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Subject: Why is this game the Holy Grail? rss

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Josh Gaudreau
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It looks like a fun game, but, having never played it, don't understand the awe-ness surrounding it that I perceive here on the Geek.

And, if it's so great, why is no one publishing it?? I'd love to play it without paying $80 for a used, beat-up copy or trying to DIM.

Can anyone elucidate?
 
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Fritz Mulnar
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as i see it:

firstly it is based on the dune universe, which is fairly complex, geeky. and was a major film by lynch. (though opinions about the film are fairly spread in the like/not-like spektrum).

the game implements the theme fairly to very well (again, fairly spread opinions there). it is, according which variant/expansions you play, very asymetrical. that's interesting.

the reprint is, as i get it from various threads, blocked because of the frank herbert estate not giving out the licence. ffg has aquired rights for the game mechanics somehow, but not the dune theme, so i do not know what will come out of it. seeing how they treated horus heresy a complete overhaul is possible. and they also did cosmic encounter (same design team originally)

also not to forget: you can build it yourself, and be a little bit of an artisan/artist with it.

for me, the lynch film was the first artsy film i have seen, aged 12, twice then, read the book then, did not like it that much. on the geek i came across the game, rekindled my interest, reread the (first) book, loved the complexity of the universe,
and very much liked building the game (with a BIG wood board and 16mm cubes for army, glass beads for spice, redesigned cards (soon to be self designed ). its more of a boys dream, relived at last.
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Gregory Smith
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Quote:
Why is this game the Holy Grail?

Because it is just that good. That's all you need to know

Ok, I'll say more. It is very thematic and fun to play. Each faction plays very differently and evokes the feel of the books. It is one of the best multiplayer games around. With a good group it is a blast. It has the advantage that there is no player elimination, even a player doing poorly has a chance to win as part of an alliance, and there is usually time to recover if you are wrecked at some point. Therefore players stay engaged the whole time.

The only downsides are (1) it plays best with 5-6 players (2) the current price if you don't already own a copy, and (3) the highly variable play time (games can last form an hour and a half all the way up to 6 hours or so depending on what happens).
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Rob Rob
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The variable play time makes it a tough sell to "modern gamers" (read: Euro gamers) raised on 30-60 minute play times. Not saying short games are better (or that long games are better) just observing the general trend to shorter duration games (which may parallel the increase in video games, etc...). It's tough to get a group of six hard core gamers to sit down for what may be either a 60 minute or a 360 minute game. Similar to Diplomacy, Civilization, etc... (notice an AH theme here?).
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Eugene
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Yes, its variable playtime is Dune's only real drawback. If it were consistently 3-4 hours, our group would get it to the table with regularity. As it stands, we must make it a scheduled special event.
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Jim Cote
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Most games that have any form of asymmetry only do so in degrees. You might have more of something that another player, a higher strength value, a different roll to hit, a different number of points needed to win, a different combination of the same kinds of actions with which to take your turn, etc. Each player in Dune has powers unique to that player. No other player can do those things at all, unless granted by an alliance. For example, the fact that the Emperor gets ALL spice spent in the auction (except his own), and that this actually works, is amazing.
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Eddie B
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I am curious about something. I have never played Dune, but read the book (only the first one) and really liked it. However, I have played FFG's Cosmic Encounter with 3, 4 and 5 players a few times and I do not like Cosmic Encounter. Is it still worth getting a copy of Dune?
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Eugene
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I used to like CE quite a bit. After playing Dune, its lost quite a bit of its luster. Think of Dune as a less-random, less-"take that", gamer's CE.
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Joshx wrote:
And, if it's so great, why is no one publishing it??
The Herbert estate won't licence the Dune name for this particular game.
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Jared Petrick
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garygarison wrote:
I used to like CE quite a bit. After playing Dune, its lost quite a bit of its luster. Think of Dune as a less-random, less-"take that", gamer's CE.
Can others with experience in both CE and Dune verify this description?

