“What do you despise? By this are you truly known. Let me tell you about how much I fukken hate worms." - Frank 'I Hate Worms' Herbert

It's Friday. Normally I'd be swilling some cheap rotgut in a fancy glass, but the holiday has waged war on my insides.


As you might recall, we're playing the Dune boardgame. Originally published in 1979 by Avalon Hill, recently republished by Gale Force 9.

Originally designed as part of the Project MKUltra to teach nightcrawlers how to have anxiety, it has since become a classic of the genre.
I am playing Padishah-Emperor Shaddam IV of House Corrino as I attempt to fistfight my enemies for control of a very large spice rack. Those enemies are:

- House Harkonen, baddies
- House Atreides, baddies with good PR
- Spacing Guild, Uber w/ LSD and gun
- Fremen, ??? sand
I didn't put the Bene Gesserit on there as an enemy because a) I ran out of characters and b) they're like a combination of Catholic nuns and Народный комиссариат внутренних дел. Keeping their name out of your mouth is safer.
Last session we saw some interesting developments. With the arrival of Shai Hulud (Bless the Maker and His Water. Bless the Coming and going of Him. May His passage cleanse the world. May He keep the world for His people), we were allowed to ally!
This technically makes the game harder-- an alliance must secure FOUR cities to win, not three. BUT, each faction has their own special buddy-buddy alliance power.

Mine? I get to just fucking give my ally money. I subsidize their violence. I'm Daddy Warbucks with bloodlust.
And last session, Daddy WARbucks allied with the Spicing Guild. As the only faction who starts with 0 troops on planet, it seemed smart to ally with the guy who can give me a discount to ferry my Sarduakar Murdermasters down to sandtown.
I say "smart" but I also messaged literally everyone else in the game to see if they wanted to be allies and they all bullied me. They bullied the shit out of me. They called me a dork and then mocked me when I started crying but I wasn't crying I just had allergies!
Anyway. I forgot who else was allied with who else, because I'm very handsome and also the Padishah-Emperor (which is like way cooler than a normal Emperor).
As it stands, there are five strongholds on Arrakis.

Sietch Tabr (Fremen)
Habbanya Sietch (Fremen)
Tuek's Sietch (Guild)
Arrakeen (Atreides)
Carthag (Ya Boi Daddy Warriorbuckeroos)
Bene and the Gesserits have troops in basically all of those. THat's their thing. They act as "spiritual advisors" until they decide they want to be soldiers and stab you in the butthole.
I don't know if that's the BG player's plan this turn, but my cheeks are clenched up just in case.
First spice blow-- it's a Worm!

So. Uh. There goes my alliance. There goes ALL alliances.

The Fremen also get to surf the worm wherever they want. Fuck me.
They surf the worm to Red Chasm, which eats all the spice. My Guild partner's troops are also eaten.


This time, WE are the diet of worms.
Spice blows in Wind Pass North and Habbanya Ridge Flat-- both very close to the Fremen controlled Habbanya Sietch. The rich sandfolk might get richer.

Metaphorically. I'm the Emperor. Everyone is poor compared to me.
Bidding Phase! I like this phase because I get paid a lot during it.
The Bene Gesserits drive a bid up and then--I didn't know they could do this--pay for it with a donkey. This is a special power they have. The donkey is a "useless card" to anyone EXCEPT them. They are good for the BG's whose side gig is selling donkeys?

Fucking Dune, man
So far I'm not being paid much in this phase, so it is no longer my favorite phase, I hate it.
The Fremen and the Atreides go HAM on the last treachery card. SIX spice. Fuck. Big money. I love this phase again.
One of my other abilities in an alliance is that I can pay to revive my ally's troops-- basically doubling their force regeneration.

But it is expensive. The Guild lost a LOT of troops. Daddy WARbucks felt that a little.
The Fremen are trying to decide between throwing a bunch of their troops into the spice blow at Habbanya-- which would see half of them dead to the incoming storm. But it would be a nice pile of S P I C E.
They opt instead to reinforce Sietch Tabr.
I reinforce Carthag with a fat stack of Sarduakar.

