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February 23, 2011 5:20 PM   Subscribe

In 1979, gaming company Avalon Hill (since bought by Hasbro) released a board game based on the popular science fiction novel Dune. Regarded by many as a masterpiece of the form, it is an asymmetrical wargame designed by Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge and Peter Olotka, the people who created Cosmic Encounter. Six different factions vie for control of the desert planet Arrakis. As WickerNipple notes in his Everything node on the game, “Instead of giving subtle differences to the various factions like most games, Dune gives huge differences and advantages, that don't over-balance things only because every faction receives them.” The thing is, each player has special rules that give them very different options and abilities compared to the other sides, and yet the game remains balanced (especially when played by a full six players). The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license. Fantasy Flight Games is rumored to be working on a release of the game without the Dune license. Importantly, all the necessary files are available on the game's BoardGameGeek page to construct a copy of the game. (Homebrew game board - Rules, cards, counters and extras - Windows freeware game client and server)

What makes Dune special? Here is the basic play of the game. It gets messed up a lot by all the special abilities, but it serves as a framework on which to base your understanding of it:

The game lasts up to 15 turns. On each turn, a storm moves a semi-random number of spaces, eliminating all game pieces it travels through if they're in the desert. (There are many safe spaces to hide in.) Also, either spice or a worm emerges on a location of the planet; if it's a worm, it appears at the location where spice last appeared, devouring anything that happens to be there, such as units that scrambled there to claim the spice. Then the players bid on treachery cards, which give them special abilities or advantages in battle. Then the players take turns acting. On each turn, a player may move one collection of troops already on the planet, and may ship in from space one collection of troops from off-planet to a single location on the board. If two factions have troops on a space, they fight it out.

Each side secretly determines which of his leaders he'll use in the fight (each has a name and a value), how many of his troops he'll use in the fight, and, optionally, an “attack” and a “defense” treachery card. This forms their battle plan. When both sides are ready, they reveal their plans. The number of troop counters fielded is added to the value of the leader. The player with the higher value loses the troop counters he committed to the fight; the other player loses all his troops on the space. Thus, you never want to commit all your troops, but as few as you can and still win. The leaders are retained unless the opposite player played a treachery card that attacks the leader; then he is killed unless he had a defense against that card. The attacks are poisons (which must be countered by poison defense), weapons (which must be countered by a shield), and the powerful lazgun. The lazgun has no defense, but if the other player tries blocking it with a shield it causes a huge explosion that destroys everything in the territory, regardless of the outcome of the battle.

The players rush to be the ones to collect spice when it appears, although they must be mindful of the storm and the possibility of worm attacks, and they battle for control of the five stronghold locations. To win the game, a single player must control, with at least one troop token, any three strongholds at the end of a complete turn. If players form an alliance (which can only be made or broken at certain times), then they can claim a joint victory.

If at the end of 15 turns no one has won, the Fremen player wins if he has control over three particular territories. If he hasn't won this way, the Spacing Guild player wins.

All of the leaders in each faction has a card in the Traitor deck. At the start of the game each player is dealt four, and selects one to be a secret traitor for his side, discarding the others. If this leader is ever used against that player, the player reveals the traitor card and immediately wins the fight, kills the enemy leader and gains spice equal to his value.

Complicating these basics are the special rules and advantages enjoyed by each side:
The Atredies player has precognition, and gets to look at Spice and Treachery cards when drawn. He gets to look at them even if they are drawn face-down, giving him an advantage in tracking down spice locations, predicting worm attacks and deciding which treachery cards are worth bidding for and which other players have them. Additionally, when forming battle plans the Atredies player may look at one aspect of the battle plans of the other players before the fight and react accordingly. He also has access to the Kwisatz Haderach counter, which is worth a bonus in battle.

The Harkonnen player is a master of treachery. He draws an extra treachery card every time he gains one (which the Atredies player does not get to see), can hold up to eight cards instead of four, gets to keep all four traitors drawn at the start of the game, and can capture enemy leaders, either to kill them or use them themselves for one turn.

The Emperor player has access to the elite Sardaukar troops, which are double-strength, and also is given the spice the other players bid for treachery cards. Most sides gain income through spice harvesting, so an extra source is a substantial advantage.

