Saturday, May 3, 1997

Dune Game (5/3/1997)

Players: Anne (Harkonnen), Joshua (Bene Gesserit), Mike C. (Atreides), Scott (Guild), Vishal (Fremen)

In Spice Harvest, The Fremen bid 9 spice to become Harvest Manager and proceeded uneventfully through an eight-spice gathering. Unfortunately, he spent all his spice on one Access card, and consequently, the job passed to Atreides, who pocketed an extra three spice (out of another small harvest) when the BG and Guild disagreed with his distribution formula. For some strange reason, Harkonnen got the majority of the spice as we moved to the surface of Dune, and was off and running with a lot of cards that the BG claimed put her in the lead. No harvest in turn three when Atreides bought an extra card and got wormed, and when the job passed back to The Fremen, it fell to Atreides again because the poor Fremen couldn't scrape together the necessary spice to keep the job, and fell further when Atreides purposely spent all their cash to pass it to Harkonnen. Harkie then made out by announcing lower than actual and paying The Fremen handsomely and paying Atreides just enough to get their vote. (Ummm... that is they paid one spice for a "yes" vote -- which upset the BG to no end. Not suprising, then that the BG got hosed in shares next round, too.) Final round, Harkonnen announced ten spice harvested, and distributed only nine, which left the door open for a successful challenge -- with all four votes going "thumbs down." Twice in this game, someone got skunked for a single spice. Greed, greed, greed. Tsk tsk.

Well, on to the game. After trading Access cards, Harkonnen got Arrakeen, The Guild got Carthag (trading most of the Access cards for spice because the half-rate shipment made it worthwhile), The Fremen got spice only (and precious little of that), Atreides got Habbanya, and The Bene Gesserit took Tuek's Sietch. Auctions on Treachery cards were spirited because people didn't mind paying a lot for them -- as long as it went to the bank and not The Emporer. Based on knowledge of Access cards, The BG claimed that Harkonnen was the player to beat, and then twice sent a single troop into Atreides' zones to fight with a strength of 6 (guaranteed survival of the leader) and soak off some green counters. The Fremen appeared just above the Great Flat (for spice) and moved half their troops into Sietch Tabr, and seeing this, The Guild reinforced Carthag and Atreides moved into the Imperial Basin, waiting for scraps. Harkonnen shipped down a few more to Arrakeen, and The BG went along for the ride.

Next round found The Fremen in Carthag (in force), and one of the BG/Atreides skirmishes broiling in Habbanya. The Guild defeated The Fremen but was left with only three troops, as the storm moved past Tuek's and toward the dreaded Shield Wall. The Bene Gesserit then shipped to a spice blow near Habbanya, and Atreides abandonded the city for that spice (and blew away the BG). The Fremen hoard returned from the tanks to park right outside Carthag, and a "conservative" Guild took and empty Habbanya with 6 (of their best) men. Three players took Choam Charity (including the first time we've ever seen The Guild do so), and ten spice blew in right next to Tuek's Sietch. The Bene Gesserit swarmed all over it, and Atreides called a summit with The Fremen and Guild leaders. Emerging from a smoke-filled foyer, The Guild cross-planet shipped from Habbanya to Tuek's, and agreed not to fight The Fremen in Carthag (in return for the spice that allowed that shipment).

The BG guessed right ("Do not play a projectile weapon") and saved their leader but still lost the fight. The Guild threw the battle in Carthag, and The Fremen looked mighty powerful, with two cities and a smallish Harkonnen force in Arrakeen. The Storm locked up Sietch Tabr, and The Fremen split the Cathag force to invade Arrakeen. The BG and Guild needed a round to regroup before mounting another offensive, and most players thought Harkonnen would destroy The Fremen, what with six cards and all, so Atreides ignored the possible attack in Carthag and awaited the outcome. Atreides helped Harkonnen (to prolong the game) while The BG aided The Fremen (to get it over with), and once Atreides saw those magical 6 cards, he wished he'd taken on the Fremen, too. No weapons meant little chance for victory, and with the BG using a Truthtrance to reveal some of Harkonnen's battle plan, Vishal had little trouble winning the city and claiming victory his first Dune game. Cleaned our clocks again, giving him a 50% winning percentage in our group.

A word from our winner, Vishal

"I was pretty surprised to win the game with one battle. I think I had an advantage in playing The Fremen, as I could put my troops on the board without any cost. First I sent my troops to Sietch Tabr and then to Carthag. I think other players should have taken this move very seriously. Now to win the game I needed one more city, so my next goal was Arrakeen which was held by Harkonnen. I won the battle and eventually the game by using my best leader and a poison weapon. So the bottom line is: Any time a player has two cities assume that his next move will be for the game and do your best to block him."

Scott's words to live by:
- Read the web page: Joshua told us last time that a weakly held city should be taken away, but none of us ever went after Sietch Tabr
- Don't assume that new players are less of a threat than experienced ones
- Be persistent about getting the winner's tip if you want a timely web page
- Keep this up, Vishal, and we'll send Deep Blue after you

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