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Dune: Imperium Plays the Hits - Review

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MB Updated February 24, 2021
 
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Dune: Imperium Plays the Hits - Review

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Players
1 - 4
There Will Be Games

Now That's What I Call Board Games vol. 20

Dune: Imperium, designed by Paul Dennen of Clank! fame, was dropped by Dire Wolf late last year to much fanfare and effusive praise. It appears to be the rare contemporary game that rises above the cruft and seems to be a Notable Release, the kind of game that galvanizes players and commentators in a way that any number of crowdfunded titles simply do not among the endless sewer flow of new releases. Now, I am not writing this review to yuck the collective yum here nor am I positioning myself as a voice of opposition to Dune: Imperium because it is in fact a very good and sometimes outstanding game. I would even go so far as to say that it is a very worthy successor to EON’s 1979 ludic take on the Frank Herbert novels – it is more accessible, more playable, and more consistent than that masterpiece and it conveys the themes, settings, and actions of Dune almost as well.

But here’s the real talk. Dune: Imperium, for all of its overall quality, has absolutely nothing innovative, new, fresh, or even particularly interesting to add to the medium. The high level view is that this design is a cobbled-together aggregate of several elements from the past ten-odd years of game design. It’s a worker placement game with deckbuilding and area control. You do a bunch of things that feel like things you’ve done in other games. The influence of Lords of Waterdeep and Tyrants of the Underdark are unmistakable, and I’m sure most players could point to numerous other examples of mechanical and processional functions that they’ve seen in other designs.

The analogy I keep returning to is that Dune: Imperium is a greatest hits compilation – it’s all the bangers, all the top tracks welded together to make an album. Sometimes, this works out: there are greatest hits or singles compilations that are also great albums. However, these records are engineered to please fans, casual listeners, and those who only want the big, successful singles. The audience that wants “Born to Run” and “Dancing in the Dark” on one record  doesn’t necessarily care about “State Trooper” or a live cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream”. I think this is the case with Dune: Imperium. It’s all the popular mechanisms and gameplay concepts, and it feels very much like a game crafted to be a crowd pleaser. It almost defies specific criticism because it’s simply made to work and work well, built on the bones of past successes like so many games today are.

I know most readers of game reviews want to read article that are basically recaps of rulebooks and a component list with a softball “buy or try” opinion but I’ve never done that and I’m not doing that here. The game does pretty much everything you would expect – or, indeed, want – to do in game based on the Dune books and upcoming film. It really covers a lot of narrative ground. You’ll scheme as the Harkonnens, conspire with the Bene Geserit, cut deals with the Spacing Guild, go to war in the Arakeen desert, and engage in political machinations in the Landsraad. The economy is Melange and water and Solaris. There are Sardaukar terror troops, crysknives, and stillsuits. As well as Timothy Chalamet and Oscar Isaac.

The thing is, the worker placement/deckbuilding/area control triad works very well in expressing all of this, and Mr. Dennen is to be commended for building a Dune game that is very much more than the sum of its parts. It feels Dune-y, and as someone who has spent the better part of my life as a Dune stan I’m over the moon with having another Dune game and especially a modernDune game. 

Yet I can’t help but be disappointed that this game isn’t doing more, especially in comparison with EON’s 40-year old take that still feels fresh, innovative, and forward-thinking today. Beyond that, I’m also finding this game to be such a cynical design, a workmanlike piece of artistic capitulation that more or less is stating that there is nothing left to do other than things we’ve done before and nowhere else to go other than where we’ve already been.

But to flip that argument around, I do not think that Dune: Imperium necessarily has to be a vanguard work no more than I think a novel or a record or a film has to be something completely maverick in order to succeed. In fact many great works are syncretic, drawing on and restating influences without necessarily pushing anything forward. It is not a requirement that a game do something new and innovation is sometimes not as thrilling or satisfying as the familiar, repurposed and recontextualized into something of the moment.

And the truth of it is that I really enjoy this game, I like or love just about everything about it. The drama is good. The battles can be devastatingly surprising, and the economy is compelling. There are tons of decisions every turn, but the worker placement scheme is the very epitome of too much to do, to little to do it with angst. Yeah, the board is really fucking ugly and it follows on the current graphic design trend in games where “charts” is the aesthetic model. But it does succeed at putting me in the shoes of Leto Atreides or Baron Harkonnen and I come away each game satisfied that I’ve played something fun, engaging, and well-made.