I don't ask because I have any doubts specific to Gary, but because I'm so hopeful that it is an accurate description. I'm a huge Herbert fan (Frank, that is) and ever since I've gotten into gaming this has been one of those games that I've dreamt of owning. However, once in a while I'll read something or just get a feeling that Dune is just not going to work with my game group. Gary's comments gives me hope that it will.
 
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Chester
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Comparisons with Cosmic Encounter are pretty thin. I wouldn't worry about that. Cosmic Encounter suffers from being fairly chaotic. You can have one awesome game, and the next is a bit of a dud because the luck was out of control.

In Dune, this just doesn't happen. Its a lot more about the asymmetry and the negotiation....all packaged in a genius of theme. You want 6 players, and you want a flexible amount of time, but the game has stood the test of time and in fact hasn't really been threatened for the niche it fills.
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Agreed. The luck factor isn't an issue -- the game is all about negotiation and clever use of your abilities.

In that sense, the success of a game depends entirely on the players. You can sit there like a bump, not negotiate, stab, backstab, or do anything interesting, and lose because of it -- and then complain that the game stinks. Or you can get into the negotiation, the maneuvering, and the treachery, and enjoy the hell out of it whether you win or lose.
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Joshua Lobkowicz
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burrie wrote:
I am curious about something. I have never played Dune, but read the book (only the first one) and really liked it. However, I have played FFG's Cosmic Encounter with 3, 4 and 5 players a few times and I do not like Cosmic Encounter. Is it still worth getting a copy of Dune?

For whatever it's worth, I think Cosmic is ok...I think dune is great.
I also love A Game of Thrones.
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Nate Merchant
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TheMadVulcan wrote:
garygarison wrote:
I used to like CE quite a bit. After playing Dune, its lost quite a bit of its luster. Think of Dune as a less-random, less-"take that", gamer's CE.
Can others with experience in both CE and Dune verify this description?

Yes, that's it exactly. I adore Dune and feel that CE is more of a social, "kid's" game. I don't have the time for it, cool as it is suppposed to be.

TheMadVulcan wrote:
I don't ask because I have any doubts specific to Gary, but because I'm so hopeful that it is an accurate description. I'm a huge Herbert fan (Frank, that is) and ever since I've gotten into gaming this has been one of those games that I've dreamt of owning. However, once in a while I'll read something or just get a feeling that Dune is just not going to work with my game group. Gary's comments gives me hope that it will.

All truly great games won't be for everybody, especially all great games that require six players and as many hours. I've had strategy gamers play Dune and complain about Harkonnen in the early turns (Harkonnen! In the early turns....when he is strongest!) One player may eke out an early win and it will be deflating for the group. Who knows? But this is the best marriage of theme with game that I know.

And I LOATHE Game of Thrones. devil

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Evgeny Reznikov
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burrie wrote:
I am curious about something. I have never played Dune, but read the book (only the first one) and really liked it. However, I have played FFG's Cosmic Encounter with 3, 4 and 5 players a few times and I do not like Cosmic Encounter. Is it still worth getting a copy of Dune?

I dislike Cosmic Encounter. Dune, however, is one of my favorite games.
Less randomness, amazing theme, simple mechanics.
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Glenn McMaster
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And, if it's so great, why is no one publishing it??

There’s been a global cover-up instituted by the international syndicate. Same guys that have suppressed solar car technology and the truth about Dr. Phil. A few hours of Dune makes chicks allergic to their panties, and if that technology escaped into the wild the consequences for mankind would be incalculable.

There is also this crazy theory that Dune is a fantastic game because it meshes uniquely sculpted multi-player negotiation/conflict mechanics into a powerfully emotive science fiction theme that invites players to exude goodwill even as they merrily crush one another. The two most important devices being that no backstab in Dune is ever truly fatal (unlike in Diplomacy, for example) and that everyone is bound to honour their word as given at the table.

Dune is currently unpublished because the company that wanted to do so could not get rights to the name.

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Agreed. The luck factor isn't an issue.

Luck plays a part in the treachery card and faction selection, and in combat. The fact that there are no dice doesn’t mean there is no luck! Try being perfectly set up to execute the win, only to discover during battle that the Harkonnen pulled off the 1-10 chance of getting a Karama for his second free draw.

