewhere, and move another elsewhere so players have more difficulty escaping you.

...but as you probably know by now, I'm an aggressive maniac in Dune and possibly not the best source of strategy!

I seem to remember this setup being used for all-out attacks on the Guild early on, though I doubt this is usually the best idea.
 
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Jeffrey Vaca
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I don't really see the 10-tokens-in-the-East strategy as a problem. It's a bit eggs-in-one-basket for my tastes, but not a deal breaker.

A few things keep me from going that route, though...

1) The eggs-in-one-basket thing I've already mentioned

2) I want a stronghold but don't want to waste a move throwing tokens into Sietch Tabyr. I'd rather be chasing spice than moving into (and then probably fighting for) the seitch I should be holding at the start of the game. The Fremen simply don't have time to fiddle early on - they need to grab that spice as soon as they can.

3) I think that 7 strength in the East is plenty, and it's mainly for chasing spice anyways. Instead of wasting a turn early on Tabyr (or an attack on Tuek's), I'd rather just grab spice and then waste a turn later on moving a big pile to the East to replace any tokens that I've lost.

...and I don't think that messing with the Guild early on pays. The Fremen would much rather see the other factions stomp each other than take it into their own hands. The Guild is rarely a threat to the Fremen, but is often called on to deal with the factions that are.

The last three times that I've played the Fremen I've stomped everyone's grapes and ended the game with almost as much spice as the Guild or the Emperor (sometimes more than one of them). I think the last time I played them I ended with about thirty, not counting the spice I was sitting on when I won or the spice from leaders in my final battle.

This is rapidly leading me to the opinion that the Fremen need to be stomped early. The only question is - by whom?

...and I'm a very aggressive player (as any of my co-players could attest to) so you're preaching to the choir there!
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Armin Sudhoff
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One Fat Pug wrote:
I don't really see the 10-tokens-in-the-East strategy as a problem. It's a bit eggs-in-one-basket for my tastes, but not a deal breaker.

I also prefer the "ten-in-the-east"-strategy! As Adam mentioned, it's too much moving to reinforce "over there" moving is, as you said, necessary to get spice!!

One Fat Pug wrote:
2) I want a stronghold but don't want to waste a move throwing tokens into Sietch Tabyr. I'd rather be chasing spice than moving into (and then probably fighting for) the seitch I should be holding at the start of the game. The Fremen simply don't have time to fiddle early on - they need to grab that spice as soon as they can.

1.) This stronghold gives you no single piece of spice!
2.) You can simply "ship" into Tabr, no move is needed to "go" there... and you still have 10 tokens in reserve to simply "set" them in there... or to use them to collect spice in "the west"!
One Fat Pug wrote:

3) I think that 7 strength in the East is plenty, and it's mainly for chasing spice anyways. Instead of wasting a turn early on Tabyr (or an attack on Tuek's), I'd rather just grab spice and then waste a turn later on moving a big pile to the East to replace any tokens that I've lost.
Of course seven are enough in the East... but are six enough in Tabr. Let's think of the "worst case": You get no card at the beginning (very common in our group), spice blows in the east (or worse in the Storm or the area it moves next), the Harkonnen's turn (having plenty of cards) is after yours! They move from Carthag to Tabr (no spice can be collected). Wouldn't it have been wiser, to let someone else do this battle?! This way, you have to show your first card or fight without any cards (so also a Atreides attack would be possible, to get information)!
Yeah, I know, six strength points should scare the both factions rather to not attack... but maybe they are "powered" by the guild or the emperor!

One Fat Pug wrote:
...and I don't think that messing with the Guild early on pays. The Fremen would much rather see the other factions stomp each other than take it into their own hands. The Guild is rarely a threat to the Fremen, but is often called on to deal with the factions that are.
Hmmm... we play with the "spice for strongholds" rule... so the Fremen can force with that move, to get constantly at least one spice...
Without the "spice-for-strongholds-rule" I might agree to you...
although you can split, by having 10 there, into "6-strength-stacks" to harvest... or to be sure, this blow IS yours, can harvest with ALL ten tokens (also a common move in our group)!
One Fat Pug wrote:

This is rapidly leading me to the opinion that the Fremen need to be stomped early. The only question is - by whom?
I am not sure... Fremen are a bit "russian-roulette"-like (just like the "Harks"). When playing the "wrong" leaders, they may loose several "traitor-solved-battles" in a row and can be kicked out very quickly. But you are right, when they possess much spice, they can resurrect very fast : in our last game a newb has played the Fremen... and was hurt really hard in the beginning! ...but supported just a little by the guild, he managed, to get nearly all his leaders back... and nearly made a "Fremen-end-victory" if the guild-player (an old hand), hadn't paid attention and shipped in the right moment (just before the Fremen move) some tokens in Tabr (controlled by me (Hark)), letting the big Fremen stack watch the battle from "outside"!

However... they are nearly "unkillable" if they have spice and never have to suffer to be totally excluded, like the Harkonnen or Atreides!

Just the right faction, to give them to the newb

Greetz, HivedOne!

