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2-4 Players Can Fight Like Demons in the New Dune (2021) - Review

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20 Oct 2021 14:20 #327341 by Michael Barnes
    Folks, I want you to know...

The sleeper has re-awakened.

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21 Oct 2021 09:59 #327342 by dysjunct
How does it compare to Rex: Final Days of an Empire?
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21 Oct 2021 10:08 - 21 Oct 2021 10:08 #327343 by Michael Barnes
1. it’s actually Dune and not a soulless Ghola
2. I don’t think Rex really supported lower player counts
Last edit: 21 Oct 2021 10:08 by Michael Barnes.
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21 Oct 2021 10:21 #327344 by hotseatgames
Great, and surprising, review! I can't believe I'm actually thinking about picking this up. I bought the 2019 reprint, excited to finally get to play Dune. I got a group together and we played it exactly one time. I had the full complement of 6 players. The game went WAY too long, I think 4 hours.

It has slept on the shelf ever since, and these days getting 6 players is pretty much an impossibility for me.
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21 Oct 2021 12:03 - 21 Oct 2021 12:10 #327348 by sornars
I'm getting a crew of six together this Saturday to watch the film at the IMAX and then play the original afterwards. I assume we're going to end up either being friends for life or hating each other by the end of it all. It's going to be all of our first time so here's hoping it doesn't drag on too long!

This review suggests that this game is right sort of modernisation; it stands in contrast to some of Restoration Game's efforts by acknowledging that subtracting things is often better than adding more stuff on.
Last edit: 21 Oct 2021 12:10 by sornars.
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21 Oct 2021 16:21 #327349 by Erik Twice

sornars wrote: I'm getting a crew of six together this Saturday to watch the film at the IMAX and then play the original afterwards. I assume we're going to end up either being friends for life or hating each other by the end of it all. It's going to be all of our first time so here's hoping it doesn't drag on too long!

Ha, you are doing exactly what I wanted to do a couple weeks ago!

I know you may have read my article on what rules to use so I only want to make one suggestion. If you have a big tablet and don't mind some digital assistance, try out Atreides Mentat so they can track who has which cards. I've found it easier and better than pen and paper, just disable deck tracking.
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22 Oct 2021 08:01 #327354 by Nodens
Thanks for a great read.
I strongly disagree on one point:

'They never did of course because it’s weird that I did that and frankly I would have been creeped out myself had I found such a note on my car. But come on, cut me some slack.'

Not only am I cutting you slack here, I think you made the world a better place. I once dropped a note in the mailbox of a newbuilt house in my street after seeing a wall full of games from the street. I was aware of the creepiness factor so I gave my own adress (felt only fair since I was standing in front of theirs). That person replied and we played games weekly for years. A great dude whom I maybe never would have met had he put up his curtains earlier.
It may be 'weird' behaviour but I am convinced it is far more personal and interesting than only using designated groups on the internet. Mainly because I am more and more convinced that a huge amount of people who are fun to play games with need nothing more than a curious disposition.
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22 Oct 2021 11:15 #327360 by san il defanso
Man, I didn't think I needed this. I have a copy of the French version that I last played in... *checks calendar*...2015. And in truth I don't often do THAT well with heavy diplomacy and negotiation. This might be something I need to get, because between the shorter playtime and somewhat less free-wheeling format it might be a better fit for me.

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24 Oct 2021 15:13 #327384 by jason10mm
Did anyone ever leave a note in your car about wanting to play???? :)

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25 Oct 2021 11:37 #327411 by Cranberries
Is this version going to show up at Target? It's so tempting.

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25 Oct 2021 12:01 - 25 Oct 2021 12:05 #327414 by JoelCFC25
Stealing from Dune Discord--it's DUNIOR!

This has been getting a surprisingly great reception from grizzled Dune veterans. There's a lot to be said for hitting a more attainable player count and trimming the core of the experience down to something you can play multiple times in an evening--very savvy goals that it seems they achieved while retaining enough of the thematic essence.

