Dune Eye of the Storm
                               A Players' Primer
                                     by Christian Moore


                     Assuming a fair and ordered universe, you should be reading this
                     article just as the limited edition of Dune Eye of the Storm appears in
                     your local game or hobby store. Although the game is outwardly
                     simple, you'll quickly notice a depth of strategy unusual in the realm
                     of TCGs. As you delve deeper into the nuances of Eye of the
                     Storm, keep some of the following tips in mind. They'll make the
                     spice flow a little easier...

                                       A strong lineage

                     Don't simply gloss over the creation process­it's included for a
                     reason. Your purchases during house creation will bear directly on
                     your strategy during the early turns of the game. In a tight game, an
                     extra unit of spice or a couple of additional solaris taken during
                     house creation can often make a crucial difference in later turns.

                     House creation should play off your preferred strategy. Is your
                     Imperial Deck solari-intensive? If so, taking an extra five solaris at
                     the outset can give you an important boost during your first few
                     turns. It can mean getting an additional charter, persona, or both into
                     play early. By using favor to make up the cost difference on another
                     persona or two, you'll be able to quickly get some serious firepower
                     on the table.

                     If, on the other hand, you've created a "race to the spice" deck,
                     you'll probably want to spend three of your points to begin the game
                     with a unit of spice. While this might not seem like much, we've
                     found that players sometimes overlook this aspect of their victory

                     Start with a unit of spice, begin buying on the exchange during your
                     first turn, and try to move quickly through your deck to some of
                     your spice-related cards. An early Spice Blow or two can move you
                     well along your path to victory during the first few turns of the game.

                                     The spice must flow!

                     If it's so central to the game, why do so many players seem to suffer
                     temporary spice amnesia as they send legion after legion to decimate
                     their opponent's homeworld? Don't make this mistake. Remember
                     the spice. You only need ten units of spice to win the game, and an
                     intelligent opening strategy can set you ahead of the pack in the race
                     to accumulate it.

                     Buy, buy, buy. An intelligent player can use the CHOAM Exchange
                     to his advantage, and the option to purchase spice should always be
                     in the forefront of your mind. As you become more familiar with the
                     game, you'll find that there are a number of ways to accomplish this.
                     Certain charter and plan cards directly affect the fluctuation of the
                     spice market, and certain events can alter the market drastically in
                     the space of a single turn. Always keep an eye on the CHOAM
                     exchange and remember: buy low, sell high.

                     When considering spice and the spice market, you should formulate
                     both an overall accumulation strategy and an opening strategy. A
                     smart player who takes full advantage of his first few turns can gain
                     an early lead. Your overall accumulation strategy will often target
                     one or two possible methods (i.e. purchasing spice, stealing it,
                     interrupting transfers, playing events, etc.). Depending on your
                     preferred method of gathering spice, your card choices will follow

                     Charters that affect the market, such CHOAM Directorship or
                     Guild Stockpiling, will aid in the purchase of spice and affect your
                     buying strategy. Plans such as Sand Scrub and Silo Destruction will
                     allow you to discard or destroy an opponent's spice. Finally, if
                     you're attempting a straight-up accumulation on Dune itself, Spice
                     Blow events coupled with Sandcrawlers and Carryalls will let you
                     transfer spice from your ergs into your hoard more quickly. After all,
                     there's always the danger of attracting a worm...


                                    First isn't always best

                     As you've probably figured out by now, Dune uses a fluid turn
                     sequence. The player with the highest favor goes first, followed in
                     descending order by the other players. There are also numerous
                     game cards that affect ranking and turn order. Going first one turn
                     never means you'll automatically go first during the next turn.

                     So what does this mean for you, the player? Well, if you're smart
                     you'll use it to your advantage. If you plan on buying spice or playing
                     a specific event during your next turn, you probably want to go first.
                     If you want to get specific Imperial cards into play, you may want to
                     allow your opponent to take the first turn. Assuming he uses most of
                     his resources to bring his own cards into play, he'll have a tough time
                     outbidding you when you petition your assembly cards.

                     Taking the last turn can also affect your performance in conflict. By
                     going last, you'll probably have the option of initiating a rite against
                     cards that have already been engaged. Depending on what tactics
                     you have at your disposal, this can give you a significant advantage.

                     Finally, since each turn's sequence of play changes according to the
                     whim of imperial favor, it is possible to take two turns in a row. If
                     you go last one turn, you will often have the ability to make sure you
                     go first during the next turn (by purchasing favor or gaining it through
                     a rite). This strategy can be useful in a number of situations,
                     especially when bringing multiple cards into play. You can sap your
                     resources at the close of the previous turn, knowing that you'll
                     generate them again at the beginning of the next.

                     However, always remember that no strategy is foolproof. You never
                     know what your opponent is holding in his hand; a good tactic that
                     affects ranking or initiative can be the bane of the "two turns"
                     strategy. Keep an eye on your favor.