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Glenn McMaster
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We play the Advanced Rules with all optionals, which might cause some differences from strategy in the Basic game. A few quick thoughts on the Fremen.

A clarification on Jeff’s maxim of concentration of force. The Fremen weakness is the vulnerability of their leadership to destruction, their relative lack of alliance appeal, and because of that, their inability to access worthy treachery cards. (If Fremen actually manages to spend 3 spice on a card in the first round, prepare for some stylish “Jubba” threads for the big night on the town – Atreides will never let you have anything useful for 3 spice). The purpose behind concentration is to minimize the risk to your leaders and cards and maximize the board effect of your tokens, which are your source of renewable strength. You are looking to build a mid-game position where you have a few good cards, some respectable troop stacks, and retain your leadership set. Think long and hard before you ever end a turn with multiple weak stacks scattered on the map. That might mean dialing an entire force into the tanks just so that next turn an enemy can’t attack you.

On T1 the first question you ask yourself is where you are sitting in the turn order relative first to the Harkonnen, then to the Atreides, and where they are relative to each other. Then figure out the ornithopter range from Carthag and Arrakeen. If Harkonnen moves first, then you can contemplate entering Carthag’s ‘airspace’. If Harkonnen moves after you, then think long and hard before you go after any spice blow he can reach without paying shipping cost.

IMO, there is no alternative to 10 tokens on False Wall South – do not set up in the stronghold. The reasons (1) Harkonnen wants the stronghold and he wants to pummel you. Why simplify his problem? (2) Occupying the stronghold violates the tactic of concentration by splitting your forces into three groups when you could keep them in two (3) If you start in the stronghold you either are or are not strong enough to contest it. If you are not, then you waste a board move running from the inevitable battle. If you are, then you’ve wasted effort pre-positioning tokens for a task your off-board shipment can deal with.

Generally, end T1 with 10 tokens on a blow outside ornithopter range. Harkonnen can’t ship down to fight you and buy cards at the same time. Atreides probably will though – he wants to lose 7 tokens in battle, he wants to ‘whittle’ your stack for a future pummeling, and he wants to find out what card you drew. It is often worth your while to negotiate with the Atreides and split the blow if that means you can keep 10 tokens and get spice.

As Jeff said, do not reveal the card you drew lightly. There are two possible exceptions to this rule – Family Atomics and Weather Control. If you drew FA, get a token on the Wall quickly and blow it up. Let Atreides know what you are about to do because he might negotiate a reason for you not to, depending on where the storm is. That reason should involve seeing cards coming up for bid. With Weather Control, you might be able to negotiate useful concessions by way of altering the turn order (for example, Atreides might be quite keen to avoid moving before the Harkonnen, and your little WC might be the difference).

Your early alliance strategy is brutally simple – buy the BG to get the Voice. Forget the rest – Guild is useless to you and the others won’t talk. Make sure that if you are paying a premium price to get a minimum number of turns to an alliance, to safeguard you if a worm appears.
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Armin Sudhoff
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GLENN239 wrote:
We play the Advanced Rules with all optionals, which might cause some differences from strategy in the Basic game.

There in fact IS a big difference!

GLENN239 wrote:
If Fremen actually manages to spend 3 spice on a card in the first round, prepare for some stylish “Jubba” threads for the big night on the town – Atreides will never let you have anything useful for 3 spice.

That's one of the "problems" about advanced rules: cards (especially weaponns and defenses) become inevitable, just because of the (relativly) high leaderstrengths! This powers up the emperor even more (although he's already mighty in basic+optional!)... and with his spice he can then do much more, then in the "b+o" rules: power up tokens... and worse: power up Sardaukar!

GLENN239 wrote:
IMO, there is no alternative to 10 tokens on False Wall South – do not set up in the stronghold.

that's also a difference to the "b+o"-rules: 5 tokens (including 2 Fedaykin) are simply more in "b+o" and can win a battle vs. EACH leader alone (when the opponent dials no tokens)! In advanced rules they are crushed by a "simple" level 4 hero alone (even when defending!).

GLENN239 wrote:
Generally, end T1 with 10 tokens on a blow outside ornithopter range. Harkonnen can’t ship down to fight you and buy cards at the same time. Atreides probably will though – he wants to lose 7 tokens in battle, he wants to ‘whittle’ your stack for a future pummeling, and he wants to find out what card you drew. It is often worth your while to negotiate with the Atreides and split the blow if that means you can keep 10 tokens and get spice.

Why then show him the first card?! battle with Mapes or Otheym (hoping the AT got no weapon: You won't loose too much) and maybe win the battle (depending on the number of tokens he dialed). Of course a harvesting deal can be forged (that's recommended!), to keep the Atreides away!

GLENN239 wrote:
As Jeff said, do not reveal the card you drew lightly. There are two possible exceptions to this rule – Family Atomics and Weather Control...

