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Subject: The Puppetmasters rss

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David B
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I played a 4 player game of Dune a couple days ago and it was a lot of fun. We were playing with all of the optional and advanced rules, but without alliances. We also played with a few variant rules, mostly the variant just gave each leader a small special (e.g. +1 when defending or maybe +/-1 in combat with a particular faction). There were a few other similarly small variations.

I chose the Bene Gesserit and my opponents were the Emperor, Atreides, and the Spacing Guild. I started with my one token in Carthag and a War of Assassins treachery card.

On the first turn the Emperor went first and he brought some troops down into Habanya Ridge (I think) and I piggybacked a spiritual advisor. I think he then moved to pick up some spice. I was next and shipped a few of my troops into Carthag and then moved to the other spice blow. Unfortunately for me Atreides moved to the same spot to steal the spice away. The guild, who had elected to go last, decided to jump in as well and at this point I decided coexistence was the better part of valor and left Atreides to fight it out with the Guild. The guild won the battle and picked up most of the spice but Atreides played a treachery card on the guild that made him discard half his spice so he didn't profit as much as he had hoped.

On the next turn the storm moved 6 spaces and swallowed up both my forces and the spacing guild's. Since I didn't have a lot of spice (luckily I was collecting 4 a turn 2 from Carthag and 2 Choam Charity) I spent the next couple of turn shipping in spiritual advisors and trying to buy a few treachery cards on the cheap. Since the emperor was in the game none of us wanted to bid too high on the cards, and he didn't bid up very far either. I was able to get a combat weapon a poison defense and an empty plot card. I didn't mind getting the empty plot because I could use it for a Karama card when I needed it. There wasn't a whole lot going on with the rest of the board. The other players were jockeying for position and chasing after spice. I think there was a battle between the emperor and atreides but nothing major. I think there was also a worm that appeared and ate some spice harvesters. On the third turn (I think) I was able to jump on a spice blow that was near Sietch Tabr and pick up 8 spice.

At the end of this turn the Emperor was controlling Sietch Tabr and Habanya Ridge Sietch, I had Carthag, Atreides had Arrakeen, and the Guild controlled Tuek's Sietch. Since I now had a good amount of spice in hand I decided it was time to go on the offensive. The fourth turn had me moving first and as I had 2 coexisting "spiritual advisors" in Habanya Ridge Sietch I decided to take on the Emperor there. I shipped in 4 more units and I think I also moved my units that had gotten the spice last turn to Carthag. I think the Emperor may have added a few troops to the battle during his move, but the Atreides shipped into Carthag. I could have fought a battle but decided to defer and ship a spiritual advisor instead so I coexisted. That was wise since he also moved more troops into the city and so I lost my ornithopters as well as the 2 spice per turn.

Unfortunately the battle between the Emperor and me did not go well. I played War of the Assassins before the battle to kill one of his leaders, but it was a minor one and when I used my voice to keep him from playing a shield he just used a generic leader. I should have prevented him from playing a combat weapon instead because I didn't have a shield and so both leaders got killed. That made the difference in the battle and he won. This severely weakened me as I lost 6 troops and both my weapon and defense. But I also killed 6 or so of the Emperors units including 2 Sardukaur.

I don't remember much about turn 5 I didn't do much except send a few units to the polar sink I think. If the others did much it was only to go after spice. Or it might have actually been the 5th turn when I attacked the Emperor. In any case the 6th turn was the last turn of the game. I had several coexisting BGs in Carthag, and a couple in the polar sink. The Emperor and Atreides each controlled 2 strongholds and the guild still held on to Tuek's Sietch. Atreides moved a large stack of units into Sietch Tabr to challenge the emperor, the guild had chosen not to go last this turn so they couldn't counter, and in fact had moved units into Habanya Ridge Sietch in order to attck the emperor as well. I didn't have the movement to get anywhere useful as I didn't have ornithopters. I moved my units from the polar sink into the imperial basin where some guild units were but I continued to coexist. I was trying to position for the next turn and an attack on Carthag or Arrakeen.

So it was left to the Emperor to counter Atreides. He played a Ghola card to revive 5 units for free and then instead of reinforcing his strongholds under attack tried to go for the win himself by shipping into Tuek's Sietch! But the guild was having none of that. With the play of a Karama card the guild stopped the shipment and the emperor's plan was thwarted.

Since he had no chance of winning the Emperor provided only token resistance in Habanya Ridge Sietch hoarding his resources for the final battle at Sietch Tabr. Atreides had more units in the battle but the Emperor had 2 of his deadly Sardukaur. But in the end Atreides had the upper hand and the battle and stronghold were lost. So the turn ended with House Atreides controlling 3 strongholds giving him the win.


Or so he thought. whistle

As he began to revel in his victory I pulled out a small piece of paper on which was written "Atreides, Turn 6" and the Bene Gesserit with their mysterious plots and manipulations had achieved their secret goals and control of Dune!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This was a really fun game and I was thrilled to have won using my secret prediction. One of the reasons I had attacked the Emperor before was to weaken him and hope that Atreides would take advantage at the right time. Even though I lost the battle it ended up being good strategy as it helped win the game in the end. I also used my weirding way power to negate the emperors Sardukaur in the last battle but it didn't really matter as Atreides would have won anyway (although only barely). I was surprised there wasn't more combat in the game, but everyone seemed to be playing a bit conservatively. The guild I thought could have been more aggresive, but I think the game would have picked up if it went a few more turns.

I enjoyed playing the BGs as they are a subtle faction. I like their special powers, but it is a bit hard to get spice and enough troops on planet to really engage in a lot of combat. Shipping the spiritual advisors is nice but it leaves you spread out. Still I did well with them. I had played the Fremen before and the play was much different this time. I was involved in a lot more combat and spice collection. It was a longer game but I was able to be more aggressive. So it was a different feel this game, but as I said I liked it.
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Abdul Rahman Ibrahim
Malaysia
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Nice session report I was chuckling to myself when I saw that happy whistling emoticon That was a good play, man.
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Vincent Waciuk
Canada
Ottawa
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Get ready. Justice is coming. Judge Dredd: Mega-City One.
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Good report. I always feel the best way to play the Bene Gesserit is to avoid combat and try to manipulate the game so that their prediction comes to fruition. Hard to do, but great when it works out.
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S S
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As Duncan Idaho said, "Killing with the point lacks artistry." A Bene Gesserit win by prediction is the quintessence of Dune. Well done, indeed.
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