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Zoom In Dune
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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Dune
Theme:  Science Fiction
Format:  Board Games

Dune

French edition


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Ages Play Time Players
14+ 120-180 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Peter Olotka

Manufacturer(s): Jeux Descartes

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Product Description

Frank Herbert's classic science fiction novel DUNE will live for many generations as a masterpiece of creative imagination. In this game you can bring to life the forbidding alien planet and the swirling intrigues of all the book's major characters.

DUNE--the very name conjures up desolation. Desert sandscapes cover most of the planet surface, broken only by great rock ridges. Giant worms a quarter mile long live beneath the sand and attack any who linger in it. Human life exists in a few scattered places where precious water is available, but even those settlements are buffeted by terrifying coriolis storms.

Yet the planet is crucial to the destiny of a galactic empire. Because only on DUNE can spice be harvested. Spice is the key to interstellar travel. Only by ingesting the addicitve drug can the Guild Steersman continue to experience visions of the future, enabling them to plot a safe path through hyperspace. Spice is also a geriatric medicine which prolongs life. Only by assuring a stable supply of it throughout the galaxy can any Emperor avoid civil revolt. With spice, in short, one can buy whatever he wants.

Powerful forces struggle for control of DUNE. Imperial troops, aristocratic families, Guildsmen, a secret sisterhood, and the nomadic native Fremen all vie for power on the planet. All are subject to the rigid economics of their joint merchant combine, CHOAM; resources are expensive, shipping is costly, excellence has a price. And that price must be paid in the universal currency, the measure of all value: spice.

All need spice. Some will harvest it directly when it blows in an isolated area of sand, risking the onslaught of worm and storm alike. But others will take it violently in battle, or quietly in taxes and fees.

Those controlling large settlements will have access to ornithopters and cover great distances quickly. Others will have to pick their way slowly across sand and rock. And all anxiously await the decision-making nexus signaled by the sudden appearance of the great sand worm Shai-Hulud.

Massive battles will occur, but often can be decided by a single brilliant leader or an act of low treachery. But death on DUNE need never be tragic. The dead are routinely rendered up for their body's water--so that life on the arid planet may continue. And even one surviving cell of an individual may be cultured by the Tleilaxu technicians until the original person is regrown.

You will be one of these characters:

  • The youthful Paul Atreides (Muad'dib)
    Rightful heir to the planet, gifted with valiant lieutenants and a strange partial awareness of the future, but beset by more powerful and treacherous opponents.
  • The decadent Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
    Master of treachery and cruel deeds.
  • His majesty the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV
    Keen and efficient, yet easily lulled into complacency by his own trappings of power.
  • Guild Steersman Edric (in league with smuggler bands)
    Monopolist of transport, yet addicted to ever increasing spice flows.
  • Fremen ecologist Liet-Kynes
    Commanding fierce hordes of natives, adept at life and travel on the planet, and dedicated to preventing any outside control while bringing about DUNE's own natural regeneration.
  • Gaius Helen Mohiam, Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit sisterhood
    Ancient and inscrutable, carefully trained in psychological control and a genius at achieving her ends through the efforts of others.

Optional Houses not included in the game:

  • Speaker of the Lansraad House
    With the Great Houses of the Lansraad, the Imperial governing body, behind you the benefits of numbers and the advantages of the legal system make others wary of your power.
  • Scytale of the Bene Tleilax
    As a force beyond the Imperium's normal boundaries you delve into a good deal, from recreating the dead from as little as a single cell, your mystical presence is pervasive.
  • Inquisitor of Ix
    You come from a system whose strength is derived from manufacturing things, from the exotic to the mundane. You find mobility and technology easy to come by and hold the keys to the new frontiers.

In DUNE you can explore many of the possible interactions which might have taken place among these fascinating characters with their own drives, needs and special advantages. DUNE has been divided into a Basic Game, and Advanced Game, and Optional Rules. Learn and play the Basic Game several times before venturing into the Advanced Game. The Optional Rules add extra flavor to the game.

NOTE: This is a French language edition of DUNE. The components are all in French. However, the Rule Book and the play aids it contains, make the game very easy to understand. Most of the components in the game are fairly language-neutral, or are in the language of Frank Herbert's DUNE, so no difficult translation is necessary.

This edition of DUNE was produced under license from Avalon Hill and is the same game as the original Avalon Hill edition that was produced in 10+ years ago. However, this edition includes both of the hard-to-find expansions Spice Harvest and The Duel. Also included in the translation are three new Houses that were published as variant rules in Avalon Hill's GENERAL and HEROES magazines.