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For whatever it's worth, I think Cosmic is ok...I think dune is great.

Cosmic Encounters I picked up after owning Dune for some time. Wow, did it suck. So I took Cosmic Encounters out to the forest for a ‘picnic’, and then just drove off after he got out of the car...

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I've had strategy gamers play Dune and complain about Harkonnen

Gamers whine about everything.
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Dan Freedman
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Why is this game the Holy Grail?

Imagine a table displaying many different games. Also imagine some old geezer in medieval garb telling you to "Choose, but choose wisely." Way in the back of the table, behind shiny new copies of Agricola and PowerGrid, is this battered, ancient looking game from years gone by. Your impulsive friend takes a hold of Agricola, breaks the shrink, admires the components, and begins to play. Shortly after he has acquired his first sheep, he turns into a cloud of dust. The medieval guy looks at you sadly and says, "He chose poooorly".

You take the used, battered, ancient game from the back of the table. This game is called Dune and it has a strange looking worm on the cover. You begin to play. Holy Knights of the Round Table Batman! You feel great. Incredibly, your dad's wounded stomach heals up. Questions enter your mind such as: How did my dad get here? Why was he wounded in the stomach? Why do I feel like I'm not aging anymore????

Finally, the medieval guy looks at you, points at the game, and slowly utters, "You've chosen....wisely".

Hope this clears up your question.
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Joshx wrote:
It looks like a fun game, but, having never played it, don't understand the awe-ness surrounding it that I perceive here on the Geek.

And, if it's so great, why is no one publishing it?? I'd love to play it without paying $80 for a used, beat-up copy or trying to DIM.

Can anyone elucidate?

Dune is just the best at what it does. It is a great multi-player conflict game that captures well the felling of being in the Dune universe.

Comparisons to CE are not valid. The 2 games are nothing at all alike. (and I like both)

As a game,if you do not like are are not familiar with the story of Dune I would say skip this one. Chances are that if you are a fan of the story you will enjoy yourself much more.

You also have to find 5 other players who will enjoy the same thing.

If you are looking for a copy I would recommend looking for the French version, they are better produced and usually cheaper. Dune is not really a rare game. It went through 3 printings at Avalon Hill and there is also the Descartes version.

Patient hunting on ebay will get you a copy easy.

-M
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Simon Harris
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malloc wrote:
Joshx wrote:
It looks like a fun game, but, having never played it, don't understand the awe-ness surrounding it that I perceive here on the Geek.

And, if it's so great, why is no one publishing it?? I'd love to play it without paying $80 for a used, beat-up copy or trying to DIM.

Can anyone elucidate?
Patient hunting on ebay will get you a copy easy.

-M
Well-funded hunting on ebay will get you a copy fairly easy.
Oh, and yes I DO have an original AH copy
1 - that I bought myself
2 - from a shop
3 - at list price
4 - more years ago than I care to remember.
cool
Simon
 
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Eugene
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malloc wrote:
Comparisons to CE are not valid. The 2 games are nothing at all alike. (and I like both)
Didn't the Eon boys themselves say Dune is CE transported to the Dune universe?

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As a game,if you do not like are are not familiar with the story of Dune I would say skip this one. Chances are that if you are a fan of the story you will enjoy yourself much more.

Disagree. I'm not a sci-fi fan and only tried reading Dune after playing and enjoying the game. I got to only about page 70 before I had to put it away. The writing was just far too silly for me to suspend my disbelief.

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You also have to find 5 other players who will enjoy the same thing.
Yes, Dune with 6 or no Dune at all.
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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I'll reiterate what's above: Dune somehow manages to make six factions with VASTLY different powers come together in an awesome balance.

I don't think it's necessary to have six players. Five is perfectly acceptable. Four or less is fine as well--I've played many a game like that--but at that point you DO have to be careful which factions get played. The Guild, for example, thrives off of shipment. The Fremen don't ship and the Bene Gesserit get some free shipment, so a three- or four-player game with those two will be a looong game for the poor Guild. Thankfully, only a few plays will get you to the point to be able to identify what works.

