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The Sietch on the Borderlands- Arrakis: Dawn of the Fremen Review

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14 Jul 2022 14:06 #334239 by Michael Barnes
In 1982 EON (the groundbreaking design team of Olotka, Kitteredge,...

Brother, can you spare a worm tooth?

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14 Jul 2022 16:30 #334240 by hotseatgames
Great review! I'm interested in this one. Sadly, I can't even remember the last time I actually got 4 players to the table.

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14 Jul 2022 18:35 #334243 by Jackwraith
Agreed. Solid work on this one. I never played the original Borderlands, so it's intriguing. However, I also know that it would be a difficult sell to most of my regular groups. I've managed to get them to play mild negotiation games like Rising Sun and have pushed the idea forward in sessions of Oath, but there's been some friction when I try to take it past that. Our one attempt at New Angeles didn't go well, for example. (I still have it because I love the setting and like the game.) So, I'm tempted but think I'll stay in the sietch for a while on this one. Don't need anything new on the shelf these days, anyway.
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14 Jul 2022 18:58 #334244 by charlest
Still need to get a few plays of this in and review it myself. Other stuff blocking it at the moment but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it so much.

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14 Jul 2022 19:47 #334246 by Michael Barnes
Yeah, I hear y’all- this is not an easy game to table. It’s not overly complicated or excessively long but it actually kind of requires a different skill set than most modern designs. But it is coming into a space where it is going up against stuff like rising Sun as Jackwraith mentioned and those other Eric Lang area control games. It’s so interactive and everything is so codependent on shared space and mutual agreements, someone coming to this even from recent area control games might be shocked at how much you’ve got to -talk- in this game.

It really is a “playable” Diplomacy in a lot of ways, but it’s not hot garbage like that influential but awful game is. It’s also close to Catan in ways, I’ve heard Teuber didn’t know the design but there is a clear through line…and given that Catan is now out of favor somehow…

But I do think EON disciples, Duneaholics, and those interested in mechanisms other than drafting and action selection will find much of interest.
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15 Jul 2022 19:53 #334279 by WadeMonnig
Dune has hit peak Star Wars where I can't keep track of which game is which.
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19 Jul 2022 12:06 #334328 by Mantuanwar
You have totally sold it to me Michael. Never owned Borderlands or played it, though aware of it in the 80s when I got into Dune and Cosmic Encounter. Got a little interested when Gearworld came out, but the theme did nothing for me.
Now I find myself a sucker for all things Dune, and my enthusiasm and admiration for all things EON is also riding high. Their influence on a wide spread of games post-1977 is incalculable. So I am in!
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20 Aug 2022 15:59 - 20 Aug 2022 16:00 #335125 by charlest
I'm writing my review of Arrakis this weekend, and I keep coming back to this article. I'm not nearly as enamored with this design as you, Michael. There's certainly some weird and interesting dynamics at work, but it's a surprisingly drama-less design that really comes up short of Eon's previous two titles. I don't see this game succeeding on its third shot.
Last edit: 20 Aug 2022 16:00 by charlest.
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20 Aug 2022 18:10 #335129 by Michael Barnes
If the drama doesn’t happen between players in the negotiating and dealing, it’s not going to happen in e mechanics. It is a pretty blank slate- it really requires a certain buy-in and if that doesn’t happen, I’m not surprised to hear about it flopping. It’s definitely not as immediate or accessible, which is why it’s kind of the “other” EON game. Among like 3-4 others that just didn’t have the groundbreaking traction of a Cosmic and Dune.
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20 Aug 2022 19:03 #335130 by charlest
The funny thing is, we negotiate in everything. Even games which don't expect negotiation.

In my three plays of this, it just seems like often a temporary alliance can't sway a battle, or the trading is handcuffed since it's limited to the trade phase. There's no provision to actually just give someone something whenever you want, which is odd in a game that wants you to negotiate heavily.
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21 Aug 2022 01:30 #335136 by Michael Barnes
Yeah, there is sort of odd formality to it…like, it’s a different kind of negotiation than in a more free-wheeling game. Like, shipping rights are sometimes a better barter than helping in a fight. And the whole thing with the players potentially electing to end the game is kind of weird.

Truth be told, even though I love this game I’ve had a very spotty track record introducing it to others over the years. I’ve had players love it and then others that just didn’t gel with it like what seems to have happened with your group. Definitely not a “for everybody” kind of game.
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21 Aug 2022 09:35 #335140 by charlest
To be clear, I'm not totally down on this game. I think there are some very interesting things going on and really like certain aspects.

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