Postgame Report - Dune w/ Ixians & Tleilaxu expansion

So I pre-ordered the expansion for #Dune pretty much as soon as it was available, and I've had it for months now, but we finally got to play it. One guy had to drop out last minute, which kind of sucked, but there's not much you can do about it, so we played with 5. The game works decently well at 5, so not too big of a deal.

Now we haven't played Dune too many times yet, but this was by far the weirdest play we've had. First of all, because there were expansion factions to choose from, no one ended up playing as either Atreides or Harkonnen. If you're familiar with the book, you know how weird this is from a thematic sense.

The second weird thing was that one player almost won in the first round. This was the guy playing as the Ixians, one of the new factions. One special thing about them is that they have a "hidden mobile stronghold." They control this at the beginning of the game. Anyone can move in and out of this stronghold, but only the Ixians are actually allowed to ship forces into it, so anyone else would need to ship into the territory it's occupying and use their move action to enter it.

Anyway, 3 players had their turns before him in the first round. Players 1 and 2 (Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit) chose not to ship any forces onto the planet that round. I (Fremen), went next and used my ship action to reinforce my position in the Sietch Tabr stronghold, and my move action to move toward a spice blow (since the Fremen have no other reliable income). The Ixian player was next, with only one other player going after him. He had initially placed his mobile stronghold on the Habbanya Sietch stronghold, so he used his move action to move some of his forces into it, giving him 2 of the 3 required strongholds. He used his ship action to ship into Arrakeen, giving him the 3rd. This forced the guy playing the Emperor, who was last in the turn order for the round, to fight him in one of the strongholds, otherwise the Ixians would have won. He shipped into Arrakeen, and they fought.

The Ixians actually won the battle, but the guy playing forgot that you lose all the forces you dial, and he dialed everything, so no one was left. Even if he didn't forget that, he would have lost, as the Tleilaxu player had the Ixian's leader as a traitor, and played him as a Face Dancer. It was an exciting couple of minutes.

Rounds 2 and 3 were not as exciting. In turn 2, I (Fremen) moved from the spice blow I collected in the previous round into Tuek's Sietch, giving myself 2 strongholds. I also moved to another spice blow that was right in front of the storm, just so I could collect the spice, since Fremen only take half troop loss in a storm. There were minor battles here and there in these rounds, but nothing decisive or particularly exciting. Tleilaxu and Bene Gesserit were biding their time, not making any strong moves, really. The Ixians have some cool abilities that were pretty fun in this game having to do with the auction phase and the treachery cards. They were a good replacement for Atreides in that regard.

Round 4 started off like the previous 2 - with a pretty standard auction and revival phase. One thing that I was watching, though - I was last in the turn order this round. That's important, because it means that no one can make any movements after you make yours. I still had my 2 strongholds (Tuek's Sietch and Sietch Tabr). The Emperor had 2 strongholds - Carthag and Arrakeen - but was weak in both. The Tleilaxu player shipped into the one closer to me (Carthag) for a fight. Dangit. That means I can't ship in there (max of 2 allowed in a territory). But wait, I have a special treachery card I won in the auction phase - Hajr - Special Movement. With this card I was able to take my normal movement action (2 territories for Fremen), then surprise everyone and take a second one and end up in Arrakeen. "Oh crap!" said my friend next me playing the Bene Gesserit. If I win the battle, I win the game.
As I already mentioned, the Emperor was weakened - he had 3 troops in the territory. I moved in with 6, one of them being a Fedaykin commando (counts double in battle). The battle was a foregone conclusion. I played Stilgar, my strongest leader, with no fear of treachery on his part (I had kept him as my selected traitor card ad the beginning of the game). I had a poison weapon to kill the Emperor's leader. The only way I could possibly have lost was if he managed to kill my leader and I was unable to kill his, but that didn't happen. I won the battle, and therefore the game. The other guys played the rest of the battles for kicks and giggles, but they didn't matter. I had 3 strongholds.

This was the shortest game of Dune we've played by a longshot, both in time and in number of rounds. In actual time playing, after setup, explanation of new expansion stuff, and a dinner break, it was probably 90 minutes of game time. Earlier games have been at least 4 hours. I also really enjoyed what the expansion added. The 2 new factions are cool, and having more options is nice. I can't wait to play again! Something tells me it won't be too much longer before people are asking for this one again...

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Supporter2 months ago

Thanks for the writeup. I really enjoyed reading it. It does sound like a truly wonky, but still very fun game.

2 months ago

Thanks!

Supporter2 months ago

Thanks for the report.  Fun read.  I can't wait to play...

Which factions do you find to be strategically the least complex?  I have a few friends that need to play less complex factions when we jump into asymetric games.  It looks like the Emperor and Space Guild are lower on the complexity scale...

2 months ago

  • I'd agree that Emperor and Spacing Guild are lower in complexity. They also have the added benefit of steady-ish income. Both are good for first-timers. The Emperor is probably the simplest of the two, with the most straight-forward faction abilities. The Guild has the wrinkle of getting to choose when in the turn order they want to take their shipment turn, but it's pretty easy to always default to last unless there's an obvious reason to go first.
  • Atreides is good for someone who enjoys taking notes and is generally observant. They also will benefit from selling info to other players about treachery cards, so someone who likes negotiation might enjoy that too. I don't particularly enjoy negotiation, so when I played them, I think I only did that once lol.
  • BG is probably the weirdest one strategy-wise in the base game. They're kind of poor, but they can ship down troops for free one at a time, and they're sort of trying to manipulate the game. They're also pretty handy in a fight, with their Voice ability and strong leaders.
  • Harkonnen has been the least favorite faction in our group so far. They have a hard time getting spice, so in an alliance they have greatly benefitted from being with either Emperor or Guild. They're scary to fight against, because of all of their traitors and their gigantic hand of treachery cards. I kind of feel like we haven't played them to their full abilities yet, though. I might take the challenge next time and try them out.
  • Fremen (along with BG) are pretty weak in the basic rules, but once you incorporate the advanced rules (double spice blow, spice combat), they seem pretty strong. In advanced they don't have to use spice to fuel their combat, plus their Fedaykin are stronger than the Emperor's Sardaukar.

I highly recommend the advanced rules. The spice combat can be a little confusing, but aside from that, it's so much better. The factions are differentiated even more, and the Fremen and Bene Gesserit feel like they're on pretty equal footing with everyone else, where they feel nerfed in the basic rules. Also for the spice combat you can find apps that will help you calculate it as well, if your group has problems with it.

2 months ago

I wonder if saw this comment :D

Supporter2 months ago

Now I did, and your post too! Gotta read up on this now haha

I'll read out to the publisher and see if they'd be fine with this :)

2 months ago

By the way, when you do those, does the publisher send you high quality images to use? Or how does that work? Just curious.

Supporter2 months ago

I typically ask the publisher to send me images with transparent background. If I get the vibe that they're too busy to take the time, then I'll just ask for permission to use images I've found.

2 months ago

Nice! Hopefully you can get some good ones from Gale Force 9 :)

Supporter2 months ago

Fingers crossed.

2 months ago

Woo!

Supporter2 months ago

These would be great fits.

Supporter2 months ago

The question is... which Faction's Emblem would you pick?

2 months ago

Well I'm 2-0 when I've played Fremen, so maybe them haha. I also really like playing as Bene Gesserit, so far. Haven't played as Harkonnen, Guild, Emperor, Ixians, or Tleilaxu.

Supporter2 months ago

Yes yes yes!

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