Awards won by DUNE:

Selected: Golden Ace Award Cannes Internataional Games Festival, France 1993

Selected: Games 100 "Best Games" 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985 Games Magazine

Voted: (Top 2) Science Fiction Board Games 1980 Space Gamer Magazine

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Product Information

  • Designer(s): Bill Eberle, Jack Kittredge, Peter Olotka

  • Manufacturer(s): Jeux Descartes

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 120 - 180 minutes

  • Ages: 14 and up

  • Weight: 1,560 grams

  • Language Requirements: An English translation of the rules is provided. Game components contain some foreign text, possibly requiring occasional reference to rules translation.

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.2 in 10 reviews

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Surviving the test of time
March 21, 2003

The game has a cult following, not as big as that of Diplomacy but more fanatical. Previous reviews generally hit the nail on the head regarding DUNE being for the gamer who likes negotiations and is mature enough to separate the hard feelings that can arise at the gaming table from the real world.

My own opinion regarding this is that because the majority of gamers feel uncomfortable putting themselves in a role that requires distributive bargaining, that the wave of kinder, gentler German games serve as pablum for the masses. E.g. Settlers of Catan being a refitting of Eon's 'Borderlands' but with all of the nastiness removed for the rated PG audience. It shouldn't be a surprise that DUNE and BORDERLANDS were designed by the Eon design team. However, there have been some German games that encourage the same type of nastiness, such as Europa, Intrigue and Rette Sich Wer Kann, so my criticism may be somewhat unfair. Then again, life on DUNE is unfair ;-)

One reviewer commented that the mechanics are not streamlined compared to the newer German games. I would like to respond that this is just a preference. The DUNE sequence of play is spelled out on a player aid like it is in most other games, and several of the phases do not take up much time.

It definitely is a game that sets some people off, similar to the way people refuse to play Diplomacy. One criticism is that in a DUNE battle, a player can win on the strength of only a leader (dialing zero troop strength), and this is difficult for many wargamers to accept. It isn't easy to pull this off in the game, as it requires a lot of intelligence gathering (knowing which defense and attack cards to play, as well as keeping your eye on the storm position so as to time the attack correctly).

Where does DUNE truly shine? In addition to the diplomatic aspects, it is the customized powers and role playing. The book's spirit comes alive in a well-played game. The tension draws players into the game and gets them to sit on the edge of their seats. They interact with each other, rather than the game system. The players can also picture themselves in the role of Paul, the Baron, Liet Kynes, Edric, the Bene Gesserit power brokers and Shaddam IV. In most of today's games, each person plays an identical position. DUNE manages to create an environment of six very different and complex powers where each one at times can be considered 'too powerful'. None of the other games based upon the Dune books seem to pull this off as well as 'Frank Herbert's DUNE'.

The game also plays well even with just the basic rules. So it is customizable for the crowd you are playing with. Newer gamers can get their feet wet with the basic game, and as players get more comfortable with a distributive bargaining game, more complexity can be added and the rules regarding alliances can be tweaked to suit the group's taste. I think it is necessary to do this for newer players because they have an awful lot to get used to all at once. The advanced and optional rules also shine when the players have similar skill levels.

 
 
 
 
 
fabulous, interactive game of 'plans within plans'
November 21, 2002

I would like to add my voice to those giving adulation to this game. One thing that I would add, is that, along the lines of the Avalon Hill classics Diplomacy and Machiavelli, Dune has a wonderful system of interactive intriguing and scheming. Joint plotting is highly encouraged in the game, and various elegant and simple rules are included to foster such. To illustrate: alliances play an important part in the game; pacts can be made in secret during the 'nexus' (after a worm appears), or must be made openly at other times - but both are binding; various unique powers of each house become available to their allies; and so on.

Further, the combat system in the game does everything to promote diplomacy, as there is essentially no chance involved in the outcome of battles.

In short, for those for whom the Dune theme appeals, as well as an elegant level of diplomacy, this game succeeds excellently on both counts.

nb: I have no idea why it has not been rereleased. Anyone?

 
 
 
 
 
Cosmic Encounter for Dune fans
June 26, 2001

Using a rule structure and game mechanic similar to Avalon Hill's own Cosmic Encounter, the designers at Avalon Hill created the best version of a Dune board game ever made to this day (much better than the Parker Brothers game that followed a few years later). Based on the book, rather than the film, Frank Herbert's Dune sees the players each taking control of a faction which boasts its own special skill or power. Utilizing these powers to your advantage is the key to winning the game, and some of the races even have extra victory conditions allowing them to win in more than one way. The players get to attack each other, fight for land areas, mine spice whilst evading the destructive storms and sand worms, and they can even use treachery cards to kill off each other's leaders. It has always amazed my gaming group just how easily the tactical advantages can swing around in favour of each race as the game progresses. Game length is highly variable, as I have seen the game end on the 15th (last) turn, but also as early as the second. Highly recommended for Dune fans, but any science fiction buff should get a kick out of this one.

