How do the ornithopters work in Dune

Review: Dune - Take Me To The Spice

Estimated reading time: 15 minutes

Most people probably know from the original book or film that the spice has to flow. In the game, Spice is the lubricant of the war and negotiation machine on the campaign to conquer three fortresses on Arrakis. Out of six very individual houses, one is yours, take it to the Spice!

Frank Herbert's book series Dune appeared in 1967, the first part The desert planet served as a template for the film adaptation in 1984 directed by David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, Lost Highway, Twin peaks, The elephant man) and for this game.

In preparation for the review, I tried to watch the classic again, but had suppressed some of the perm princes and disturbing Sir Patrick Stewart appearances. With Denis Villeneuves (Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, Enemy) New edition, which should appear this year, I'll try again.

But back to the game: the board game Dune of Gale Force Nine is a slightly adapted new edition of the Avalon Hill Klassikers from 1979. Above all, the very different groups of players characterize the game. The theme of Frank Herbert's template is taken up very well by the houses. The conquest game with many negotiating parts is not only popular with fans of books and films. This is what the Dune:

Table of Contents


Surprisingly, the first thing to do when setting up is to place the game board in the middle of the table. Then each player chooses a faction (random distribution is also possible, of course) and takes the appropriate game material. This includes a faction screen, 20 unit tokens, Spice, five leaders and a traitor card, as well as a Treachery card. There is also an overview of the faction skills, as in Dune the differences between the factions are great. At the beginning, the starting units on Arrakis, the spice supply, the strength of the leaders and later the skills in the game are very different. The players sitting next to the storm's setup position together determine the starting position of the storm, the next player in the direction of movement of the storm becomes the starting player. No movements, fights, etc. are possible in the storm sector, the sector is blocked for the current round.

The complex one Dune is played up to 10 rounds and ends afterwards or at the end of the round in which one of the factions captured and defended three of the five fortresses on Arrakis. There is a lot of negotiation and bribing on the way to the goal. Unlike in many other games of this type, agreements made that have been paid for with Spice are binding, even if the fulfillment of the consideration lies in the future. Each round is divided into nine phases, which are resolved counterclockwise (in the direction of the storm) by the starting player:

The round display shows how far the game has progressed.
So that no phase is forgotten, there is a bar in which a phase marker marks the current phase and is moved on when the phase has been resolved.
Each player receives a phase overview card for orientation.
  1. Storm
    The storm moves counter-clockwise (from round 2) over the Arrakis map and destroys all troops not protected by fortresses or mountains, as well as spice deposits that have not been collected on the way. The players who last fought in the preliminary round determine the range of movement of the storm. Both are secretly allowed to give the storm a movement range of one to three sectors. These values ​​are added together so that the storm moves two to six sectors each round.
  2. Spice Occurrence (and Nexus)

    One of 21 cards is revealed and determines either a new spice deposit in one of 15 possible locations on Arrakis or the mighty sandworm
    Shai-Hulud is revealed and a nexus is triggered.
    The placed Spice is a coveted target on the map and can be dismantled later in the round. If, however, Shai-Hulud is revealed in the following round, the remaining Spice and all units present on the region that was revealed last are eaten and discarded. The Nexus is the planetary council Arrakis ‘, here alliances can be forged.