Sarduakar are the space version of hussars.
Sarduakar are what you get if you strap a mustache to an industrial sized blender and tell it the only way to find God is through violence.
This was an uneventful turn, which feels like everyone catching their breath before revving up their murderboners for another swordfight.
No worms this time for the spice blows. Rock Outcroppings and Broken Land both filled with that sweet spicy melange.
Treachery card bidding! Fuck you all, pay me.
Me and my ally are now full of cards. This is probably good! I think? I certainly feel like I have a nice spread of cards to use. I hope they do. Otherwise I fucked up allying with them.
I can't talk about the cool card I picked up, tho, because the other players are reading this thread. Or am I bluffing?! Ha ha! I'm so handsome and rich.
I have no idea what I'm doing.
I drop a bunch of Sarduakar down on Habbanya Sietch. I nearly decided to go for broke at Arrakeen, but decided against it. The Atreides roll deep there.

The Fremen are being... weird.
The Guild is going all in. They airdrop a bunch of meth'd out space-truckers on Sietch Tabr.

If we win in Habbanya Sietch and Sietch Tabr? We win.
Buuuuut, the Bene Gesserits' spiritual advisors have all decided to pull out knives. There will be a fight in Carthag and Tuek's Sietch. We need to hold both to win.
Up first-- the fight for Sietch Tabr! The Bene Gesserit disallow use of a "poison defense", likely aiming to make it easier for the Fremen murderize the Guild general.

Which they do. They fend off the Guild at cost of all their troops. Mutual destruction. Love it. (I hate it).
Ok, so we aren't winning this turn.
We move onto the fight for Tuek's Sietch. Guild vs. Bene and the Gesserits.

Fun fact! I can't renegotiate my alliances until another worm card comes up. We've had almost all of them come up already.

No reason I'm thinking about new alliances. No reason at all.
The Guild has resorted to begging me for spice with which to continue its fights. Thankfully, they win in Tuek's Sietch. so we haven't LOST territory yet.
I win both of my battles, but the stress on my coffers is enormous. For the first time in this game, I don't feel like the richest person at the table.
We're back to the treachery card bidding phase. This should hopefully replenish my forces and coffers.
Since I'm not drinking as I usually do during these boardgames, I've become hypercognizant of just how poorly I'm playing. And since I'm not drinking as I usually do during these boardgames, I have precisely no excuse.
Literally all my troops are either on the planet, or dead. I have no reserves. Not a single Sarduakar howls their dread through the expansive halls of House Corrino.
"The unholy alliance of Harkonnen and Atreides are sitting there doing NOTHING"
"Because we're so broken we can't do anything!"

Feels good that I'm not truly destitute at this board.
I flash-clone a couple more Sarduakar. Not as many as I want. I have so many dead soldiers.

Still, Sarduakar are what happens if you teach an AI how to bake using only a catalog of historical warcrimes.

More from Fun

A thread on @Dream, his friends, Minecraft, insane Twitter engagement, and more:

Dream & friends' (@GeorgeNotFound, @tommyinnit, @Quackity, @TubboLive, @WilburSoot, etc) meteoric rise and the massive return of Minecraft has been one of the most amazing gaming stories this year.

1/ What do Dream and crew get so right?

On the surface, it's clear that they show the power of good storytelling and each of our desires to "hang out" with a group of friends that are having fun.

(image @Animagician_)

2/ This remains one of, if not the most important draws for great parasocial content -- whether it be Seinfeld, @DavidDobrik's vlogs, or Dream SMP content, the same is true:

We want to feel a little less alone and spend time in the worlds of these friends we know so much about.

3/ Watching this new wave of superstars take over YouTube / Twitch / Twitter gaming cultures has been incredible and bizarre.

Check the replies and engagement

4/ Dream speaks to the underrated and remarkable nature of Minecraft, too. In its 9th year, the game continues to dominate. Why?

Accessible, multi-platform, wide appeal? Sure - but more importantly: it is infinitely extendable. It's a creator's perfect sandbox. (image @SipoverS)

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