Dune: Spice Wars – Early Access Experience

Dune: The Spice Wars is a unique game because it combines classic RTS and 4X strategy (explore, expand, exploit, exterminate – explore, expand, exploit, exterminate). What’s the plot? We will not experience any campaign here, instead we will simply choose one of the 4 factions and fight for control of the desert planet of Arrakis, commonly known as Duna. We can command the houses of Atreides and Harkonnens, Fremen and smugglers known from the books. Each faction has unique abilities, as well as strengths and weaknesses, and choosing them will define our style of play.

You can win in 3 ways: by eliminating opponents, by becoming the governor of Arrakis and occupying this position for 30 minutes, or by obtaining enough Hegemony points. The first can be achieved in two ways, namely razing the enemy base or through espionage. Becoming a governor requires control of the territory and alliances with the Sichas, and hegemony is perhaps the most complicated, not only in the control of territories, but also in the overall development of the planet, power over special territories and recognition of the Landsraad. Each of these methods is good, and a given fraction has a greater or lesser predisposition to gain this or that. For example, it is perfectly possible to lead the Atreides to victory without building an army (not counting here the passive defense in the form of Militia).

Dune: The Spice Wars
funcom picture

No matter which side of the conflict we take and which path to victory we take, we will need territories and their resources. The most important of these is, of course, the Spice, on which the existence of the Empire depends, but not much less precious water, pletone (a building material combining the advantages of plastic and concrete ), fuel, and human resources. , Solari (the main currency), influence and authority. Sound overwhelming? And that’s just the beginning, because aside from construction costs, virtually all buildings and units have additional upkeep costs. Even conquering new territory by defeating the militia there will be pointless if we don’t have enough water and authority to control the new expanse of desert. And on top of that, there is also Landsraad, the political body that governs this universe, in which we pass bills, positive or negative, from time to time, aimed at ourselves or our adversaries. Finally, there is the matter of the spice itself. Although it is very valuable, we cannot sell it freely, because with it we pay the fief tax, which increases from time to time. So the whole game is mainly about balancing production and demand, whatever resource we’re talking about. We can always try to trade with the opponent.

And I haven’t even had time to mention that practically everything on this planet wants to kill us. From other factions, to the rebel Fremen of Sichy (although you can negotiate with them), deadly weather (our troops in the desert lose supplies and may starve to death, and sandstorms destroy reapers and ornithopters), and ending with the Czerwiach of the desert who will happily eat our reaper and kill our foot. Although the latter leads to some funny situations, as there were also situations where the enemy army I was observing marching towards my territory suddenly became a snack for a worm. The combat in this game is much more like that known from Civilization than classic RTS. We have small, expensive troops, very limited in number, and a passive militia guarding our settlements.

In technical terms, there are a few additional issues developers need to address. There were times when it was impossible to build a relationship with the Sicha, regardless of whether the costs of taking over a fiefdom or territory exceeded the maximum level a player could have. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate choice or a mistake, but it could be improved and balanced. And the map is definitely too small, even in the largest setting factions meet too quickly and cause friction. Before the game, you can choose how many and which factions will be our opponents in this game, but this is not the solution to the problem.

In conclusion, while there are minor and major errors and the game certainly needs polishing, there is a bright future ahead of it. You can see that the developers put a lot of heart into it, it’s well thought out, diverse and already offers a ton of playability, given the possibilities of combining factions and playstyles. Due to its level of difficulty and its specificity, this is definitely not a game for everyone, but fans of more budget-friendly RTS and 4X games should give it a shot.

Leave a Comment