The Spacing Guild player pays half to ship his own troops onto the board, and furthermore receives the payments other sides (except for Fremen) pay to put their troops on the board. Again, alternate income sources are valuable in this game.

The Fremen player has Fremakin elite troops that are worth double, and revives troops for free at the end of a turn (other factions have to pay beyond a certain number of free revivals on a turn). Furthermore they only lose half their troops in the storm, and are not only unharmed by worm attacks but may then ride them elsewhere on the planet.

The Bene Gesserit player is difficult to play. Although in battle they have the Voice ability which forces the opponent to set one aspect of their battle plan as they dictate, they only get one free troop revival each turn, and they lack the Emperor's extra income to make up for it. They can sneak their troops onto the planet along with other shipments and without paying, and can also choose to “coexist” with other units in a space, choosing to fight only when they please. They also have a special way to win. At the start of play, the Bene Gesserit player writes down one of the other factions and which turn he thinks that player will win on. If this player wins or is a member of a winning alliance on that turn, then the Bene Gesserit player reveals the prediction and is in fact the sole winner! This gives the BG player a way to win by playing kingmaker, subtly influencing the direction of the game in favor of a given player in order to become the power behind the throne.
posted by JHarris (58 comments total) 112 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dune is awesome. I have the old one, so I doubt I'd be getting the new FFG one. Though they did a bang up job with Cosmic Encounter...
posted by Windopaene at 5:23 PM on February 23, 2011


Understand that the new edition is probably going to be Twilight Imperium-themed (or worse, themed after the FFG fantasy universe for which they rethemed Talisman and Dungeonquest, among others).
posted by mightygodking at 5:25 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The theme adds so much to the board game, I can hardly bear to think of it recreated using dopey schlock-scifi gibberish names.

I managed to get a B&W Dune board made yesterday. Staples it turns out will do wide-format B&W printing of sufficient size for less than four bucks. Add in some foam board and glue sticks and it's possible to make a board for the game with less than $10. The cards are a bit harder, I'll probably go with blank business cards or, failing that, white index cards.
posted by JHarris at 5:34 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somewhere there is a parallel universe where Avalon Hill bought Hasbro, and Looking Glass studios bought EA. I want to live there, even if the Avian flu has wiped out half the population.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:39 PM on February 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


There's no way I can handle playing this but I love how accurately it seems to simulate Dune. Didn't Dune 2 basically invent the Real Time Strategy genre?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:44 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


L.I.B., Dune isn't a short game usually but the play systems are actually not that tricky to master.

Dune 2 came out first, but RTS games seem to have been basically co-created between Westwood's Dune 2 and Technosoft's Herzog Zwei. (Both available, strangely enough, for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis.)
posted by JHarris at 5:48 PM on February 23, 2011


Walk without rhythm, and you won't attract the worm.
posted by norm at 6:06 PM on February 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Definitely one of the best game designs ever. I can't imagine playing a re-themed version though. In my opinion, didn't work for Traumfabrik, and won't work here.
posted by meinvt at 6:09 PM on February 23, 2011


The first Dune (by Westwood) had a lot of proto-RTS elements in it already. It was a pretty neat adventure/strategy/RPG-ish hybrid that re-created David Lynch's adaptation of Dune.
posted by porpoise at 6:23 PM on February 23, 2011


What a great game. I only played it three times -- your really have to have all six players -- but I remember what faction I played, what my strategy was, and how I fucked up in all three games, a quarter of a century ago. I can't say that for many of the dozens of games of Kingmaker or Richtofen's War I played.

Sigh. I miss board games...
posted by steambadger at 6:28 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Now I know what we'll be playing the next time I convene the old college buddies. Thanks!
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:31 PM on February 23, 2011


I've played it 6-player a number of times over the years. The game is decided by back-room deal making between the players; that is, cabals form early in order to gang up on other players and wipe them out until there are two or three left, at which point it's one on one and the winner is decided by the luck of the draw or mistakes. It's really basically about forming teams between players early, and then knowing when to back-stab your team-mates before they get you. For that reason I sorta soured on the game as it's about treachery and leaves a bad taste. The losers feel like losers and the winners feel like the King of a shit pile. But that might well simulate the Dune of Frank Herbert, just don't play it with friends you care about.

