The Spice of Life
The GM provided six nifty Best Faction
Hey ... my worm counter isn't that
This year's Dune tournament again included nine qualification
games, but they ran a little longer than usual, with a mean duration
of 7.8 game turns in 4.4 hours.
With the exception of one solo victory (a Guild default win),
all of the games were won by alliances, five pairs and three
triples. The wins were relatively evenly spread across all the
factions, except for the Bene Gesserit, who retained their reputation
as the "winningest" faction, participating in six wins.
House Harkonnen had an uncharacteristic down year, with only
three wins, bringing them down to the level of the Fremen and
Tournament rules remained unchanged from 2007, but this year
there was heightened concern about the adjudication rules --
four of the nine preliminary games required adjudication. All
feedback concerning adjudication for next year is welcome. I
am considering eliminating adjudication altogether by allowing
Fremen/Guild default victories at the end of every unfinished
game, no matter what turn they end.
Best Faction plaques were awarded to the players who gave
the best single-game performance with each faction during the
preliminary heats, measured in terms of strongholds controlled
per turn. Ty Hansen received Best Atreides; Bill Dyer, Best BG;
Benoit Groulx, Best Emperor; Jean-Francois Gagne, Best Fremen;
Alan Arvold, Best Guild; and Matt Fagan, Best Harkonnen.
There was a strong Canadian contingent in the Final, with
Glenn McMaster drawing the Guild; Benoit Groulx, the BG; and
Stephane Dorais, the Fremen. Rounding out the finalists were
ex-champ Matt Fagan with the Atreides, Rob Barnes with the Harkonnen,
and two-time champion Bill Dyer as the Emperor.
The Final got off to a relatively stable beginning, with the
five strongholds being shared evenly. However, the Guild was
sowing discord right from the start, remaining aloof from early
alliances. In Turn 3, a Truth trance discovered that the BG had
predicted the Emperor to win on an unknown turn. Meanwhile, a
major battle between the the Harkonnen and the Atreides ended
in a lasgun-shield explosion eliminating both of their sizable
armies, only to find them allying with each other in the next
turn's nexus! Such is the nature of Dune.
In Turn 4, three alliances emerged that would remain until
the end of the game: Fremen-Emperor, Atreides-Harkonnen, and
Guild-BG. At one point, the Guild and BG actually sealed their
alliance with a publicly binding agreement, virtually unheard
of! The Fremen and Emperor held all the cards, literally, through
much of the first half of the game. They struggled for the win
a couple of times, but came up just short, hindered in part by
the destruction of the Shield Wall. By mid-game, the Guild and
BG were gaining power, with the Guild uncharacteristically actively
hunting Harkonnen troops for the purpose of killing leaders.
However, despite the entry of the Shield Wall as a sixth stronghold
in Turn 7, no one alliance was able to achieve victory over the
others. In Turn 11, each faction held exactly one stronghold
apiece, with Carthag having been controlled by each faction at
least once during the game. In the last turns, parity continued,
and it became a question of which of the Fremen or the Guild
would achieve their default victory conditions. After 15 grueling
turns, the Guild finally claimed victory, having successfully
prevented any conclusive ownership of Arrakis!
Congratulations to all, and especially to Glenn McMaster on
his first Dune championship. See you again next year!
The GM's custom made Dune set
included wooden box screens.
The finalists engage in a 15-turn