 
 
 
 
 
You Need Spice in Your Life
January 15, 2001

This game is one of the very best at meshing theme and game. If you read the novel(s) or saw the movie or mini-series, this game will just add to your enjoyment of Herbert's vision. There are alliances and intrigue. Storms and battles and worms. Oh my! Each faction plays a little differently with unique abilities as they try to use their spice to build armies, buy treachery (cards), and subvert other factions' plans. The graphics are fine and in some areas are better than the original Avalon Hill version. The game can be long but people can set the number of game turns they are willing to play and a winner can still be declared. This is one of the best sci-fi games ever published.

 
 
 
 
 
Luck Last as 6 warrior styles battle for Arakkis.
May 07, 2003

The French Version has elements I am unfamiliar with but the Original Avalon Hill was an outstanding Design concept { Especially as Basic. Win or lose much as you engage leaders one on one for victory on planet or city. Victory to three held. BG magic Harkonnen Poer and strength. Atreides viewing and presience. Grat Game. Study each to play best.

 
 
 
 
 
Excellent Game
September 16, 2000

The game mechanics are fairly straightforward after a single read through, and the entire game wouldn't be that much of a challenge until you look at the different Houses you have to play....

Each House has an ability that, on first inspection, should completely 'break' the game in their favor. But each other House has another power (never even similar to the others) that should give them the absolute edge in game play.

In the end it comes down to you to win or lose the future of Arakis!

 
 
 
 
 
A masterpiece! (but components need work)
September 14, 2000

I was introduced to this game recently by a friend who'd played the original Avalon Hill edition, a game I'd always avoided as I felt there was no way it could possibly capture the depth and intricacies of Herbert's masterpiece. But my friend talked me into it, and I'm glad he did.

The game design is excellent, and manages to incorporate many of the details of Herbert's world. One consequence of this, however, is that this is game is not likely to resonate easily with those unfamiliar with the story (I should note that a Dune synopsis is provided as a refresher or an introduction to the story).

Each turn moves through six phases:

  1. The storm (a natural disaster) moves around the board and destroys everything in its path (with certain exceptions).
  2. Spice 'blows' (appears) in a randomly selected area of the map. Spice is the currency of the game, and these spice deposits are usually hotly contested.
  3. Players bid spice for treachery cards. These cards allow you to kill enemy leaders in combat, defend your own leaders, and gain other advantages.
  4. Tokens are revived from the 'tanks' (a holding area for dead units--it's the Warp from Cosmic Encounter), then players land (from off-planet) and move (on-planet) their tokens.
  5. Contested territories (those with more than one faction's tokens present) are fought over. Combat uses an ingenious bluffing mechanism that provides a goodly bit of tension and uncertainty in each battle.
  6. If you survive combat in a spice-laden territory, you collect some or all of that spice.

You win the game by occupying a majority of 'stronghold' territories (there are five on the map, but the number you need varies depending on how many players are playing and whether you're part of an alliance).

Each faction has special powers which bend or break the rules, and in this respect I think the game shines. Each faction is truly unique (and therefore provides great replayability), their powers are balanced, and the powers are highly evocative of the groups as they are presented in the novels.

Where it succeeds most is in its ability to convey the atmosphere or mood of the novels. In the beginning of the game, all players' leader disks are shuffled together and each player draws four, then selects one leader from an opposing faction (the Harkonnens, treacherous creatures that they are, get to select all four) as a traitor. That traitor, if played by that opponent in a battle against you, allows you to win the battle at no risk to you (no loss of leaders or tokens). So right from the beginning there is an undercurrent of paranoia and treachery.

Alliances are also a key element in the game, as it can be difficult to win without joining one. But the random occurrence of an alliance-forming (or dissolving) 'nexus' allows players to use and discard allies as they see fit, which again contributes to the charged atmosphere of doubt and suspicion. These alliances, and each faction's special abilities, provide a slight role-playing feel to the game, which I think is again nicely in line with the theme.

The rules are a bit fussy, and there are some ambiguities in terms of special abilities, but this is nowhere near wargame complexity. It is not, however, a family game--it's for gamers, and it will take some time (probably 3-5 hours, realistically).