Cool about it being out of print and unlicensed, that should make copies worth a lot more. Might be a game that has real value into the future, like old comic books, since there are so many Dune fans and limited supply of original game.
posted by stbalbach at 6:32 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This was my favorite game as a kid. I've looked at it on Amazon a few times longingly, but couldn't bear the cost.

In my memory the Dune faction is vital for the kind of up and down, edge of your seat gameplay that made it fun for everyone.
posted by lumpenprole at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2011


stbalbach, I never felt that way about the game. But then, the people I gamed with in those days were pretty comfortable with treachery. We just made sure whoever won bought the beer the next time.
posted by steambadger at 6:37 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The first Dune (by Westwood) had a lot of proto-RTS elements in it already.

Neither is Herzog Zwei the first game in its series, although I don't really know enough about Herzog, an MSX game, to say accurately how much of a real-time strategy game it is.
posted by JHarris at 6:44 PM on February 23, 2011


Cool about it being out of print and unlicensed, that should make copies worth a lot more. Might be a game that has real value into the future, like old comic books, since there are so many Dune fans and limited supply of original game.

Yeah, goes for around $60 for a used copy. $150 for unpunched and unplayed.
posted by Windopaene at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2011


Gah. Had this in high school. Moved out. Parents sold it at a garage sale. Along with a bunch of mint 1970s Avengers and Iron Man comics. Never forgave them.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:56 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, I confess, I deeply coveted the copy that the nerdy kid in our gaming group held. It is truly an excellent game.
posted by newdaddy at 6:57 PM on February 23, 2011


Wow I have this game. Bought it when I was a little kid and have never played it for some reason.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:58 PM on February 23, 2011


It sounds very much like a special-themed Cosmic Encounter. I know we never played it but I wonder if anybody in the gaming group I grew up with ever bought it.
posted by scalefree at 7:00 PM on February 23, 2011


@steambadger - Hell yeah Kingmaker -- fell in love with that the first time I saw it as a kid. Dune too. Never played Richtofen's War, although I did play quite a bit of Dawn Patrol, the TSR WWI air game.
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:02 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


JHarris posted "The game has been long out of print due to the Frank Herbert estate refusing to re-license."

When people complain about the strip mining of the public domain this is the kind of crap they are talking about. Dune was published in 1965 and Frank Herbert died 21 years later in 86 and yet here we sit 46 years later; rapidly approaching two generations of protection and what sounds like an awesome derivative product (IE: the whole point of encouraging release by protection) sits mouldering. Makes me want to lick the white crud off a battery terminal it does.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 PM on February 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


My friend Dan almost literally pines away if we don't play this at GenCon every year. It's a lot of fun. Honestly, the biggest wrinkle we ran into the first time we played was:

"Huh. So... now we get to make alliances, I guess, and if the alliance controls enough territory, it wins."

"Well, I'm in."

"Sure."

"Me too."

And thus our alliance of four players won against poor David, who was playing the Fremen, IIRC. (We actually let him in, too, but he didn't control any vital territories that turn, so we kicked him back out.)

After that we house-ruled that you could only have two people in your alliance because frankly we were all too friendly with each other.
posted by Scattercat at 7:04 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best part is when the loser of the game has his heart plug pulled out.
posted by digsrus at 7:05 PM on February 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


May thy dice chip and shatter.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:12 PM on February 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


I met Peter Olotka about ten years ago. Really nice guy, really enthusiastic about Cosmic Encounter, which he pronounced "caaahwwsmic." But he really, really just wanted someone to make a video game version of Caaahwwsmic Encountah and give him free money.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:18 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


We had too much fun with massive, no mercy games of this back when I was in high school. We had house rules too, but they were there to enforce cruelty, treachery, and general malfeasance. It was pretty much common knowledge that after each game of this, a minimum of two people would stop talking to each other for a random period....
posted by Samizdata at 7:19 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Avalon Hill can do no wrong in my mind (apart from Diplomacy -- that game destroys friendships). My favorite, though, is Acquire.
posted by schmod at 7:26 PM on February 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


[previously]

I had the opportunity to play this a few weeks ago. An acquaintance had printed his own copy after playing it at GenCon some time back. We played using some online variant rules that incorporate rules from a French edition of the game that included a few clarifications (but the French rules only exist in English as a fan translation, which makes the term "clarification" somewhat questionable).