If nothing else it's awesome to chuck overboard all the rules variants, the vague language, the miles-long threads about Truthtrances chock full of passive-aggression, and all the other baggage of the original that accumulated over the years. Not to worry, I'll still leap at the chance to play every time, just give me a time and a location and I'm there--but sometimes you just want to poison Stilgar or put a hunter-seeker in someone's melon without all the overhead and time for auctions, remembering corner cases, and all the rest.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that the TTS for this went on the workshop over the weekend, so you can give it a shot now.
Last edit: 25 Oct 2021 12:05 by JoelCFC25.
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26 Oct 2021 08:54 #327435 by Michael Barnes
Good points and you know what, that resonates with the film…put everything that isn’t critical to the central storyline and oppositions in the background. Judiciously pare down the detail to arrive at an essential experience. I can’t say that on my playing of Duneior that I’ve missed Karama, Truthtrances, the auctions or the Guild. I like all that stuff sure but the absence of those things and their rules hasn’t diminished the experience.

The 2 player game is such a revelation to me. It whittled everything down to Atreides/Fremen and Harkonnen/Imperium, which is the core narrative. The treachery/intrigue angle is still present and in the combined powers and the cards there are ‘ore specific story and world elements. I was really iffy about the way the cards are done - I was worried about having action card type features but that actually relocates and reduces a lot of rules and manages specific details.
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29 Oct 2021 00:19 - 29 Oct 2021 00:20 #327526 by san il defanso
I played a game of this on TTS with a few friends. I won in turn 5 as the Harkonnen, partially through the use of a Traitor to nab a stronghold from the Fremen. Our game had all the classic Dune moments. Lots of traitors, a lasgun explosion, the storm and the worms wrecking different people.

It's really good, I'm definitely going to try to chase down a copy. It has all of that same tension and drama from the original 1979 game, and impressively it feels like it's about 90% the same game. The four factions feel like they all have strong options for how they can win, and for once it's nice playing without having to establish how your table will interpret the ruleset. Separating out the market cards and the battle cards is a good move, as is making the battle cards an automatic draw. To be honest, while the auction being gone feels weird at first, it does little to make the game feel any less dynamic. This is very much a condensed version of Dune, in a way that Rex couldn't possibly touch.

Not gonna lie, I do miss the diplomacy, negotiations, and alliances. That was one thing that made the original game feel really vibrant. I also do have an appreciation for the slower pace of the original game, although I think this new version does just fine by condensing that pace into five turns.

So yeah, it's definitely Dune, and it definitely is very good, possibly great. The old Future Pastimes crew should be applauded for editing this game down like they did. The original is a classic, and still extremely playable, but this is a version that will likely play much better to modern sensibilities.
Last edit: 29 Oct 2021 00:20 by san il defanso.
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29 Oct 2021 12:20 #327538 by Michael Barnes
Yeah. I do miss some of the fleshiness and wildness of the original, but I think of the trade off is a game that you’ll actually play more than once a year or whatever then I’ll take it.

Losing the auction was a bigger deal than I thought, it really does trim the runtime and I don’t feel like too much is lost in its absence other than that fun moment when you bid up a card you know is junk.

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30 Oct 2021 18:29 #327576 by Erik Twice
I'm increasingly of the opinion that the auction is one of Dune's weak points. It's an absolutely brilliant mechanism in countless ways but it does just take too long. If you take just one minute per card, that's an entire hour of play if the game goes for ten rounds. That's too long and I can imagine there must be a way to auction several cards at once without losing the appeal.

I am thinking of one small trick, though. Instead of putting the cards face-down on the table and letting Atreides pick them up one by one, I'm thinking of giving them a card holder and auctioning them from there. This way, Atreides doesn't have to check every time they forget which card is being auction, which they will.

I think a small trick like this could save a massive amount of time.
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