The Spice Must Flow

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The Spice Must Flow

May 21, 2024 | Games

Dune Imperium Uprising is marketed as a “standalone spinoff” of Dune: Imperium. I never had the pleasure of playing Dune: Imperium, so I can’t personally speak to the differences between the two, but what I can speak to is the fact that Dune Imperium Uprising shot to my second favorite game of all time in a very short period.

This game mixes my two favorite mechanisms, deck building and worker placement, so the first time I sat down and learned the game I knew I was going to like it. It’s not the most thematic game ever, but it was nice to recognize all the characters and moments from the Dune IP, but the game play is where this one shines. Depending on the character you choose with their powers, you will shape your game slightly differently. Making sure to gain influence in the different factions: Fremen, Bene Gesserit, Spacing Guild and the Emperor, you can achieve points by completing contracts, mining spice, getting rich or just riding a sandworm into battle.

Dune: Imperium Uprising also has a team play mode where two teams of 3 compete, pitting Maud’Dib against the Emperor. The team version was a ton of fun, and I would strongly recommend it if you can get 6 players who have played the normal game a few times together.

Even though I love pretty much everything about this game, I didn’t love it right away. The first time I played I felt like it was going to be one of my favorite games … but then the second, third, and maybe even fouth time playing my joy turned to almost hatred. Playing it twice competitively in our League, as well as practicing between competitions, I knew that the people who were winning were always fighting in the key battles and doubling their points with sandworms. But when I focused on battle I felt stuck, unable to afford to keep my armies.

Then, after a particularly aggravating game I was discussing it with one of our Members, Amber, and she told me that she had a much better time when she stopped focusing on fighting. It seemed counterintuitive, but I wasn’t enjoying the game so I decided to give it a try. The next time I played I concentrated on building a streamlined deck, completing contracts and collecting Spice and Solari. And even though I had turned my focus away from fighting, I found myself in almost 90% of the battles! And I was actually competitive (didn’t win but was right up there with everyone else).

So, I was feeling much better going into our final competition night of League. I played a good game, but by the end we all knew either David or Tamara were going to win. David had some crazy turns where he was able to pick up a worker multiple times and so he was able to accomplish so much more than the rest of us, and Tamara was going crazy with Solari. On the final battle, David was in the lead with 10 points, I was second with 9, Thryn was at 8 and Tamara was at 7. I knew I was holding an end game Intrigue card that was going to get me one more point, but it would only be enough to get me second place to whoever won the final battle and that was assuming no one else had any points hidden away in their Intrigue cards.

Unfortunately, Thryn and I just had a few combat points going into the final battle, but I was able to nudge ahead of her so I knew I was going to get 3rd which only got me some spice. It was down to David and Tamara. If David won the battle he was only going to get one point because he didn’t have the Solari to get the additional and he didn’t have a sandworm to double the rewards, but more importantly he would stop Tamara who would end up getting 2 points for winning the battle, 2 points with her massive hoard of Solari and get another point by matching the conflict card symbol. So if she wins the battle, she wins the game.

It was so tense, the two of them going back and forth adding combat points with intrigue cards, but when they finally ran out of intrigue cards they were tied. I suddenly perked WAY up. If the battle leaders tie, they bump down and share the second place winnings, which meant NO game points were awarded to ANYONE for that final battle.

We revealed our hidden Intrigue cards AND I WAS THE ONLY PERSON TO HAVE ANY GAME POINTS. So that bumped me up with David tied for 1st place. And guess what the tie breaker was … THE SPICE I WON FOR COMING IN THIRD PLACE IN THE FINAL BATTLE.

It was pandemonium!

David still talks about how I stole the win from him … and it’s wonderful.