It can be a bit confusing. We were happy to have one person at the table who was familiar with the game to kind of move things along and play the Bene Gesserit. While many games these days use an "exception based" rule system, Dune takes it to such an extreme, that it is almost like each player is playing a different game entirely. Thankfully, the rules contain basic strategy advice for each of the factions. If it's your first time playing, those strategy notes are absolutely required reading. Some factions are strong at first, but lose their edge around turn 4 or so, while others take some time to build up steam, and so on.

The last advice I would give is that the game really only works with a full table of 6. The factions aren't necessarily all balanced against each other, but when all 6 are in play, somehow things just sort of work out. Also, this game takes a while, especially with 6 players, and doubly so when they are inexperienced, so make sure you don't have any plans for the afternoon if you decide to see what all the fuss was about.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:33 PM on February 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love Cosmic Encounters, and I love the Dune books (the real ones). I've got to give this a try.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 7:35 PM on February 23, 2011


I finally tracked down a copy of Le Dune (the Descartes edition published in '99 in French and generally of much higher quality than the original AH printings, though some people hate the board art). Super stoked on that, easily one of the best games of all time. I'd still say that Twilight Imperium 3rd Ed. is my favorite game though.

It sounds very much like a special-themed Cosmic Encounter.
It is not much at all like CE in anything other than also being a timeless classic of gaming.
posted by teishu at 7:47 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy god that sounds amazing. It'd be a fun project to put all this together. The storm element strikes me as especially badass and the kind of thing that creates lots of great tensions and rhythms in the game.

My desire to make a board and get a game together is attempting to occupy the same space as school and my absolute absence of free time.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:08 PM on February 23, 2011


The first Dune (by Westwood) had a lot of proto-RTS elements in it already.

That first, David-Lynch-movie-based, Dune computer game was by Cryo, not Westwood - Westwood only stepped in for Dune II. In my opinion, it was entertaining enough, but suffered from the common flaw of Cryo games of being interesting and high-concept but without having enough energy spent on actually making the gameplay engaging.

Probably the best thing about it was Stéphane Picq's soundtrack, which incidentally is also languishing in copyright hell, although with EMI, not the Frank Herbert estate.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:34 PM on February 23, 2011


I've also got the original. What a sad geek I was, alone in my basement, rarely roping in others to play...

Ditto for VG's Vietnam, Empires in Arms, etc etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:55 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Coming soon: Settlers of Dune!

"Got any water?"
"Nope."
"Oh. I guess I die, then."
"Me too!"
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:23 PM on February 23, 2011 [18 favorites]


Heh-- I think this may be what I bought, on a whim, at this bizarre junk shop/gun store about ten years ago. Pre-David-Lynch art, right? Anyway, when I opened it and realized that all the pieces were still attached to their original cardboard, I just left it as it was until I could find someone who really wanted it. Looks like maybe someone would. I should try to dig it up.
posted by Because at 10:13 PM on February 23, 2011


The first Dune (by Westwood) had a lot of proto-RTS elements in it already.

If by that you mean it had turn-based strategy elements, then yes.
posted by lumensimus at 10:27 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Still have Cosmic Encounter, love it, never can find people to play it with. I either *had* Dune, or someone in my nerdclan did, but I do not think I ever played it. Sad. Excellent to learn of the CE tie-in.
posted by mwhybark at 11:28 PM on February 23, 2011


Cool Papa Bell: "But he really, really just wanted someone to make a video game version of Caaahwwsmic Encountah and give him free money."

Like, for the iPhone? I would give him said free money.
posted by mwhybark at 11:31 PM on February 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously having a really hard time not favoriting each and every comment.

What an epic game. I played it three times, finishing once.