Why telling the Atreides your first card?! They'd have to pay very much to me, before I did that... and they have not the spice to pay you. Of course you can also deal with other things than spice... but as long as you have no spice by yourself a "peek" at the cards won't be that useful to you... especially because the others then also know, that you wanna have this card and bid higher (or the emp gracefully gives it away to someone else!) Weathercontrol isn't that powerful at the beginning IMO, it is very useful in alliances especially if the allied sit side by side (was very useful in our last game, when my ally let the storm move only one sector, so we were both again the last moving players arrrh )
I'd rather use the WC as a threat: e.g. I send it over your 6 harvesting tokens or you give me 5 spice!

GLENN239 wrote:
Your early alliance strategy is brutally simple – buy the BG to get the Voice. Forget the rest – Guild is useless to you and the others won’t talk. Make sure that if you are paying a premium price to get a minimum number of turns to an alliance, to safeguard you if a worm appears.

...good idea... but the voice alone won't help you much:
1.) You have to have at least a defense, better also a weapon.
2.) Harkonnen (and allied) traitors wait to kick your asses... having the best leaders, you are always primary target to "treachery"
3.) Loosing one battle (via traitors, Lase-shield, Karama vs. voice or maybe most common: landed token-masses) means also loosing the cards you used! And don't think you can buy any (useful) cards AFTER allying with the witches!

...sadly so many different rulesets are available, so the most people make very different game-experience... It's already highly varying with the same rules in different groups... on the other hand, this makes dune interesting and worth to discuss

Greetz, HivedOne!
 
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Glenn McMaster
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Quote:
that's also a difference to the "b+o"-rules: 5 tokens (including 2 Fedaykin) are simply more in "b+o" and can win a battle vs. EACH leader alone (when the opponent dials no tokens)! In advanced rules they are crushed by a "simple" level 4 hero alone (even when defending!).


The advanced rules are probably harder on the Fremen than any other faction, and they impact Fremen spice strategy most of all. For example, in the Basic game there is scant reason not to bid “3” for a card in the first round and in the Advanced game it is advisable to keep that 3 spice in reserve for desert battle on T1.

If Fremen puts 5 tokens in the stronghold in the basic game and the Harkonnen attacks him, then he must either run away (waste his board move) or reinforce (waste his off-board move). In either case, he cannot attack a spice blow to the north, despite the fact that he has his best case scenario (Harkonnen moving ahead of him). Therefore the act of placing tokens in a stronghold costs the Fremen the ability to fully exploit the spice situation. If Fremen has 5 tokens in the stronghold and Harkonnen moves after him, he has the additional option to do nothing and hope that the Harkonnen will not notice. This risk may cost him both the stronghold and two leaders.

Quote:
This powers up the emperor even more (although he's already mighty in basic+optional!)... and with his spice he can then do much more, then in the "b+o" rules: power up tokens... and worse: power up Sardaukar!


Emperor is a middle-of-the-road faction in the Advanced game, stronger than Fremen or Guild but weaker than the Harkonnen or BG.

Quote:
Why then show him the first card?! battle with Mapes or Otheym (hoping the AT got no weapon: You won't loose too much) and maybe win the battle (depending on the number of tokens he dialed).


If Atreides attacks you on the first turn, because you were careful not to be within ornithopter range of Arrakeen, because you retained your 3 spice rather than trying to buy a card and because you didn’t divert tokens to a stronghold, it’s 10 Fremen tokens (dial 6.5 to 7) to about 3 or 4 Atreides tokens (dial of about 1.5 or 2). You should be able to negotiate a deal, or if pressed, fight the battle without revealing your card.

Quote:
Why telling the Atreides your first card?! They'd have to pay very much to me, before I did that...


Family Atomics is the exception to the rule. The reason you are not shy of revealing that one is because it is within the Fremen’s interests to play it immediately – the sooner the better. But if you just do it without giving the Atreides (and Harkonnen) time to convince you not to by way of showing the threat, then you lose a powerful source of leverage.

Quote:
..good idea... but the voice alone won't help you much:
1.) You have to have at least a defense, better also a weapon
.

According to WBC stats up to 2007, the Fremen are twice as likely to win with the BG than any other faction (40% of all Fremen victories are BG related). This is because of the Voice, which is probably the most powerful single element in the entire game.

Leaving aside the lasegun or Karamas, if the opponent is missing either a poison or projectile weapon, then the Voice gives a 50% chance of saving the Fremen leader. This rises to 100% if the opponent’s only weapon is known.
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Jeffrey Vaca
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GLENN239 wrote:

According to WBC stats up to 2007, the Fremen are twice as likely to win with the BG than any other faction (40% of all Fremen victories are BG related). This is because of the Voice, which is probably the most powerful single element in the entire game.

Out of curiosity, are these posted somewhere? Where do you get this info from?
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Glenn McMaster
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Brad Johnston keeps an Excel file with the WBC stats. Mine is 2007, but the 2008 one should be available as the WBC just ended last week.
 
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Jeffrey Vaca
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I'd be happy to nicely format the data and post it on my website for everyone's use if you guys want to make the info public.
 
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Glenn McMaster
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I'll bring this request to Brad's attention (if he's not seen it already).
 
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