-Don't sit around. Be bold. The game can be over really quickly before you can do
anything. When you have enough force, make a quick swift move for the win, and have tricks
up your sleeve.
-Watch out if someone slips a token into one of your large armies. He may be preparing to wipe you off that territory then moving in with a bigger force.
Fremen are really poor at the beginning, but can afford to sacrifice troops because of their high revival rate. They only become strong near the end of the game.
The Bene Gesserit harder to play and should be used by more experienced players. They are strongest in an alliance. They have the ability to voice the opponents weapons/defenses.
The Guild won't have much shortage of money in the game, but they have weak leaders and are generally weak in battle. They have extra movement abilities. They are strong in the middle of the game.
The Atreides have no stable income, but they have the ability to see the future, as in the next spice blow, one part of the enemy's battle plan, and the treachery cards up for bid. They are strongest in an alliance.
The Emperor has a steady income from the treachery cards, and is strongest in the middle of the game.
The Harkonnen can have extra treachery cards which give them a big edge in combat. They are strongest at the beginning of the game.
Start of the game:
The best place to start your 10 troops on planet is generally in one stack on False Wall South. This is because you can bring tokens for free onto the other side of the board if the spice does blow there, and therefore gives you great coverage of the entire board with your two movement rate. Don't split the stacks - in the first few rounds you will most likely have to dial high to win battles, and you will have little cash to back troops. Have 1 Fedaykin in your starting stack, but no more than that as your troops are most mobile when they are off-board.
Probably the most important thing to emphasize is that you need to start spice grubbing straight away if you hope to be a power in the game, but be careful with your leaders. No-win battles with Harkonnen can be especially painful as you will lose two leaders if they remember to steal the extra leader that they get when they win a battle. Incidentally, you are under no obligation to remind them should they forget. Early on you should not be afraid to let some troops die before the storm in order to grab some spice that everyone else is afraid to chase. Try to avoid battles...but somehow or other you've got to get spice and treachery cards!
Against the other powers:
Guild: If and when you must fight the other powers, your
easiest battles will tend to be with Guild, who can pull few surprises and over whom you
have an advantage in both troops and leaders. Despite that, the main reason you'd fight
Guild would be in a seitch for the game because it's not likely you'll see them spice
Harkonnen and Atreides: They are both dangerous as they tend to have good leaders and cards. If you ever see a weak Harkonnen with few cards you can give them a good kicking as they can't really pull any surprises...other than traitors! Don't be fooled by relatively low numbers of Harkonnen or Atreides troops - in the early game they can often rely on killing your leader and saving their own, so you have to be capable of outdialling the total of leader + troops. That said, if you're going to win you are inevitably going to have to fight one or other of them for spice.
Bene Gesserit: Aren't too bad to fight; sure, they have the Voice, but they tend to have so few tokens on planet that you can often out-dial them just on troops.
Emperor: He is a pretty even match - you have better leaders and their Sardaukar don't count against you - but early in the game they can be dangerous as they will almost certainly hold more treachery cards and spice than you do.
Winning the game:
All that said, until you actually try to capture sietches and win the game, the people you are most likely to come into conflict with are Harkonnen and Atreides, as none of the other powers have quite the same need to chase the spice blow.
Your best opportunities to win the game occur with a Karama or a Hajr because of the combination of surprise and mobility that they give you. But if you are lucky enough to get a worm under a largish stack, consider going in to Arrakeen or Carthag - that way you will have ornithoptors at the start of movement (and you can always flee the battle if it looks unwinnable).
Don't try and protract the game for a turn 15 win as a deliberate strategy. Your special win condition is almost impossible to pull off given that Guild will move last and jump on your weakest stack.
All tips assume a six player, advanced level game.
Dune Character tips in order of most to least powerful characters:
Although this character suffers from lack of leaders, and spice can be hit or miss depending on other players shipping, this character is the strongest on the board due to their ability to always take the last turn. The smart strategy is to hold Tuek's Sietch and place a large contingent of armies (whatever you don't have in Tuek’s Sietch) in a mountainous area adjoining either Arrakeen or Sietch Tabr (preferred choice). Then, wait until the time is right and other players have forgotten about you, then simply move as many men as needed to take Sietch Tabr and ship the rest across planet to the easiest to take Sietch (usually Habannya Ridge). Good competition will try to prevent this, but you can wait as long as need be for a similar chance to develop. Going last means no one can counter your move; they can only hope to take preventive measures, and let’s face it, they usually have their own concerns on their mind. Guild should choose to take their turn last in all but the rarest of cases.
Many might consider Emperor the strongest character as they almost always have money, and five Sardaukar are a terrific advantage. My preferred strategy with Emperor is to collect spice the first bidding round. Most people make the mistake of trying to get cards, on but the first round, it is better to accumulate wealth. Only bid enough to drive other people to bid higher. Then take five Sardaukar and maybe a few regular armies and drop them in Arrakeen. Unless Atreides didn't buy any cards and sometimes even if they didn't, they cannot beat your number dialed. Play your lowest leader in case it gets killed. The number you dial is all you need to concern yourself with. Keep tabs on how much money Atreides has spent on cards and/or shipping. Only dial high enough to beat his remaining armies and # five leader. Usually the Sardaukar are enough to beat him. You now have Arrakeen which allows you to move three territories each turn. The rest is up to you.
