Saturday, July 13, 1996

Dune Game (7/13/1996)

Players: Anne (Harkonnen), Ray (Atreides), Joshua (Guild), Mike (Bene Gesserit), Scott (Fremen)

We skipped Spice Harvest because of the Ray's inexperience at
Dune and the fact that we'd promised that we would finish a bit earlier than usual (Guild leader had some prior commitments). The Fremen started strong, with Sietch Tabr, Habbanya Ridge Sietch and some spice gathered between Habbanya and the Polar Sink (that brought early treachery cards). Bene Gesserit waited a full two rounds before blowing the Shield Wall, which wiped Harkonnen out of Carthag, and the Fremen tried for a quick win but were turned away by Atreides. All this early action left Harkonnen licking her wounds, Bene Gesserit threatening havoc in Sietch Tabr (after bringing about massive havoc with Family Atomics), the Guild complaining about lack of revenue, and Atreides and the Fremen battling for the early advantage. Then came the nexus.

Harkonnen and the Bene Gesserit quickly allied, leaving the Guild lobbying to join the Atreides team and the Fremen holding out for a solo win. Atreides finally took pity and combined forces with the Guild, who implored his newfound rich uncle, "Go for the quick win. It's your best hope." Fourteen of the best Guild troops shipped into Habbanya, while Atreides used the Hajar to even his forces at eight apiece in Carthag and Arrakeen. The Harkonnen/B.G. alliance wiped out the Guild forces at Tuek's Sietch (not that the Guild cared), and the Fremen slipped seven troops out of Habbanya and pulled a Shield/Lasegun combo to leave 19 Guild troops in the tanks (that, the Guild definitely cared about). The Worm turned once again and the Guild found themselves ally-less.

The Fremen brought the storm around with Weather Control, wiping out the bulk of Atreides' troops in the two northern cities, and immediately plunked down a force of seven in Arrakeen to fight for the win. The Guild then put a token force (and I do mean a token force) in Carthag, and Atreides rested on this, the seventh round. Harkonnen held Tuek's Sietch and attacked the lone orange counter in Carthag, while her Bene Gesserit ally used a Worthless/Karama to move 10 troops into Arrakeen. The Fremen, knowing that defeat in Arrakeen was inevitable, saved their Karama and Truthtrance to help the Guild with the closer contest in Carthag; but nothing could stop the husband/wife hometeam alliance, and the Harkonnen/Bene Gesserit juggernaut took Dune during the stormiest day of the year.

A word from our winners, Anne & Mike

"Dune reminds us of fighting someone while both of you are on a log floating in the river. You've got to topple the other while keeping your own balance. Sudden strikes often cost you as much as your opponent. In Dune, of course, there are six people fighting on the log.

"This win didn't have any amazing new strategies or tricks, just a complete focus on the basics. Instead of our tips, here are our reminders:

"You don't need strongholds to be in the game, you only need them to win. We stayed flexible and didn't commit any major forces anywhere until we made our strike. Even then we held some in reserve, just in case. We kept our balance.

"If you're not the Emporer or Guild and don't have either of them as a patron, don't forget the spice. The Bene Gesserit wandered through the sand in search of spice, fought tooth and nail for spice, were devoured by worms while harvesting spice, and were sandblasted by the storm after collecting spice. But if not for the one harvest that went well, the alliance wouldn't have been able to ship down the force to win."

Scott's words to live by:
- This epic game of Dune had more twists and turns than hurricane Bertha (and was rockier and rollier, too)
- Playing without the Emperor kept travel to a minimum and treachery cards pretty cheap -- both factors ganging up on the already handicapped Guild
- Man oh man; were those tanks overflowing. I mean filled like I've never seen
- Happy Birthday to my sister Lisa (7/16)

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