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Dune Spice Wars

Set in the universe of Dune created by Frank Herbert, Dune: Spice Wars is a 4X real-time strategy game that allows you to choose your faction and to launch yourself into a war for the control of spice on the planet Arrakis. Whether you select House Atreides, House Harkonnen, House Corrino, Smugglers or Fremen, you will have access to specific bonuses that will dictate the best way to approach the game.

Dune Spice Wars


As you might expect from a 4X strategy game based on Frank Herbert's Dune, spice is a very important resource that you'll have to locate, and manage. Dealing with spice and the spice market is something you'll have to do throughout the entire game, and it's a mechanic ripe for exploitation.

The spice market is likely going to be your primary source of income, but it's something that fluctuates a lot. In addition, you have the ever-changing Imperial Tax to deal with, so it's not like spice is something you can ignore once you've got a few sources.

To actually harvest this spice, you'll need to take over a village in the same region and construct a Refinery in it. Refineries have some Solari and Plascrete upkeep costs, but the spice you'll get from the Harvesters produced by the Refinery will outweigh the costs.

Make sure you enable Auto-Recall on your Harvesters. This will reduce their spice harvesting by a measly five percent in exchange for automatically recalling them whenever they're threatened by a sandworm. Sure, you'll have to manually redeploy them, but you'd have to do that anyway and it's worth not having to worry about your Harvesters and any Crew they have working on them.

Once you have a source of spice being worked by a Harvester, you'll start to gain spice constantly. This is tracked on the upper-left section of the screen and there are a few things to make a note of. The large number under the spice icon is your total spice production - the fruits of your Harvesters' labor. Next to that are two boxes, one for CHOAM, and one for your Stockpile.

You can change the proportion of spice being sold to spice being stockpiled with the slider on the left, which moves in 10 percent increments. For example, if you decide to sell 20 percent of your spice to the CHOAM, it means you're automatically stockpiling 80 percent of your spice. It is possible to sell or stockpile 100 percent if you so wish.

The exchange rate for spice to Solari will change every month, as will the Imperial Tax demand. The key to playing the spice market is to stockpile as much spice as you can when the market is weak, and then sell it when the market is strong. This way, you'll have a nice stockpile of spice for months when you'd rather sell the majority of it.

If you click the Spice Report button above the countdown to the Imperial Tax deadline, you can read useful information about the current tax cycle and get a preview of what the next month's exchange rate will be. Most importantly, though, is the "Currently expected stocks for next tax" calculation which allows you to see if you will have enough spice stockpiled for the end of the current tax cycle. If you don't, it's a good idea to move the slider on the left more in favor of stockpiling spice.

This calculation does not include any possible disruptions to your spice income, such as invasions from rival factions or your Harvesters being threatened by sandworms. Always take these numbers with a grain of salt.

If you are in a month with very high spice prices and you find your stockpile lacking, you may want to find alternative methods to increase your stockpile to make the Imperial Tax deadline. These include:

In conclusion, keeping a close eye on the spice market and adjusting accordingly is one of the main strategic features of Dune: Spice Wars and careful exploitation of the system will lead to great profit.

The strategy game tasks players with engaging in a war to control the spice on the planet of Arrakis, with fans able to choose which faction to join, with the options including House Atreides, House Harkonnen, House Corrino, Smugglers or Fremen. Each faction provides specific bonuses that will affect how players approach the game.

No matter which army you choose or how you decide to play, once the fight for Arrakis begins you have so much to do. There are constant distractions from the task at hand, from Landsraad council votes to internal rebellions stoked by enemy armies to constant random sandworm attacks. Ignoring any of these things has dangerous consequences: Your enemies might gang up on you and encourage the Landsraad to double your cost to train soldiers or a village may suddenly turn on you and the militia garrisoned there may choose to burn it all down, forcing you to start over again. This is a separate process from maintaining your own intelligence and counterintelligence missions and making sure you have enough resources to keep expanding your empire. Oh, and the longer the game goes on, the more spice needs to be paid to CHOAM or you'll get new taxes on other resources. It's a lot, and can become overwhelming late in the game.