Some may place the Harkonnen here but BG is actually the stronger character. For one, you can predict another character to win, and work to make that happen. Most predictions should be for the third or fourth turn, usually third, because after that you are strong enough on your own to win. The voice is the strongest player advantage going. Being able to force someone to play a card or not play a card ensures you either kill their leader or keep yours alive. Since everyone of your leaders are worth five, you can often win battles with just one army. This applies particularly on the first turn, and later in the game after everyone has whittled each other down. On the first turn, if Fremen has any territory with only five armies in it, and you have a weapon, attack Fremen with one of your armies. It is a decent gamble that Fremen didn't get dealt a weapon, and was too poor to buy one, so you can voice him not to play a defense against your weapon. Fremen only has three spice to back up his armies so you can defeat him with just your leader. This is true of other opponents who become poor as the game wears on. You can beat them with the minimum number of armies and you only need one weapon and one defense. There is no need to buy more cards once you have one of each (weapon and defense).
The rules are vague as to how the free spiritual advisors work. Do they follow other characters down to the territory they ship to, or a territory you choose at the beginning of the game? My friends and I let the player choose how he plans to ship, but I always choose to ship my spiritual advisors to the Pasty Mesa. There are three big spice blows possible here and very few people who can reach it. Of the ones that can, most won't try to challenge you. Also, it is next to the Shield Wall. No one will know for sure if you have a family atomics card and will have to plan accordingly. Feel free to co-exist whenever you don't feel comfortable winning a battle. Discretion is the better part of valor.
I love this character. Win or lose, it is a fun character to play. With any luck, you get four traitors at the beginning. And if you are really lucky, you get dealt or are able to buy a Karama card. The Harkonnen's Karama card advantage is the best in the game. If you have worthless cards, the Karama card allows you to trade them with another player. So if you know an opponent has some good cards (you should always be aware of what type and how many cards other players have), go to battle with them and then trade your cards for theirs. Unless they have an overwhelming number of armies, you will win. If you are not sure about another player’s cards, it is usually safe to trade with Atreides. Atreides gets to see the cards before buying them and usually tries to have two weapons and two defenses. It is hard to go wrong there. If you are Harkonnen you need to attack the weakest opponents you can find. Don't rely on traitors. It is nice if you get to call traitor, but you need to win. You need to have spice, so beating an opponent in a spice blow area is the best way to succeed. Never forget to take an opponent’s leader after winning a battle. Keep any decent leaders for future use against other opponents, or collect the two spice for leaders worth 2 or less. If you are aggressive but not reckless, then you have a shot at winning. By the way, you are the only character with a legitimate shot of winning on the first turn.
Fremen has the potential to be a strong character, but unless they are dealt a weapon at the beginning of the game, it is an uphill battle. The longer the game goes, the better for Fremen, as they can revive dead armies for free, and three at a time. You have to get spice to succeed. Starting off, either put six men, including one Fedaykin, over on the False Wall South and the other four on the False Wall West. Or, put all ten on False Wall South. You can ship all ten of your remaining armies into Sietch Tabr or any other territory within two of the Great Flat, but you can't reach Tuek's Sietch and the surrounding areas even if you ship and move as far as you can. The reason for putting four armies on False Wall West is that few people will bother you there and you can move to Habbanya Ridge Sietch or Habbanya Ridge Flat from there. Four armies in Habbanya Ridge Sietch is a sufficient deterrent for most opponents. There is not much to gain there unless someone is trying to win the game. You can only hope that Emperor would be foolish enough to put a large contingent of armies there as they would be stranded. If you are dealt a weapon you may choose to take the bold move of shipping your men to the polar sink and then moving them to Arrakeen or Carthag on your first turn. Assuming that at least two Fedaykin are in that group of ten, you have a decent chance of winning, but of course this depends on how much spice Atreides and Harkonnen (if you have a safe leader) have spent on cards and shipment. It’s a huge gamble, so be pretty darn sure you can win before attempting it. Worse comes to worse, you lick your wounds until you have revived enough armies to do battle again.
Last and almost certainly least is Atreides. Sure, Atreides has wonderful advantages of seeing the cards during bidding round, and seeing the first card of the spice blow, and one element of their opponent's battle plan, but that usually adds up to being able to see that your opponents are going to kick your tail. Atreides needs to have one of each defense and one of each weapon so that they can choose to kill their opponent’s leader or keep their own leader from being killed (something Bene Gesserit can do with just two cards). The big problem with this is, if you bid high on a card, your opponents will bid high too. You need to have a weapon so that your battles are not Pyrrhic victories (you need to kill their leader to get some spice out of it). But you really need to have one of each defense so that your leader cannot be killed. Your leader, coupled with the Kwisatz Haderach, gives you a value of 7, which means you could win a battle with very few armies. But you can't get the Kwisatz until you have lost seven armies in battle. By this time you may already be done for the game. Emperor may take you out the first turn. Fremen may take a crack at you the first turn. But even if they don't, you will have to fight for spice against the likes of Harkonnen and possibly Bene Gesserit. Try to fool your opponents when bidding to get them to pay a lot for worthless cards, or cards that you know you can beat. Keep track of what cards your opponents buy. Be smart, and try not fight more than one battle a turn if possible, and make that battle one you can win. Once you lose Arrakeen, you are pretty much dead in the water, and everyone will come for Arrakeen eventually. Good Luck!
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