The announcement of the Dune film remake put publishers in a hurry. Based on Frank Herbert's great books, the film is expected to be one of the best this year. And as it happens, this is the reason why Dune is so hot for this year that everyone wants to make a their own board game about it. So we decided that to make some sense of all the games, we should have a little guide!
But if Dune and Arrakis are completely unknown to you, you can take a peek through the link. David Lynch's awesome original film is also worth a note, as well as, of course, the movie's remake, which will premiere shortly.
This is where it all started. Gale Force Nine breathed new life into the 40-year-old board game by updating the graphics, ironing a few clusters of rules, and moving the trickiest of all the rules into their own alternative modules.
Dune is a game of war strategy, politics, alliances, and fierce battles. The player, or a coalition of players who hold the most of the targets on the planet, will win. Every round, the storm sweeps along the deserts, destroying all unprotected units from the game. On top of this, every player has a unique role to play in the game, controlling a crucial part of the Dune's economy.
The old rules of the game still hold their own to this day. Fighting is a very expensive, and this forces players to think carefully about their moves. Definitely at best with 5+ players.
The only one of the games that has no direct connection to the new movie.
In practice, the game is like the Dune that was previously introduced, but the player count have been cut to four, the rules have been further simplified, the amount of resources has been increased, and a new market selling cards that help players has been thrown into the game.
Asymmetric player powers are still present, each with its role to play, some tight battles, and a tried and tested map layout and a storm sweeping it. New to the game are delicious two player game, simpler rules for newbies, and reduced playing time. Targeted definitely for those for whom the traditional Dune seems too big of a mouthful.
The game borrows its looks directly from the movie. Characters, colors, the world, everything is in the same way as the new Dune movie.
Traditional game of deduction with secret roles; Dune: Betrayal seems to mix Good Cop, Bad Cop and The Resistance games. And why wouldn't it, as the game is made by the designers of Avalon and The Resistance. This would indicate there will certainly be some incredible moments when players get to stab each other in the back, desperately looking for a mole in their ranks.
Not much else is known about the game yet. Images of components and conclusions from a few cards may prove completely false. However, it is certain that the game has taken the characters and themes from the film that will be released shortly.
So this one is a completely different individual, as it is both co-op and solo. Dune: House Secrets takes the mechanics out of Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game and glues the characters and the world of the sand planet nicely on top.
Of course, the game has a theme embedded in more than just to the looks. The stories of the game are not crimes that players have been sent to solve. Instead, players take over rebels, trying to complete their assigned missions over a tightly limited period of time. Every decision players make together leads the story toward new plot twists, while also unraveling Dune's world more and more.
Dune: House Secret, which focuses on the narrative of the story, has spent a lot of time getting the looks of the upcoming film just right. It's exciting to see if the game has some new aspects of the story that you wouldn't otherwise get to see.
Last but by no means the weakest, its time to talk about the biggest surprise of the early part of this year.
Seamlessly combining deck building and worker placement, Dune: Imperium, offers memorable moments as players scrape from tight resources to get enough momentum for just a one point, and all this, just to stay relevant in the desert of Arrakis.
Players, in turn, play their workers to different destinations on the board, but only if they have a card with the same symbol on their hand. After the worker settles on the target, the player receives both bonuses from the board and the card used to place the worker. Resources, soldiers, cards, and places that increase the popularity for the player are filled quickly, and it is good to plan each move in advance. Players must also keep an eye of what other players are doing, because at the end of each round there is a tireless war against each other for control of Arrakis. Often the prize for winning is those juicy points, but the bigger win is when an opponent loses a large part of his army without getting any substantial reward for fighting. The game's already reached the age where there is a expansion coming out in a few months.
A good app has been made for the game to make it easier to get one or two more players into the game. The more updated version of the app even has two new game formats; one where players get secret assignments, and the other where players get a kickstart at the start of the game and get to bet on who is the one of them that wins the game. Very nice extra content, though not in any way necessary to enjoy Dune: Imperium.
The game lends the look of the film's actors to its characters, but otherwise doesn't resemble much of a new movie.
Now you should be ready to boldly pick up the individual best suited for your taste!
Poromagia's board game crew