Maybe that is the best we can ask for here in 2021, when most games are designed primarily to lure rubes into big one-time  pre-purchases of crowdfunded garbage- a solid, well-made game that doesn’t do anything progressive for the medium or for the form but does plenty to make us happy by giving us things that made us happy before. I suppose I’ll take it, but I can’t shake the feeling that an IP that has inspired Jodorowsky, Giger, Grimes, Moebius, Lucas, EON, and countless other creatives should be doing more than playing the hits.


Editor reviews

1 reviews

Rating 
 
4.0
A workmanlike, uninspired design that is also a very good game.
MB
Top 10 Reviewer 137 reviews
Michael Barnes (He/Him)
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Sometime in the early 1980s, MichaelBarnes’ parents thought it would be a good idea to buy him a board game to keep him busy with some friends during one of those high-pressure, “free” timeshare vacations. It turned out to be a terrible idea, because the game was TSR’s Dungeon! - and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael has been involved with writing professionally about games since 2002, when he busked for store credit writing for Boulder Games’ newsletter. He has written for a number of international hobby gaming periodicals and popular Web sites. From 2004-2008, he was the co-owner of Atlanta Game Factory, a brick-and-mortar retail store. He is currently the co-founder of FortressAT.com and Nohighscores.com as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Miniature Market’s Review Corner feature. He is married with two childen and when he’s not playing some kind of game he enjoys stockpiling trivial information about music, comics and film.

Articles by Michael

Michael Barnes
Senior Board Game Reviews Editor

Articles by Michael

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hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #317801 07 Jan 2021 15:44
I would very much like to try this game. I won't be buying it myself though... I picked up Dune (the original) and it has hit the table exactly once.

I also was bored to tears by Tyrants of the Underdark.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #317802 07 Jan 2021 16:02
I think that's really fair criticism. One of the things I've found appealing about the Tiny Epic series is that they're often not great leaps forward, but they're almost always engaging, intriguing, and generally fun. There are moments of real insight (the war cost system of Kingdoms, the move/attack balance of Zombies, etc.) but none of them are "transformative" in a way that would have you thinking: "This game is a whole, new thing!" Indeed, I think that that's part of the intent of the series: comfortable, fun, little insights that make them their own thing, but mostly based on transport- and cost-accessibility.

It strikes me that Dune: Imperium could have been created with that same thought in mind. It's possible that WW didn't want to try to run the race with the original Dune game because they recognized that it would be a losing effort in comparison. So they made a different Dune game that's comfortably within the wheelhouse of both their design intent and the audience that they hope to reach. I haven't had the opportunity to play (I was gifted a copy over the holidays), but it will be interesting to see how well our play experience coincides with the points you're making here.

And, yes, the board is still god-awful. Win some, lose some.
n815e's Avatar
n815e replied the topic: #317805 07 Jan 2021 17:04
Sometimes a game does something innovative and that wows me.

Sometimes a game just takes the tried and true, does it well and that wows me, too.

I did pick this one up on a whim, not expecting it to be more than average. I played it once, solo, to learn the mechanics and it kind of did seem to meet those expectations.

It may open up with repeated plays, because there is a bunch of stuff going on and it’s not really possible for me to understand how I should value different cards, resources, or actions, and what the paths to victory are. With more familiarity and maybe (one day) multiple players, this could be a wonderful experience. Or it may not. I don’t know yet.

I never like to judge a game until I think I understand it. Most games require many plays to see their depth.

This is not the old Dune. There’s not going to be scheming and backstabbing and wild, tense moments. It doesn’t seem like that type of game.
This is another one, where it seems pensive and quiet and calculating. A different kind of fun, but still fun.

So I’ll give it more chances.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #317807 08 Jan 2021 09:12
Mr. Barnes, that was slipping the blade in slowly if I've ever seen it.

That said, I think somebody relatively new to the hobby could find this quite a revelation of modern gaming, and get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Target audience is always in the mix, and a game such as this that engineers its pieces extremely well will likely have an audience. You simply can't appeal to the entire market simultaneously, and though your takeaway from the game was less than positive you certainly point out that the product is well made for its intended use. You see good gaming here.

