Category Archives: Dune

God created Arrakis to train the faithful

I don’t know about training the faithful but it’s been training my poker face.

A few more games of Dune under the belt and I’ve been enjoying how you can use the cards to create layers of intrigue and out and out base cunning. We only managed to round up five players this time, but the game did feel totally different to just three players as it seemed to flow better with each faction feeling more balanced.

What I really enjoy about the game is the meta part that can be pulled out of the game in progress. At one point I was playing as the Bene Gesserit and was going into battle against a force of Fremen, my one traitor card (traitors can win a battle outright for you if you’re lucky enough to have the leader that the other person plays) was Chani and the Fremen player used Chani in his battle plan. In the first Dune book, Chani works with Reverend Mother Ramallo when Jessica takes the water of life so if you squint really hard and think at an angle, you can almost imagine how this would work.

No?

Well I can and it’s my game so I can meta all I want, so there.

An another note, I cast another Cthulhu but this one has a special birthday, Halloween night.

Spat from the blackest night of the year, it was poured and moulded without any blemishes or imperfections as Cthulhu himself was probably overseeing the process. Much chanting and wailing later it was polished the next day, which was All Saint’s day so maybe some of the evil was drained away. It’s safely on its way to its new owner in Germany and hopefully no primordial evil will follow it.

One last gaming entry, I picked up a load of Black Scorpion Cowboys/cowgirls a few weeks ago and wanted a game to go with them so after some searching around I bought “A Fistful of Lead” to run with them. Last night was the first game I had a chance to play and its a very slick game, well worth picking up and only $6.

Three of us had a two fights, the first was a straight up three way gunfight in which I not only shot Mary Poppins…

poppins
But I also killed Jessie from Toy Story…

jessie
I’m a bad man.

I had my comeuppance in the second game when the two other players rounded up a posse and hunted down my gang. Five of my gang holed up in a hideout and attempted fend off the other two gangs but, one by one, we got picked off. One guy made a brave dash for a shed full of TNT and came out hurling it around. He managed to blow up Jessie (killing her again) and one other posse member, but was gunned down in a hail of flying lead. My leader lasted a bit longer a flesh wound, but watched helplessly as his gang fell around him. He managed a brave stand to the end and even managed to fight off a round of hand to hand combat (which I should add is even more brutal that Necromundas).

preachers-end

Sadly, in the end he took another bullet and crawled back into the hideout only be taken out by a rather mean cowgirl looking for revenge.

preachers-end

The red tokens on the table are blood markers to show who is dead and the amount of blood (plus the rather scantily clad cowgirls) all added up to a b-movie scenario that would have done Russ Meyer proud.

I bought 1000 lollysticks recently for the princely sum of less than a tenner, so will be aiming to make some western scenery soon which will be a nice change from the woodwork on Dune but I still have to finish Odin and there was a rumbling about Freya being next.

I haven’t been this busy in years…

Science time

Science is made up of so many things that appear obvious after they are explained.
Pardot Kynes.

Another Dune quote but its apt for so many things that happened this weekend.

Friday

Firstly on Friday, I gave a brief talk at Dorkbot Anglia about how I used our Celestron telescope and a cheap, off the shelf webcam to take pictures/video. The talk went really well (for me anyway, I hope everyone else found it interesting) including a live demo of Lynkeos which went off without a hitch and I really enjoyed the evening with a chance to meet some new people and listen to some amazing talks. For anyone who is interested then the slides are available in the Freebies section of the website. It’s wonderful to see that there is stuff like that going on in the area and I’m looking forward to going to another one. I’m also considering running a Star Party one night now the nights are starting sooner. A group of us loafed off to the pub after the talks had finished to engage in generic pub natter and much entertainment was had.

Saturday

After that excitement Saturday arrived and I finally got a chance to do a playtest of Dune. This was scary, I’ve have worked out that the whole thing has cost me over £200 to build, so this was crunch time. If something was missing or (horror of horrors) the game was rubbish I needed to know if it worth the two months build time and the cost?

dune-1-multicell

I bribed Karl AKA @multicelldsgn and Paul AKA @paulhutson with the promise of cooked meat in bread to come and try it out. I considered drugging the food to swing the odds in my favour but thought better of it… this time.

We had a brief skim of the rules and setup with randomly chosen factions. (Some of the following photos are blatantly stolen from their twitter feeds as wasn’t thinking and I didn’t take many myself 🙁 so thanks to them for snapping away).

dune-map

The first game was a very quick struggle between the Harkonnen (Paul), Fremen (Karl) and Guild (myself). Actually, quick isn’t the word, it was over in two turns. The Harkonnen started in one city and has the other in spitting distance, combined with the ‘thoper bonus, they managed to dash to the nearby sietch without any kind of opposition and took control. We mulled over these events and started a second game.

dune-2-multicell

This time it was between the Bene Gesserit (Paul), The Emperor (Karl) and the Harkonnen (myself) and lasted longer as we had started to see through to the dark place where this game dwells. Betrayal, poison, sneak attacks, being eaten by worms, whole armies wiped out by storms or in battle… this is a game which rubs it’s hands together and cackles loudly in great delight as you are being stabbed in the back. Out comes a projectile weapon but it’s canceled by a shield, a “are you planning to poison me?” truetrance moment, here come the traitor cards and that spice you just collected? You’ll need it to get back those troops which the worm swallowed. At one point the tanks seemed to be ready to overflow with dead troops and all five of the Emperors leaders sat in the tanks after the last one was poisoned. The game could have lasted slightly longer if I had remembered to play my traitor card on the last fight but in the end the Bene Gersserit pulled off a slick finish to take the game.

dune-1-paul

So is it worth the build time and the cost? YES! Oh yes so many times over. I’ve never played a game like this before. It was very easy to pick up the rules, we hit our stride early into the game and it never grew dull. If I have one gripe with the game is that it really does need six players. Each faction seems well balanced in its abilities but without all of the factions it seems slightly out of kilter.

Hopefully a six way game is on the cards soon but I’ve got no idea when, I’m not the Kwisatz Haderach 🙁

Sunday

Speaking of superbeings, on Sunday I was hard at work on Odin as a companion for Thor.

odin-wip

He’s coming on well but I think it’s back to work for a rest.

Now it’s complete because it’s ended here

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: “Now it’s complete because it’s ended here.”

I’ve just about come to the end of my Dune odyssey, I’ve got a few final bits to tidy up but the main build is over. Time to chop off what is incomplete. I received the final bits of the box from Funky Lemon and started to pull the whole thing together.

board-box

I also tested out my idea of pouring coldcast resin into the engraved areas.

 

 

 

samples

Unfortunately the font and some of the symbols are too small for it to work as well as I would have hoped. It worked really well in the big areas but some of the text became hard to read. At least I tried.

open-boxThe box was stained then glued together and the bits go inside it nicely.

 

 

slightly-open-boxThe lid/board slides on perfectly.

 

 

complete-duneThe whole thing closes.

 

 

handAnd to give a sense of scale, thar’s me mitt on top.

 

 

It’s a big old thing and has come out really well. I’m going to add some wooden dividers inside to split up the box into sections and line it with some material to add some padding. I need to add some markers to some of the troops to show which are the elite and I’m thinking of sculpting a sand storm marker and a worm marker.

Next up is a playtest which, (according to theory) should be this Saturday with some unsuspecting victims. I’ll try and post some photos from that and also of the components that I’ve used to make this.