                                      Plans within plans

                     Game play in Dune occurs on many levels, and players need to keep
                     this in mind when formulating their strategy. There are often at least
                     two ways to approach a particular problem, and you don't need to
                     cover every base in order to build a winning deck. This section gives
                     you a few of the basics.

                     First, concentrate on specific talents. We're talking about offense
                     here; obviously, you're going to need to spread yourself a bit more
                     thin as far as defense goes. However, we've found it's usually best to
                     stress no more than two or three offensive talents. Because talents
                     dictate the type of rites that are possible (i.e. CHOAM or
                     Landsraad), try to include talents that let you initiate at least one of
                     each type of rite. For example, an Atreides deck might stress Battle
                     and Arbitration while a Harkonnen deck could target Dueling and
                     Intrigue. And remember to cover your bases on defense­you're
                     powerless if your characters can't defend themselves.

                     Second, don't let the nature of certain talents or rites fool you. While
                     battle is certainly a more in-your-face approach to a problem, it's
                     not necessarily a better solution than arbitration. Certain factions and
                     houses naturally gravitate toward certain talents, and players need to
                     keep this in mind as they build their decks. Use the natural abilities
                     of your allies as a foundation.

                     We were very careful to make sure that all of the rites and talents
                     were balanced within the card mix. Although certain plans might
                     seem better than others, chances are they are countered elsewhere
                     in the game. Remember, the essence of Dune is "plans within plans";
                     most of the cards and card combos reflect this depth.

                     Finally, think about your rite rewards when designing your overall
                     strategy. Does your deck emphasize CHOAM rites or Landsraad
                     rites? Will you be winning more solaris or favor? A good deck will
                     probably cover both major types of rite to some extent, but you can
                     choose to concentrate on one or the other. Strength in either area
                     will allow you to further tweak your strategy in specific ways.

                     If your deck is generally stronger in CHOAM rites, you'll need to
                     keep a closer eye on your favor. Instead of spending it to bring
                     allied cards into play, hold it in reserve and include some good
                     petitioning tactics in your deck. If you're hit hard later in the game,
                     you can always use the solaris generated by your CHOAM rites to
                     purchase additional favor.

                     A strong Landsraad deck probably has your favor covered, but you
                     may need to keep an eye on your treasury. Make sure to include an
                     extra charter or two, in addition to tactics that target your
                     opponents' treasury. A few petitioning tactics that reduce calling
                     costs are also a good idea. And spend your solaris a bit more
                     conservatively; you never know when a crucial bid might be just
                     around the corner.


                                     Watch your back...

                     Dune is a game of allegiances and alliances. Your sponsor dictates
                     not only what other powers you may work with, but also who your
                     enemies are. Pay close attention to these relationships; they'll affect
                     both your deck-building strategy and your overall game strategy.

                     Remember that you can always spend favor to bring allied cards into
                     play from your Imperial Deck. In a deck that only includes
                     characters allied with your sponsor, use favor when you can (but
                     don't spend it all­you can easily lose the game this way) to bring the
                     more valuable cards into the game. Bluff a charter to get your
                     opponent to commit solaris, and then spend favor to bring the
                     character you really wanted into your territory. Spend the solaris
                     you saved during the bidding process to immediately place important
                     resources on the character.

                     While such "alliance only" decks can work well, "dual allegiance"
                     decks are often even more effective. Since each house or faction
                     concentrates on specific talents and abilities, including two in your
                     deck instead of one will broaden your opportunities considerably.
                     Although you cannot spend favor to bring non-allied cards into the
                     game, you can enhance their effectiveness by changing their
                     allegiance once they are in your territory. Resources such as Secret
                     Allegiance allow you to declare a new allegiance for a card once it is
                     in play. Once this occurs, allegiance-specific enhancements and
                     personnel can be attached to the card.

                     Finally, "ancillary powers" decks can present some unique solutions
                     to allegiance problems. As long as cards are not considered enemies
                     of your sponsor, you may include them in your deck. Thus, it is
                     possible to make crossover Atreides-Fremen decks or
                     Harkonnen-Corrino decks. The advantages of doing this are
                     obvious­you'll be able to take advantage of each faction's strengths.
                     However, you'll also be forced to apportion additional cards and
                     resources more carefully, especially those that bear specific
                     allegiance. It's definitely a trade-off, but if you can find the middle
                     ground it can work very well.



                     Hopefully, these tips have provided prospective players with some
                     insight into both the structure of Dune and its fundamental strategies.
                     In the future, watch for articles that delve further into game strategy
                     and deck-building. Also, be sure to check out the Landsraad
                     Assembly, the official Dune players' organization. We've got the
                     some exciting plans for the coming year; to be a part of it, contact
                     Five Rings Publishing or refer to the information provided in the
                     back of the rulebook. See ya around the universe!

Text originated in Scrye Magazine

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