I think the bigger message coming from your review (at least from my perspective) is the tug between doing things well and doing things new. It's a rare game that does both, because frankly, it's hard, like, really hard. That's a more interesting discussion for me personally and I think given the amount of material coming out of the "endless sewer flow" (a phrase I fully endorse) any game that does either one well has a place.

But I'll ask the question -- how many games come out a year that both do things well AND do things new? I'm not looking for an answer like "1 percent" because that's a cop out. One year from now if all goes well, how many 2021 titles would you expect to ring both of those bells simultaneously?

(I'll just mention in passing that more than 5000 boardgame SKUs hit the market in 2020.)
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #317808 08 Jan 2021 09:16
By the way, excellent writing. Thanks for the good morning read.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #317812 08 Jan 2021 10:03

Sagrilarus wrote: Mr. Barnes, that was slipping the blade in slowly if I've ever seen it.

That said, I think somebody relatively new to the hobby could find this quite a revelation of modern gaming, and get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Target audience is always in the mix, and a game such as this that engineers its pieces extremely well will likely have an audience. You simply can't appeal to the entire market simultaneously, and though your takeaway from the game was less than positive you certainly point out that the product is well made for its intended use. You see good gaming here.

I think the bigger message coming from your review (at least from my perspective) is the tug between doing things well and doing things new. It's a rare game that does both, because frankly, it's hard, like, really hard. That's a more interesting discussion for me personally and I think given the amount of material coming out of the "endless sewer flow" (a phrase I fully endorse) any game that does either one well has a place.

But I'll ask the question -- how many games come out a year that both do things well AND do things new? I'm not looking for an answer like "1 percent" because that's a cop out. One year from now if all goes well, how many 2021 titles would you expect to ring both of those bells simultaneously?

(I'll just mention in passing that more than 5000 boardgame SKUs hit the market in 2020.)


Great points, definitely pointing toward a worthy standalone topic here. 5000 new boardgames in 2020? Wow. I would be surprised if I would be interested in even 1% of them. I don't need every game to offer innovative mechanics or perfect rules or a unique topic or setting. But I do need a game that can justify the time spent learning to play it, especially if I am pondering purchase. I have a terrible time letting go of possessions, so when I buy a game, it's going to take up shelf space or storage space for possibly years to come. So I want a game that offers an experience that is sufficiently different from all the other games in my collection. Variety is good, and it makes it easier to get a game on the table if I can quickly pitch why we should play that game instead of any of the others.

Within a few weeks, I expect to receive Masters of the Night, a boardgame that I kickstarted maybe a year ago. I almost never go for kickstarter games, and I am trying to cut back on buying more boardgames in general, so I feel like it's worth explaining why I went in on Masters of the Night. And it seems like there is no one specific reason, just a combination of factors that added up into a purchase decision.

First, Masters of the Night looks attractive and distinctive. The miniatures are lovely and the map cards have a nice '40s noir vibe, like an archetypal Gotham City. It's co-op, which means that it can also be played solitaire. The topic is vampires, and there is a lot that can be done with vampires due to their complex combination of strengths and weaknesses. The preview version of the rulebook was well-organized, and that Universal Head guy was involved with the overall visual design of the game. So my quick pitch to a table of players would be: noir '40s vampire co-op that is easy to learn.

Nothing about Dune: Imperium is at all enticing, though it's nice to hear that the gameplay is mechanically solid. I already have a great Dune game, so I don't need another one if I want to play in that setting. I feel that deckbuilding and worker placement mechanics tend to support games with low player interaction and high passive aggression, and I found both those qualities to be undesirable. The board is drab, and looks like it may have began life as a spreadsheet. It's possible that the interplay of the deckbuilding and the worker placement might deliver an entertaining sense of story, but I find that so unlikely that I would need to try this game before even dreaming of buying it.
Msample's Avatar
Msample replied the topic: #317813 08 Jan 2021 10:18
Michael, I appreciate that your reviews NEVER take up 80% of the article length recapping the fucking rule book. Far too many “reviews” do this, like a grade schooler grinding out a book report that has a required minimum word/page count.
Gregarius's Avatar
Gregarius replied the topic: #317814 08 Jan 2021 10:54
Thank you for this GREAT article, Michael. I really loved reading the conflict of your inner thoughts on this game.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #317815 08 Jan 2021 11:08
I have alot of feeling about all of this, some of which will projecting for sure. Inaccurate they may be, perhaps there's still some food for thought here.