Eventually play with the advanced and optional rules. They are very balanced as well and worth it.

Dune also has some of the hallmarks of a Euro game: There is no player elimination, for one. And this is one of the true-blue games where you can literally bounce back from nothing, even when you are completely wiped off the board. (Not always likely, of course, but certainly more possible than one would think.) Also, all the luck in the game is quite mitigated; in fact, the only "true" luck in the game are the treachery cards and the spice blow (and a few minor things, like traitor selection). And the luck when drawing the treachery cards are mitigated because one player (Atreides) knows what the card is, and the cards are auctioned off. Combat itself is luck free.

I would say skip the expansions. I know they have their fans, but in my experience they tend to slow things down without adding a whole lot. The Spice Harvest itself isn't terrible, but the Duel and all the new cards and leaders and rules just aren't worth it and make the game worse.

I'll split the difference in opinion above: Cosmic Encounter isn't like Dune at all, but they are certainly spiritual cousins. It is true that basically CE was a port over to Dune, but game play branches off several generations so as to make the games fundamentally different.

The theme helps, but isn't necessary to appreciate the game. You might scratch your head at some of the weird rules, but it's not the rules themselves that are an issue.

I don't really have many complaints about Dune. Yes, there is a variable playing time, and, yes, it is literally half an hour to four hours. But to me, a game that lasts a half hour is also opportunity to play again... (I also am not a huge fan of the Bene Gesserit rules; I think they could have been made simpler and still kept the spirit of the theme. But it's not a huge deal.) And folks used to Euro games may be bewildered by parts of this game, since it still has a little Avalon Hill dust on it. Beyond that, as long as everyone knows what they are getting into and have some patience, Dune is rarely a poor choice.
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Having played Dune, I am astounded by its mechanics. It captures the concept of intrigue excellently, and the rules are elegantly effective and simple. I marvel at how old the game is, yet it pulls off economy/politics/strategy WAY better than any modern game I've played. Not such a small feat, especially for something you'd expect would be relying on its popular theme to sell.

Combine that with the whole out of print nature of it. You either a) buy and old copy which satisfies the collectors' side, or b) make it, which satisfies the artisan/craftsman side and makes the game very personal to you. I did the latter... and the only way I can equate this is . . . well, it's like making your own lightsabre.
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I'm just about to finish reading the Dune. I'm ashamed to say that it's taken me almost a year to finish the trilogy (first 3 in a long running series). While the first book "DUNE" is straightforward enough and almost enjoyable at times, the subsequent titles try to trace too intricate a story arc, mixing religion with politics and economics until my head hurt. Really only recommended for the die-hard fans (the film is my fav cheesy 80s sci fi though!)
 
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Stephen Harkleroad
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SilverSam wrote:
I'm just about to finish reading the Dune. I'm ashamed to say that it's taken me almost a year to finish the trilogy (first 3 in a long running series). While the first book "DUNE" is straightforward enough and almost enjoyable at times, the subsequent titles try to trace too intricate a story arc, mixing religion with politics and economics until my head hurt. Really only recommended for the die-hard fans (the film is my fav cheesy 80s sci fi though!)

The first and last Dune books are awesome. The five or so books in between you have to read to get to that point...eh. They kinda suck.
 
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Richard Young
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Games that emerge as legendary classics do so for various reasons. Some because they were popular at the time but have long disappeared from print and value villages (Survive!), some because they were innovative and launched a gaming genre (Civilization), some because they were simply the best at what they did (Magic Realm) and some because they present unique reprint challenges (Dune).

Truth be told, Dune is not for everyone. You do not have to be an avid fan of the Dune universe to enjoy the game but it certainly helps because the theme and the unique game mechanics are so elegantly wound together. But, the alliance quirks coupled with the complex victory conditions can make for games that suddenly end with several winners or drag out with no-one able to make headway resulting in a default victory for one faction or another. It is a game very sensitive to group dynamics and, depending on your taste in multi-player strategy games, can often be an unsatisfying experience.

Nevertheless, calls for a reprint persist but, like the Grail, it remains just out of reach...
 
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