Unfortunately, the excellent quality of the game design is partially obscured by the poor quality of the components. I cannot speak to the quality of the original AH components, but I have heard that this edition is superior to the older one. It's certainly more colorful. Even so, the map is too small and therefore gets congested, the tokens are too small and thin (making them hard to pick up and easy to accidentally scatter), and although the rules contain the expansion powers (Tleilaxu, Ixian, Landsraad), there are no tokens or leaders for them (which Eurogames states on the box--call me demanding, but I figure a $60 game shouldn't have loose ends). I agree with the previous reviewer that the spice cards are difficult to read because of poor contrast, but it's not bad enough to affect play. On the positive side, the leader disks, battle wheels, shields, and cards are quite nice.

That said, it's worth buying. The game isn't for everyone; it's cutthroat, nasty, tense, and long. In other words, great. The French translation issues are minimal, and the components are useable. I suppose I'm just spoiled by the quality of German games, but it seems obvious to me to use wooden cubes or disks (à la Vinci) as tokens in this game, make the map a bit larger to accomodate them, and voila!, you've got a perfect game. Ah, well. I'd rather have a 5-star game in a 3-star wrapper than the opposite. And that's what you get here.

 
 
 
 
 
Return of a classic game
February 14, 2000

The science fiction novel 'Dune' has a mystique rivalled only by Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' triology. It spawned numerous sequels, a very strange movie, a collectible card game, and two separate board games.

The other board game (also titled 'Dune') was nothing short of disastrous, being a mass-market product with little relation to either the book or the movie. This, however, is a nice re-issue of the original Avalon Hill game, which has spawned a cult following all its own.

The graphics of this game are very good, but the production design is not without flaws, which reduced this from a five star rating. Some of the cards are printed in a very elegant light tan or gold, which unfortunately does not show up well against a white background. The player shields are considerably flimsier than the original as well. Despite the ample translation provided of the French components, it is still disconcerting to see Herbert's world given a decidedly French spin.

On the upside, this does include both expansions that were released for the original game as part of the package. The recreation of Herbert's world is amazingly detailed. Almost every element of the original book is present in some form.

Dune owes a family allegiance to another sci-fi board game classic, Cosmic Encounter. As in that much-loved game, each player has a unique position in the game, with abilities to match that faction. These abilities approximate those of the characters in the book, which causes the game to play even more closely to an alternate version of the book.

The rules are rather densely written, typical of vintage Avalon Hill, but not nearly as bad as an average wargame. While not recommended for all gamers, I do highly recommend this one for the serious gamer as well as the science fiction fan. About one and a half thumbs up....

 
 
 
 
 
Expansions are great... but map is poor condition
March 28, 2001

I bought the 1979 Avalon Hill edition of Dune on Ebay, but some of the peices were warped or missing. So, I figured I'd get this game to 'supplment' the old version.

I got it, and it's in a nice big box, and the map was on one piece instead of two like in the AH version. But, the colors in the various territories run into other territories, making it look CHEAP.

The rest of the pieces were acceptable, or the same as the original game, the leader disks were cooler, they have color graphics and are a bit smaller than the orignal game, so don't think you'll use the French battle wheels interchangably with the old version. The player shields have pretty cool scenes, except for the Atreides and the Guild IMHO. The Atreides is sitting at a desk (in Caladan?), whoppie, Paul is surfing the web... as lame as the Atreides shield was in the AH version, at least he was fighting. The Guild is better than the AH version shield, but it still looks cheesy, kind of like they used images from the 1984 movie for inspiration. Haven't attempted playing the expansions yet. Like some of the new treachery card... cone of silence, and thumper... I wish for the extra weapons, they didn't just repeat another card, and used their imagination to come up with a different weapons.

A complaint is it doesn't come with leader disks/tokens for the extra sides it mentions in the instructions.

And it's in FRENCH... just kidding, I knew that going into this....

 
 
 
 
 
by Mike
Good... but not Great
December 12, 2000

The packaging on this game is beautiful. The outside boasts a true 'Dune' type scene, and invites you to open the box and look inside. As advertised it is a French game with a very good English translation. The components to the game are top notch with the exception of the tokens being too small and the miniature size of the game board.

The game play? Well, many seem to be thrilled with the neat player interaction, alliances and such... and politics is a major component in the game. What isn't fun is the amount of down time between turns. Aditionally, alliances are strictly regulated by chance, and thus cannot be made and broken at convenient times.

I did very much like the 'battle' portion of the game. The use of cards, leaders and tokens, as well as house special powers does make the game interesting.

All in all, I belive this was a great game in its day. It was obviously Avalon Hill's answer to Eon's Cosmic Encounter. It stays pretty true to its theme. But in today's world of lean, mean German style boardgames the entire mechanism is flawed with down time. The only other criticism is the annoyance of having to refer to rules translations to figure out what the cards do (as in Anno 1452 or Sternenfahrer von Catan)

I can recommend this game as something you would want to invest an afternoon with your gamer buddies and have a good time. It's a good game, just not great.

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