Call me regressive, but I don't much care for new ideas in games. Hear me out on this. Few so-called new ideas end up meaning much of anything (the only one I've seen that's held any weight, oddly enough, is deckbuilding). They come out, make some sort of splash, usually divisive, and are forgotten just as quickly as any other game that Michael might deem "unimportant." There's a reason for this and I'm sorry to disappoint the crowd eager to harp on Kickstarter at a moment's notice, but it isn't because there are too many games. It's that they actually aren't any fun. Of course, they're going to be fun for someone as anything is, but most of the time they're outside of the box for no reason other than to be outside of the box. There's a punk rock charm in that, I get it, but just as certain right-wing contrarians I know think that shitty ideas gives them an edgy outsider's opinion and that somehow makes them interesting, new ideas do not equate fun. That this is a criticism for some seems...well, kind of fucking stupid to me.

Now, I am going to refute that there isn't a new idea here. It may be more of a new wrinkle on deckbuilding, but I've not seen a deckbuilder that offers a different reward for not playing a card. It may not open up a huge new section of decision space, but it does change how you play the game vs other deckbuilders. I also don't think I've seen one so dedicated to flipping the script on the satisfaction of building a deck. You don't want to do that here, you want to select new cards carefully, cull often and liberally, or else you will really be at a disadvantage. This is a game the rewards efficiency, something many deckbuilders wants to do but don't because everything still rewards you.

I've played the game at least 15 times in just the last month. I enjoy it greatly. Greatest hits package it may be, I do not carry even a hint of lament over it's lack of new ideas, in fact, I celebrate it. The combined package is a great deal of fun and I keep coming back to it over and over again. To reinvent the wheel with every new game (and to go looking for that) is a guarantee on disappointing results.
Cambyses's Avatar
Cambyses replied the topic: #317819 08 Jan 2021 11:59
Michael, feel free to come in and correct what I am about to say.

I get the sense that "it doesn't do anything new" is the way Michael found words to put to a feeling that goes along the lines of "the game doesn't really excite me or make me want to play it, but there's nothing wrong with it." It's not that there is a problem, per se, with a game combining well-known elements and not introducing anything new. It's that there might not be enough to entice someone to want to buy and play it.

But with each "greatest hits" up for consideration, you have to see which side it falls under. Is the game an Italian ragu—which is really just meat/tomatoes/mirepoix cooked for a long time, but somehow they become a perfect, single dish—or is it Mary Kate and Ashley putting it on the pizza ?

Based on what I know about the reviewers here, Michael's personal "excitement threshold" is pretty high, and that's why he is always declaring New Hotnesses (the ERP, Warhammer's latest offering, etc). We all know that going into a Barnes review. I don't think there's anything wrong at all with Josh's perspective, either, and I'm glad to read both opinions.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #317824 08 Jan 2021 12:17

Josh Look wrote: You don't want to do that here, you want to select new cards carefully, cull often and liberally, or else you will really be at a disadvantage. This is a game the rewards efficiency, something many deckbuilders wants to do but don't because everything still rewards you.


Maybe I'm misunderstanding or missing something because I haven't played Dune Imperium, but I don't agree with these statements at all.

Deckbuilding, at it's very essence, is entirely about efficiency. It doesn't matter if every card rewards you because you are competing with other players in a race.

Additionally, the vast majority of deckbuilders share the key strategy of ruthlessly culling your deck.

Dominion illustrates both of these points expertly. Most every other deckbuilder I've played also follows suit.

It's why putting cards in your Vault in Tyrants is usually the best deck structure and why Chapel is perhaps the best card in Dominion.

The deckbuilding component of nearly every game that incorporates it is almost exclusively about efficiency and heavily rewards culling.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #317829 08 Jan 2021 12:32

charlest wrote:

Josh Look wrote: You don't want to do that here, you want to select new cards carefully, cull often and liberally, or else you will really be at a disadvantage. This is a game the rewards efficiency, something many deckbuilders wants to do but don't because everything still rewards you.


Maybe I'm misunderstanding or missing something because I haven't played Dune Imperium, but I don't agree with these statements at all.

Deckbuilding, at it's very essence, is entirely about efficiency. It doesn't matter if every card rewards you because you are competing with other players in a race.