Everyone who said that you need the full six players are correct. Also, you not only need six players, you need six players who are at least familiar with the whole Dune mythos as well. Otherwise you spend an hour describing why the Bene Gesserit aren't going to win.
posted by Sphinx at 12:36 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need to scroll back up and read the comments, but my husband just reminded me that we have the original game in the box and that it has never been played. Meetup anyone? Email is in the profile.
posted by lilywing13 at 12:46 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I volunteer to play the Bene Gesserit faction and don't expect to "win."
posted by lilywing13 at 12:50 AM on February 24, 2011


^^^lilywing13: "You've glimpsed the fist within the Bene Gesserit glove," she said. "Few glimpse it and live." Frank Herbert wrote that in 1965.

Back in the late '80s it was hard as hell to convince the people* gaming with you that maybe they wouldn't "win", but they could be the person who threw the winner over the finish line.

Also, if I wasn't swamped work-wise, I'd drive down to AK, you're pretty close. I'm gonna have to settle with trying to get 40% of my friends interested in this.

Simply said: I love the Dune universe. The potential for rich storytelling is astounding. Too bad we didn't get that after Frank died.

*mostly teenage boys, with the occasional girl thrown in.
posted by Sphinx at 1:06 AM on February 24, 2011


I'd like to see a God Emperor boardgame.

One player is Leto II. The other players represent the various factions - the BG, the BT, Ix etc. Leto's special power is to see what every other player is going to do before they do it. The other players have a range of powers that don't make sense or provide any apparent advantage, like producing Duncan Idaho gholas or building carts for Leto.

In the first turn the non-Leto players try to kill Leto. If they fail, the Leto player gets to deliver a one minute Nietszche-tinged rant about the evils of bureaucracy, the perfidiousness of historians or the way that a military force made up of males will inevitably destroy itself through homosexuality.

On further turns the non-Leto players get to try again, and each time they fail Leto's ranting time is extended by 30 seconds. The winner is the player who finally manages to kill Leto, although Leto wins if the game goes on for 3,500 turns or when all of the other players leave, whichever happens first.

Seriously, it would be awesome.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:31 AM on February 24, 2011 [24 favorites]


I used to run a quite successful and awesome gaming club at Uni and we played this somewhat regularly, with the full complement of players. It's a truly great game. Now off to eBay to try and find a copy...
posted by wilful at 3:58 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've got a copy. Got it about ~25 years ago, and our gaming group still plays it from time to time. Which is more than can be said for many other games we've only had 1/5 as long.

In all the time we've been playing, I think we've had one Bene Gesserit win by prediction. It's not easy to pull off, but totally awesome if you do. We've also seen, IIRC, one first turn win—the Atreides and Harkonnens are the only two players for which this is possible.

We play with the "no alliances" optional rule, for some of the reasons others have mentioned above. (If you've never played without alliances, this leads to the turn-15 Fremen or Guild (usually Guild) default win less often than you might think.)

I have heard of a house rule for alliances that I've wanted to try, although I haven't been able to sell my group on it yet: an unallied player must control three strongholds, as usual, to win; an alliance of two players must control four strongholds; an alliance of three players must control all five strongholds. Alliances of more than three players are not allowed. If anyone tries this (or has already tried it) I'd be interested to know how it works out.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:41 AM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


May thy dice chip and shatter.

Good try, but the game doesn't use dice.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:49 AM on February 24, 2011


Otherwise you spend an hour describing why the Bene Gesserit aren't going to win.

I wouldn't go that far. I'll agree with the OP that it's difficult to play the BG, but in addition to the one win by prediction I mentioned above, our group has seen some BG wins by stronghold control as well. The key is the BG spiritual advisors (free shipment of one token onto the planet along with any other player's shipment) and coexistence (basically, the BG tokens in any area don't battle with other players or have any effect on the game...until the BG player decides they do.)

