Dune Strategy Tips
Players in DUNE must amass spice, convert it to effective weaponry, defenses, and other strategic aids, and then position themselves with enough forces to be able to suddenly move into key strongholds and defend them. The game will be won by daring, strategy, mobility, and treachery.
The storm is important, because it determines who is First Player.
Being First Player is an advantage in battles (ties go to the First Player), but being last is an advantage in movement (surprise takeovers by the last player cannot be countered that turn).
The Spice Blow is important, because its location will help determine who gets new spice that turn. Sandworms are also vital, because only when they appear can the factions on the planet ally during the diplomatic Nexus.
The bidding determines who will gain fighting strength (or the threat of it) that turn. It is wise to have several cards at all times to keep your opponents guessing, but it is also wise if you have off-planet reserves to retain enough spice to ship more forces onto the board.
The Movement Phase determines battles, spice collection, and often the win. Players should always stay within striking distance of several strongholds, and may want to keep some forces mobile (the Polar Sink is ideal for this, as it connects to most territories by short routes and is not affected by sandworms or storms).
Sometimes a player who moves last may go for the win if earlier players have left strongholds unprotected. Yet generally it is not wise to move for the win unless you can defend your forces against all players within range.
Battles are the key test of strength. With good weapons and defenses, and a good memory for what other players have, a player can swiftly reverse the balance of strength in the game.
Strategic players will carefully watch what weapons and defenses have been played and discarded or retained, and by whom.
They will also remember what leaders they can trust, and pit themselves when they can against a player who has one leader who they know is a traitor.
Since the loser must discard their cards and the winner may keep theirs as well as render up any killed leader for their value in spice, battles are the turning point of the game.
However, since worthless cards can only be discarded by playing them in battle, often a player with several will send one force against a large force, sacrificing a leader to rid themselves of the cards. In such a case, the opponent may be unsure of what is going on and may spend several of their forces in an unnecessary defense.
Generally, any player with an advantage (whether it be cards, leaders, forces, or strategic advantages) is well advised to press forward and force battles.
Collection of spice is of course advantageous, especially to those who need it, but also to those who want to keep others from having it to then use for cards or shipping. But collection carries with it the risks of destruction by storm or sandworm.
Alliances will usually force an end to the game within a few turns. In larger games, it is difficult to win alone, and alliances will be necessary. It is generally wise to ally with someone who can complement your advantages.
If you are strong on strategic ability but short on resources, seek an alliance with someone who has access to spice. If you are rich, look for strategy or treachery in your partner.
Faction Strategy Tips
These faction strategy tips can also be found on the back of the Player Shields.
Your major handicap is poverty. Usually you can't purchase Treachery Cards for several turns, since the others will outbid you. You must be patient and move your forces into any vacant strongholds, avoiding battles until you are prepared.
When you do battle you can afford to dial high and sacrifice your forces since they have a high revival rate and you can bring them back into play at no cost. You have the advantage of better mobility than factions without a city stronghold, and you have good fighting leaders.
Your game plan will be to bide your time and wait for an accessible Spice Blow that no one else wants in order to build up your resources.
Your major handicap is your weak array of leaders and your inability to revive quickly. In addition, you usually cannot buy Treachery Cards at the beginning of the game.
You are vulnerable at this point and should make your stronger moves after building up your resources. If players do not ship on at a steady rate you will have to fight for spice on the surface or collect only the isolated blows.
Your major advantage is that you can ship on to Dune inexpensively and can ship from any one territory to any other. This mobility allows you to make surprise moves and is particularly useful when you are the last player in the Movement Phase.
If the game is out of reach and well along, try suicide battles against the strongest players to weaken them and prevent a win until the round ends. Then the victory is yours.
Your major handicap is your low revival rate. You must not allow large numbers of your forces to be sent to the Tleilaxu Tanks or you may find yourself without sufficient reserves to bring onto the planet.
Your strengths are that you have the ability to win by correctly predicting the turn another player will win the game and then secretly working for a favorable outcome. In addition, you can be quite effective in battles by voicing your opponent and leaving them weaponless or defenseless.
You can afford to bide your time while casting subtle innuendos about who you have picked to win.
You are handicapped by the fact that you must both purchase cards and ship onto Dune, and you have no source of income other than the spice on the planet's surface.
This will keep you in constant battles. Since you start from Arrakeen, you have the movement advantage of 3 from the outset, and it is wise to protect this. Your prescience allows you to avoid being devoured by the sandworms and helps you to get some slight head start on the Spice Blow.
In addition, you can gain some slight advantage over those who would do battle with you by your foreknowledge of one element of their Battle Plan.
Your major handicap is that you must ship in all of your forces at the start of the game, and often this move requires a battle before you are prepared.
Even though you do not need to forage for spice on the surface of Dune often, you still are quite subject to attack since you are likely to concentrate on the cities for the mobility they give you.
On the plus side, you will never need spice badly, since the bidding will keep you supplied.
Your major handicap is your difficulty in obtaining spice. You are at your greatest relative strength at the beginning of the game and should capitalize on this fact by quickly buying as many Treachery Cards as you can, and then surging into battle.
Since you get 2 cards for every one you bid for, you can afford to bid a little higher than most, but if you spend too lavishly at first you will not have enough spice to ship in forces or buy more cards at a later date.
There is nothing so pitiful to see as a Harkonnen on CHOAM Charity. The large number of cards you may hold will increase your chances of holding worthless cards. To counteract this, you should pick your battles, both to unload cards and to flush out the traitors you control.