Additionally, the vast majority of deckbuilders share the key strategy of ruthlessly culling your deck.

Dominion illustrates both of these points expertly. Most every other deckbuilder I've played also follows suit.

It's why putting cards in your Vault in Tyrants is usually the best deck structure and why Chapel is perhaps the best card in Dominion.

The deckbuilding component of nearly every game that incorporates it is almost exclusively about efficiency and heavily rewards culling.


What I'm saying is that other deckbuilders allow you to play your entire hand, this you still reap some sort of reward, albeit a small one. You don't do that in Dune Imperium, out of hand of 5, and in some cases 6 or 7 cards, you'll only play 2 or 3 of them. The rest might give you a reward when you discard them, though that is not guaranteed as many of the better cards offer no discard effect or require certain types of cards to be in play as well. You will end up with cards that you can't do literally anything with at times.

You're not wrong about efficiency in other deckbuilders and I did say that's the point in any of them, what I'm saying is that Dune offers even less wiggle room for not culling. That need for efficiency is really dialed in here.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #317832 08 Jan 2021 13:14
Had some time to think about it on my way in to work, and think this is where the difference is:

Those deckbuilders are a race to one goal. Here, you have 5 races going on, 4 of them feed into one but are still important in their own right, built on top of worker placement (another efficiency exercise) as well setting yourself up in the battle or making sure you're going into next rounds battle in good shape. You want in on all of that and you only have 2 or 3 actions each round to do it in. Other deckbuilders are at least playable if you don't cull, but here with how it all works, you could end up being able to do nothing of value.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #317838 08 Jan 2021 14:10
It sounds like Dune: Imperium is in the running for Cromulent Game of the Year.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #317841 08 Jan 2021 15:03
Obviously, I wasn't at the Dune: Imperium pitch meeting but I suspect it went like this:
*Drops Scythe on the Table*
Make this. Combine and streamline some tried and true mechanics into a smooth running game. Give them interesting choices but give them mechanics they can slip into easily. Don't make a gateway game but don't scare anyone off. Slight asymmetry, make the Dune IP fit, we are in for the long game, we want this to sell now and five years from now. We will make an upgrade kit for the KS crowd that is equal to the price of the base game to appease those looking for chrome. We want a damn good game but anything that is going to put this into specialty territory like truly different faction actions/goals in the original game or Root, save that for the expansions. Build an in-game timer, we don't want this running over a couple of hours. And (to steal a line from Josh Look about Terraforming Mars) make them feel smart when they win but make the games close.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #317846 08 Jan 2021 15:41
Great review.

I'm keen to play this as part of the mop-up I do at the end of every year, trying to make sure I've got sight of the most significant releases of the past 12 months.

You've not put me off. This kind of incremental improvement on existing designs is where 99% of new board games are right now. That's not surprising given the pace of releases and the inherent limitations of the medium. Most just make life difficult for everyone, being trivially better or worse than some existing title.

So when one does break the surface thanks to all the parts coming together, I still feel it's something worth taking note of. It's like sometimes you go into a craft shop and you see something you've seen a million times before: a table, say, or a hat. But this one is so well made, it makes you stop and take notice.

Apropos of nothing, Dune: Imperium is almost impossible to get in the UK right now thanks to Brexit. Direwolf can't be bothered sorting the customs out and even a number of pre-orders have been stalled.
Msample's Avatar
Msample replied the topic: #317851 08 Jan 2021 16:52

WadeMonnig wrote: Obviously, I wasn't at the Dune: Imperium pitch meeting but I suspect it went like this:
*Drops Scythe on the Table*
Make this. Combine and streamline some tried and true mechanics into a smooth running game. Give them interesting choices but give them mechanics they can slip into easily. Don't make a gateway game but don't scare anyone off. Slight asymmetry, make the Dune IP fit, we are in for the long game, we want this to sell now and five years from now. We will make an upgrade kit for the KS crowd that is equal to the price of the base game to appease those looking for chrome. We want a damn good game but anything that is going to put this into specialty territory like truly different faction actions/goals in the original game or Root, save that for the expansions. Build an in-game timer, we don't want this running over a couple of hours. And (to steal a line from Josh Look about Terraforming Mars) make them feel smart when they win but make the games close.