This might not be such a challenge to manage if the folks at Shiro Games had seen fit to give this game a proper tutorial. Instead, at the start of your first play-through there's a set of text and image slides you can click through to explain how it all works. But there are so many different systems and menus that a more interactive and playable tutorial would help you along. More than this, the first couple of minutes in this game are crucial. While you're reading a tutorial, the other three armies are securing their second spice field. The game deserves a better introduction, and I hope it gets added before this title leaves early access on Steam.

To the credit of the folks at Shiro Games, this game is easily the most faithful to the Dune universe that I've played. While the Atreides and Harkonnen need to rely on spice harvesters which need to be rescued at wormsign or conflict from another army, Fremen spice gatherers have no such difficulties. There are some troop types that rely on projectile weaponry, but it's not the dominant form of combat. There are clear places the sandworms can't travel, the movement and combat types for each army are varied in ways that make sense and the larger map feels consistent with Arrakis in the books. It's not perfect -- at one point I was playing as the Fremen and spotted a roaming group of soldiers the game had simply labeled "Locals," which doesn't make any sense at all -- but this is loads better than what Dune fans have had in the past. I also lost a Fedaykin squad to a sandworm attack, which is technically possible in the context of the world but feels extremely unlikely given who the Fedaykin warriors are.

Here I am on Arrakis, spreading Fremen warriors to more and more territories so I can collect enough spice to rule the desert planet. And yet I have to pay most of my haul to the Spacing Guild as a bribe? And they want more every month? Forget this competition between the Atreides, Harkonnen, Fremen, and Smugglers factions: I hope 4X strategy game Dune: Spice Wars eventually includes a win condition that lets me tell the Spacing Guild to piss off.

That was satisfying, but you can't think too hard about how Spice Wars has grafted Dune onto the framework (and budget) of a basic 4X. You can place buildings on a small grid within each territory, but their location is mostly meaningless. Outside of a few unique units and tech tree differences, the Fremen mostly play like the Atreides, who aren't all that different from the Harkonnen, and so on. Should the Fremen really be conquering territories, manufacturing whatever the heck plascrete is, and paying spice taxes to the Spacing Guild?

When I wrote my hands-off preview of Dune: Spice Wars, I realised that I was disappointed with myself. Why? Because I wasted the sub-header. I should have saved "spice up your life" for the eventual review or this hands-on preview. Still, my best shot is gone, and now I'm stuck quoting old nursery rhymes. The question then is a simple one: from my experience with Dune: Spice Wars, does it look like it's from everything nice, or is it made out of slugs, snails and puppy dog's tails?

Well, Dune: Spice Wars is launching onto Early Access today, and I've been able to have a hands-on before this launch. I remember Shiro Games saying that a game would last between three to five hours and, from the games I've played, this is understating the time just a bit. I'm generally a slower, contemplative player, so this I expected. However, the slower you go, the more likely you will lose. You may be expanding or holding more spice than any other faction, but there are quite a few ways to win and lose this game. I'm pretty confident I don't understand them all either.

Some aspects that Shiro Games told me about in my hands-off preview don't seem to have been implemented. I got to the pole of one map, the place with ice, and I couldn't figure out how to get the wealth of water it would naturally contain. Still, I figured out the use of spice; it's just to get the cartel off your back. Keep up with your ever-increasing payments, and your reputation doesn't suffer. You can also trade some for regular cash or use it in diplomacy (also quite undercooked for now), but it doesn't seem like the best resource ever.

Spice Wars is a bit more of a traditional RTS than developer Shiro Games' last project, Northgard, which shared a lot of elements with worker placement tabletop games. But a return to the old formula isn\u2019t necessarily a bad thing, and its well-balanced resource mechanics are still at the heart of everything. Whether it's manpower, political influence, or the all-important spice, I never fell into a rut in this glimmering desert where I felt like I had enough of everything. Spice Wars always keeps you hungering for something, which can lead to conflict even with a long-time ally if they just happen to get to that juicy spice field you were eyeing before you can. 041b061a72


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