The Spice of Life
The GM provides six nifty Best Faction
Hey ... my worm counter isn't that
In answer to last year's concerns about too many games running
past the time limit and requiring adjudication, qualification
games this year were scheduled for five hours, and half of the
eight games played needed all of that time. Nonetheless, the
average game this year was shorter than last, taking 3.8 hours
to play 6.6 turns. Adjudication rules were also simplified, and
thankfully those were only needed to be called upon once.
We had two solo wins, one a Turn 7 Atreides win, and one a
Turn 2 (!!) Guild win (only partially assisted by an amateurish
error in play committed by the GM himself!) Previously, we had
recorded only three solo wins in eight years of play, and those
were all accomplished by the Harkonnen, so it was nice to see
a couple of new factions getting in on the action. The remaining
games were won by two 2-player alliances and four 3-player teams,
with only one default condition victory achieved by the Guild.
The factions were fairly evenly balanced, with every faction
achieving three - five victories, but for the poor Fremen who
shared in only one win, continuing to occupy the cellar. (After
eight of nine years with losing Fremen records, I am seriously
considering introducing a house rule to help that faction compete
a bit more effectively.)
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. Phil Barcafer received Best Atreides; Rob Barnes, Best
BG; Jean-Francois Gagne, Best Emperor; Bill Dyer, Best Fremen;
Stephane Dorais, Best Guild; and Benoit Groulx, Best Harkonnen.
The three Canadians from last year's final game all repeated
that appearance this year, with Glenn McMaster drawing the Harkonnen;
Benoit Groulx, the Emperor; and Stephane Dorais, the BG. Rounding
out the final game were Joe Harrison with the Atreides, Bill
Dyer with the Fremen, and Phil Barcafer with the Guild. All six
players have previously played in the Final and reside in the
top half of the Laurels List, three being former champions.
The Final started out with relative cooperation among the
players, Atreides and Harkonnen sharing spice blows, until the
Fremen severely weakened the Harkonnen in a big battle over a
spice blow. In Turn 3, the first worm appeared and Atreides and
the Emperor allied, going for the win in Turn 4. They had a good
chance of winning the game at this point, bolstered by timely
play of the Lazgun, but they were narrowly defeated, with Harkonnen
taking significant losses again.
In Turn 5, Atreides abandoned the weakened Emperor and allied
with the Guild. The other four factions all remained unallied
in a bid to defend passively by blocking strongholds. The Fremen
was weakened by a particularly nasty Weather-Controlled storm,
and the Atreides/Guild alliance attempted to win in Turn 7. The
BG defeated the Atreides in Habbanya Ridge Sietch, and the Harkonnen,
funded by both the Emperor and the Fremen, attacked in Arrakeen.
A demoralizing Karama hand swap ensured Harkonnen victory and
a continuing game.
The next worm saw the Guild and Harkonnen ally as the strongest
remaining factions, with four strongholds already controlled
between them. The bulk of the Fremen and Emperor armies attacked,
but Harkonnen abandoned Arrakeen to the Emperor, taking the Shield
Wall instead (now available as a stronghold for victory, due
to the house rules.) The Guild defeated the Fremen in two battles,
while the Harkonnen prevailed against the BG in Carthag to declare
victory in Turn 8!
In the end, the Guild/Harkonnen alliance shared the requisite
four strongholds evenly, with the Harkonnen being declared the
champion due to having more tokens on planet. Glenn is the third
player to win a second Dune title, but the first to do
it in sequential years.
It was good to see Roger Cox back
at WBC for the first time since Camp Hill days. He's joined here
at right by Joe Doughan as the two ventured into the Dune
It takes nerve to sport your Centurion
shirt in the multi-player event you won it in, but it takes skill
to do it and repeat as champion. Glenn did just that.