If they used SCYTHE at a pitch meeting I would have walked out.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #317854 08 Jan 2021 17:30

Msample wrote:

WadeMonnig wrote: Obviously, I wasn't at the Dune: Imperium pitch meeting but I suspect it went like this:
*Drops Scythe on the Table*
Make this. Combine and streamline some tried and true mechanics into a smooth running game. Give them interesting choices but give them mechanics they can slip into easily. Don't make a gateway game but don't scare anyone off. Slight asymmetry, make the Dune IP fit, we are in for the long game, we want this to sell now and five years from now. We will make an upgrade kit for the KS crowd that is equal to the price of the base game to appease those looking for chrome. We want a damn good game but anything that is going to put this into specialty territory like truly different faction actions/goals in the original game or Root, save that for the expansions. Build an in-game timer, we don't want this running over a couple of hours. And (to steal a line from Josh Look about Terraforming Mars) make them feel smart when they win but make the games close.


If they used SCYTHE at a pitch meeting I would have walked out.


If it was anything like Scythe, I wouldn't like it as much as I do. Though Scythe is like the other outcome, no new ideas AND it's not fun.

Also, this was very good read, Michael, and your point about who else the IP has inspired is very good. My disagreement with the importance of new ideas in games.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #317855 08 Jan 2021 17:31

Msample wrote: If they used SCYTHE at a pitch meeting I would have walked out.

A game that has sold consistently for the last four years, resided on both the hotness and in the top 20 on BGG for those years, that people still post about to this day and doesn't box out players who are even slightly above casual and literally created a brand for Stonemaier games? Love, hate or feel indifferent about the game itself, anyone who is looking for a success in board game arena can't argue with it's sucess.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #317856 08 Jan 2021 17:31
Almost zero games are pretty enough to be Scythe. If Scythe looked like Dune: Imperium, nobody would be talking about Scythe anymore.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #317858 08 Jan 2021 17:40

Josh Look wrote: If it was anything like Scythe, I wouldn't like it as much as I do.


I'm not saying it is anything like Scythe in anything but the idea to combine some good/tried and true game mechanics into something that allows it to be a success on a higher level than a typical hotness release. Apparently, I am awful at explaining this.
P.S. Really digging Dune: Imperium from what I have played so far.
Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #317859 08 Jan 2021 17:49
I'm not a big WP fan at all, and I still haven't read Dune, so the odds of me picking this up are pretty low.

If we still had regular game meetups, the odds of me playing it would probably be high though. Not sure when that'll be.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #317871 08 Jan 2021 19:47

WadeMonnig wrote: A game that has sold consistently for the last four years, resided on both the hotness and in the top 20 on BGG for those years, that people still post about to this day and doesn't box out players who are even slightly above casual and literally created a brand for Stonemaier games? Love, hate or feel indifferent about the game itself, anyone who is looking for a success in board game arena can't argue with it's sucess.


Exactly. This is what I was suggesting their design goals may have been. They may have hit higher than intended, but they may have been trying to keep it in a space that hit for a lot of people by not trying to break the box (in a manner of speaking.)
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #317873 08 Jan 2021 20:42

WadeMonnig wrote:

Josh Look wrote: If it was anything like Scythe, I wouldn't like it as much as I do.


I'm not saying it is anything like Scythe in anything but the idea to combine some good/tried and true game mechanics into something that allows it to be a success on a higher level than a typical hotness release. Apparently, I am awful at explaining this.
P.S. Really digging Dune: Imperium from what I have played so far.


No sweat, I got you, fam.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #317882 09 Jan 2021 10:28

WadeMonnig wrote: Obviously, I wasn't at the Dune: Imperium pitch meeting but I suspect it went like this:
*Drops Scythe on the Table*
Make this. Combine and streamline some tried and true mechanics into a smooth running game. Give them interesting choices but give them mechanics they can slip into easily. Don't make a gateway game but don't scare anyone off. Slight asymmetry, make the Dune IP fit, we are in for the long game, we want this to sell now and five years from now. We will make an upgrade kit for the KS crowd that is equal to the price of the base game to appease those looking for chrome. We want a damn good game but anything that is going to put this into specialty territory like truly different faction actions/goals in the original game or Root, save that for the expansions. Build an in-game timer, we don't want this running over a couple of hours. And (to steal a line from Josh Look about Terraforming Mars) make them feel smart when they win but make the games close.


This has about 10x more detail than any pitch meeting I’ve ever heard :D