Saturday, September 28, 1996

Dune Game (9/28/1996)

Players: Joshua (Guild), Mike B (Fremen), Mike C (Emporer), Nazim (Harkonnen), Scott (Bene Gesserit)

Dune it is. The Fremen placed their troops near Tuek's Sietch and in Sietch Tabr (right by the spice blow), putting them in a strong position already, but Harkonnen was lured by the spice and held a quasi-threat against the Fremen city after the colletion round. As you can see, the game started with no Atreides, which left Arrakeen open for whomever wanted it and left us in the dark when we bid on Treachery Cards. The Emporer and Guild battled over the empty city first, with three Saurdukar up against a dozen or so Guild troops, which of course, meant that the Guild squeaked out a victory.

Undaunted, the Emporer went for Carthag next round, a move that the Emporer believed would convince Harkonnen to fight the Guild in Arrakeen, but instead, Harkonnen reinforced Carthag and left the spice for a hungry Bene Gesserit. The Fremen became even more dangerous when they took over Habbanya Ridge Sietch, and with their proximity to Tuek's (and Sietch Tabr already in their pocket) they were looking mighty mighty. Carthag went to Harkonnen (doesn't it always), and the Emporer appeared pretty beaten and bruised. The Guild went for spice just above Arrakeen, opening them up to another attack, and the B.G. continued to mass in the Polar Sink (hole); meanwhile the storm parked itself over Sietch Tabr, thus allowing the Fremen to commit troops all over the board.

The Guild then donated spice to Harkonnen so that the latter could stop the Fremen from ending the game. It was the first time in all our memories that Joshua did something so wonderful, so selfless, so benevoleant, and we thank him for having us in his presence when the blessed event took place.

Harkonnen brought some of his tired troops into Habbanya, and the Fremen (aren't we always talking about them?) moved out to the rocks and were thus no threat to end the game by sweeping into Tuek's. The Guild moved back into Arrakeen, the Emporer and Bene Gesserit took the round off to collect their thoughts, and STILL no worms so no alliances (and boy did I need one). Next round, the Emporer fought Harkonnen over Carthag again (must be good-looking 'ores there), but this time the Baron (Harkonnen) could not reinforce from on-planet, so he split off three troops from Habbanya to pursue spice. Seeing this, the B.G. moved non-advisors into the partially-vacated city, while the Fremen finally attacked Tuek's Sietch, convincing the Guild to call a special conference in Arrakeen (all Guild required to attend). The Shield/Lasegun brought all that Carthag business to an ugly close, Harkonnen collected his spice and lost Habbanya to "those bitches" in religious garb.

The Bene Gesserit bought erroneous storm information from the Fremen, and thus did not play Weather Control, a crucial mistake as Habbanya was now vulnerable to attack, which the Guild gladly provided. In fact, the Guild went for the win by splitting forces between Arrakeen and Carthag in addition to Habbanya, and the chase for a longer game was on again. With donations from Harkonnen and the Emporer, the B.G. guaranteed a victory over the Guild in Habbanya, and the Baron attacked a weakened Guild in Carthag while the Emporer spent the round recovering from the force of that Lasegun. The Fremen then surprised few when they marched troops into Arrakeen, and the combination of that city with Sietch Tabr (which they occupied from the start) and Tuek's Sietch gave them the win when the Guild could offer little resistance (due to lousy cards). So the Fremen were finally free men (which hadn't happened in a long time), and the rest of us had to "pound sand" as slaves to Dune's natives.

A word from our winner, Mike B

"It may have looked like patience and cunning were what gave the Fremen the win. However, part of the victory must go to stubborn pride. The way the spice came up in the game (which was remarkably short, all things considered), Harkonen always had a shot at it. His offer to let me get it and pay him for not attacking offended my native sensibilities, so I preferred to remain poor and weaponless through the whole game. Also I didn't want to fight the Baron without any weapon. I believe it was just good fortune that all the other players except the Guild slaughtered each other, and then the Guild made a play for victory without weapons or overwhelming force.

"I was pretty surprised to win the game with one battle. If I had gone along with the Harkie offer, I would have obtained cards, and may well have been more aggressive, and who knows what would have happened. In retrospect, I think that in most of the games the Fremen can successfully adopt a wait untill the other guys finish each other off strategy, just by lurking near three cities ready to pounce."

Scott's words to live by:
- Sometimes, a lack of alliances makes this game feel a bit like McMulti
- Did the Fremen deliberately hose me with bad storm-movement information? Just to win the game? Can't be, can it?
- The Emporer aptly pointed out that it's easier to play when you know the other players, something he learned during those massive and unexpected wars with Harkonnen
- Happy Birthday to Lori (8/2) and Mike C. (8/4).

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