With Denis Villeneuve’s take on Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi classic released at the end of last year, Dune fans all over the world are once again in search of the Spice. Aside from the feature film starring Timothee Chalamet, we now have Dune: Spice Wars, a 4X strategy and management game that takes place on the embattled, inhospitable planet of Arrakis.
There have been other video games that make use of the characters and locales of Dune, but the last one to be released came out in 2001, 11 years ago. Now, Shiro Games and Funcom have delivered fans a modern Dune game with up-to-date features and mechanics, as well as fantastic graphics that bring the sandy wastes to life.
If you’re a Dune fan and want to get into this game, but maybe have never experienced a 4X strategy game, I have a few tips and tricks in this Dune: Spice Wars Beginner’s Guide that will help get you started out on the right path. Strategy games in this style can be quite intimidating, but fear is the mind-killer, and with a little help, you’ll be running your own successful Spice mining operation.
Once you’ve picked a house and set up a game, you’ll be dropped into a map completely obscured besides your home base or capital. To explore the surrounding area and scout for Spice deposits as well as other significant locations on the map, you’ll have access to a single ornithopter. You’re able to manually point your ornithopter to locations you’d like for it to scout, but you can also set it to Auto-Recon the area. In Auto-Recon, it does a great job of finding and marking locations, so you can dedicate your time to other things. There’s an awful lot to do in this game.
Claiming a Spice Deposit
Once your ornithopter has located a spice field, you’ll need to find the village nearby that has claimed it. In order to start mining the Spice, you’ll need to flex your military power and take over this village first. If you haven’t already, go ahead and start recruiting some military units to carry out your dirty work. A village will usually have how many units are guarding it in an icon over the location, so just make sure you have enough to go toe-to-toe with them. After you’ve eliminated the guards, you can lay claim to the village if you have enough Water and Authority resources available to you. Then, you can set down roots there and start working on a harvester for the Spice!
Watch Out for Sand Worms!
With your harvester built, you’ll need to manually send it out to begin harvesting. You can set it to Auto-Recall so that it will automatically return to the village if there is a danger of a sandworm attack. This will happen fairly frequently, as harvesters are big, loud, and create disturbances in the sand that attracts the massive creatures, just like in the movie. You can tell when a sandworm might be attacking when the sand in the area of the harvester begins to vibrate and shift unnaturally. If you have Auto-Recall on, you shouldn’t have an issue. But if you decide to keep an eye on everything manually, you’ll need to be vigilant. On another note, when your harvester returns to the village, you’ll have to manually deploy it again, as it won’t return to the field without your direction.
Don’t be a Tax Evader
Periodically, you’ll need to pay your taxes to the planet’s government. They’ll take a percentage of your Spice, so you need to make sure you have enough to cover your taxes before the time comes. Paying Uncle Arrakis on time will increase your Landsraad standing, which will, in turn, increase your standing among the nations and allow for the possibility of diplomatic solutions to problems that would traditionally require military intervention. Not paying your taxes will result in you having less standing with other nations, as well as several other downsides, including having an unfair exchange rate when trading spice for Solari. This one small inconvenience can quickly snowball into a large problem for you, so do your best to keep on top of your taxes!
Build Your Empire on Arrakis
To start the city-building portion of the 4X experience, you will need to accrue 2,000 Hegemony. Hegemony is gained by conquering villages and having successful military actions. It will take quite a while, but once you have the necessary Hegemony and resources, you can start to build out your districts, which will give you bonuses to your various yields and increase your military might against other nations.
I hope these tips are enough to get you through the early hours of Dune: Spice Wars. 4X strategy games are complex, but if you put the time in, they can be very rewarding, especially set in the world of Dune. Good luck, and enjoy the Spice!
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