Players (except Fremen, who have special shipment rules) almost always ship into strongholds, because it costs twice as much to ship into non-stronghold spaces. So each time that happens, the BG player gets a free token in that stronghold, and there's nothing anyone else can do about it, until the BG player decides not to coexist there. With time, the BG player can build up a pretty good sized force in a stronghold. But it very much requires patience to carry out. (And also acting to make sure none of the players who can make a quick strike are able to win early in the game.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:03 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The lazgun has no defense, but if the other player tries blocking it with a shield it causes a huge explosion that destroys everything in the territory

Further note on this: the lazgun-shield explosion also takes place if the same player uses both a lazgun and a shield together, which I've seen used as a deliberate tactic to wipe out a massive enemy force.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:06 AM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


obiwanwasabi: Coming soon: Settlers of Dune!

"Got any water?"


I think you mean "Got wet for sheep?"
posted by Hogshead at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The game is decided by back-room deal making between the players; that is, cabals form early in order to gang up on other players and wipe them out until there are two or three left, at which point it's one on one and the winner is decided by the luck of the draw or mistakes.

Sounds like games of Settlers of Catan when played by my friends. Treachery has been known to lead to rather awkward relations for the rest of the weekend.

Unfortunately I don't regularly have access to six players. Too bad.
posted by threeturtles at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2011


I have heard of a house rule for alliances that I've wanted to try, although I haven't been able to sell my group on it yet: an unallied player must control three strongholds, as usual, to win; an alliance of two players must control four strongholds; an alliance of three players must control all five strongholds. Alliances of more than three players are not allowed. If anyone tries this (or has already tried it) I'd be interested to know how it works out.

I always try to play this way at home and when I run Dune at cons this rule is definitely in effect. It's super easy to explain/change to and does a great job of preventing the "cheap" alliance win while maintaining the value and associated totally awesome metagaming that comes with the formal alliances.
posted by teishu at 12:52 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sounds like games of Settlers of Catan when played by my friends. Treachery has been known to lead to rather awkward relations for the rest of the weekend.

It sounds like you guys may be playing a non-standard variant. In official Settlers of Catan, any deal-making between players cannot be enforced in the game's rules and is generally frowned upon. The only deals really allowable between players are in trades, and even there, no "gifts" are allowed, that is, whatever you receive in a trade, you must give at least one resource card in exchange.

This means, say, if you give someone three ore in exchange for a promise not to build a settlement in a sector, it is not covered by the rules what would happen if he built there anyway, and in fact a player playing "correctly," that is, trying to win, would not allow such a consideration to factor into his decision. Such megagaming concerns often harm gameplay, and are a matter of concern for game designers.

I draw this example out because Dune explicitly allows for more player collaboration and deal-making than other games, and its rules actually state that such deals are binding. This is against the spirit of many other board games.
posted by JHarris at 1:30 PM on February 24, 2011


Someone remind me the next time a MetaTalk neglected awesome comments thread come up, because A Thousand Baited Hooks' comment will be my first nomination.
posted by JHarris at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2011


that is, cabals form early in order to gang up on other players and wipe them out until there are two or three left

I have yet to play myself (soon I hope), but from my reading of the rules (I enjoy it!) I'm not sure that assessment is possible. Dune is not an elimination game; you can lose all your troops but as long as you have spice you can bide you time for a few turns to build up free troop revivals, then emerge and become a player again. If the wiped-out players themselves allied, their summed advantages would at least give them a shot as getting back in the running again.
posted by JHarris at 2:16 PM on February 24, 2011


super cursory googling reveals this and this, the latter of which appears to be a legit online implementation of Cosmic Encounter. Call me gobsmacked.
posted by mwhybark at 10:36 PM on February 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, I did not know about this at all other than some vague memory of seeing a gameboard image somewhere. Probably in a mefi post Artw made. It looks fantastic.

It's really basically about forming teams between players early, and then knowing when to back-stab your team-mates before they get you. For that reason I sorta soured on the game as it's about treachery and leaves a bad taste. The losers feel like losers and the winners feel like the King of a shit pile.

But enough about Diplomacy!
posted by cortex at 10:37 PM on February 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sure we had this thread already... but the thing that really got me about Dune was how _pretty_ it was. It was really beautifully designed and the counters where so satisfyingly shaped and thickly cut. Very tactile, although when I played it I was about... 10, maybe? And probably not the target audience.
posted by DNye at 8:18 AM on February 25, 2011


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