Dune: Spice Wars – Things I Wish I Knew Before Playing

This is not a guide for getting good at Dune: Spice Wars. This is a guide to getting less bad faster. If you enjoy finding things out the hard way, putting in six to eight hours of gameplay only to find you’ve missed a critical element, then please skip this guide.

If, instead, you want to maybe not replay the first six hours over and over until you figure out the basic mechanics, then read on.

Intro: Things I Wish I Knew Right Away

From the jump: The advisors straight up tell you which of them are Hard to use and which are Easy. Maybe take that advice the first time.

Your spice mining comes in as spice by default. The little white horizontal line to the left of your Stockpile info, in the top left, just to the right of your spice income?

That’s a vertical slider. You can slide it down to get some Solaris instead when you harvest, or slide it all the way up to get OnlySpice. If I’m down bad, I slide it all the way up for OnlySpice until I have at least as much spice as the next tax amount, then I slide it all the way down to Maximum Solaris until the next tax season. You might get lazy and leave it about where I have it in the image until you need more of one or the other.

You can only convert spice to Solaris at the time of harvest- once you harvest the spice, you’ll have to trade it with other folks to turn it into something else.

On that note, pretty much any faction will trade with you pretty much whenever. Take an Atreides village in the morning, trade them some spice for plascrete at lunchtime and they’re like sure yeah whatever.

You don’t need a special technology to add your first crew to your harvester, but it goes out without a crew by default. Spend the 50 manpower on that crew, military can wait!

If you set your harvester to auto-recall, you collect 5% less spice.

If you don’t have enough Authority to take a village, you can only Pillage it, and that’ll make it harder to take next time. Maybe mouse over the village first and see what it needs.

That buried Ornithopter? Don’t send a military unit to go get it right away unless you control that region. They will run out of supplies and die before completing that search… but you can do it to about 33%, run back home, and come back later, if you like doing things the hard way.

Once You’ve Started: Stuff I Wish I Knew A Few Hours In

If you don’t have enough spice for the spice tax, your spice-to-gold conversion rate suffers for next time.

If you do have enough spice, you get influence, which is extra votes during voting time.

Militia cost way less gold and manpower than roving armies, plus once they’re in they don’t require regular upkeep.

Army units cost regular water and regular manpower. I guess people just leave all the time, probably because you’re making them march all over the desert.

You can only have 10 Agents max, and Eye of the Council gives you two, so if you want to try for that, maybe start working on it once you have 5 or so, not once you have 10.

Assassination attempts are not one and done- they’re each a three-part mission. Have a Snickers, you’ll be there awhile.

Sietches want a new, fresh Agent, not one that’s been doing any kind of job ever.

If you don’t care much about the Council votes, you can buy Landsraad Standing with the spare Influence.

Infiltration levels are almost entirely dependent on how many Agents you have in that spot. If you have Arrakis Infiltration level 2 with two Agents and you remove one, you’ll go to level 1 almost instantly.

Special Regions have a little four-pointed star you can mouse over to see what they do. Some let you build Processing Plants, which generate +30 Solaris. The Polar Sink lets you build a Water Extractor for a whopping +1000 Hegemony and +30 Water.

If Raiders are overwhelming you, maybe scout out the Discoveries that increase your Sietch detection chances. Once you find em, just trade em whatever they want so they leave you alone. It’s usually a pretty good deal. Sietches are like an angry cat: You don’t have to be the one the cat’s favorite, just not the cat’s least favorite.

If you hate someone’s charter election bid but you don’t have a better option, you can vote Decline and toss votes behind that. Just because a charter is up doesn’t mean any candidate who qualifies gets the job. Sometimes the Minor Houses vote for no governor.

Smugglers: Wait, This Faction Wasn’t In the Movie

So I’ve only played Smugglers so far, and I’ve played enough to realize I need to play the other factions in order to actually win, but I also like Smugglers too much to play other factions just yet, so here’s some things I’ve learned so far.

  • Lingar Bewt is a trap. Sure you can get cheaper village annexation and cheaper Underworlds with more Water, but in order to get that more Water, you either have to take over a bunch of windy places or control the Polar Sink. Holding the Polar Sink is like wearing a white suit to teach a dozen toddlers to fingerpaint: real messy real quick. I feel like Smugglers like to be on the fringes, not the frontlines.
  • Staban Tuek is hard to use correctly because it costs a TON of Solaris to set up. You want a bunch of Underworld HQ, right? That means letting everyone else have a bunch of adjacent villages. Once you get enough of them, they’ll start paying for each other, especially if you can siphon off Solaris from the right ones, but it takes awhile before that really pays off. Also, if you take over a village with an Underworld HQ, you’ve essentially deprived yourself of an income source, so maybe think carefully about that.
  • Smugglers are great at defense but not great on offense, since their advantages depend on depriving enemies of Supplies. This means you’ll want to keep a Poison the Reserves operation on tap when you’re ready to go on the offense- pop it when you cross the border, and they’ll be good and hungry by the time you get to the village proper. This also means you probably don’t want to mess with the Fremen ever.
  • The Fremen Do Not Care about your Supply shenanigans. It’s important enough to say twice.
  • Smugglers can scout out Black Market opportunities to sell 200 Spice for like 900 Solaris. If you pay attention to the CHOAM exchange rate, it means a 1 spice to 4.5 Solari ratio, which is WAY BETTER than whatever CHOAM will give you. If you max out your Ornithopters ASAP, you can probably run on a Solari deficit and survive purely on finding those Black Markets, pillaging, and siphoning off of your enemies.
  • Your Snipers are sneaky little gits, which means someone can easily misjudge how many armies they need to send to take one of your villages. If a Sniper arrives even a little after four raiders take on a 3-militia village, the Sniper can usually clean up just fine.
  • Putting a Bounty on a vote is a fixed upfront cost. You don’t also have to pay off all the 5-credit minibribes. I sure hope I’m not wrong about that.
  • You’re not gonna win on military so don’t try. Once the villages are mostly spoken for, plant missile bases on your spice refineries near the edges, plant rebellions on border villages to keep them free for pillaging, and if someone bothers you, tag em with Wreckers and run. Either they chase you and ignore your militias, or they focus on your militias and you can just come back and keep tagging em with Wreckers until they run out of supplies and die.
  • You get Hegemony from pillaging villages. You can get an advisor who will also throw in some Plascrete. Pillaging a few early on will get you to 2k hegemony faster, which lets you start building the big buildings faster. Y’know, like Intelligence Agency, the one that gives you +100% Agent recruitment rate.
  • Spying Logistics also gives you +100% Agent recruiment rate. You know what’s nice? Having triple the Agent recruitment rate.
  • Not sure what to spend Intel on? Ghost Markets is 200 Solaris for 50% of a village’s production, and that’s not limited by range. If you have 50% of their production from Ghost Markets and 30% of their production from your Underworld HQ’s upgrade, it’s like it’s your village and they’re just taking a 20% cut to protect it from the other factions and getting the privilege of paying the maintenance fees.

Fremen: Only Played Em For An Hour

Fun facts about the Fremen:

  • Fremen don’t care about Fuel Cells. They smoke the fuel and it makes them go berserk in combat or something. They skim a little Spice off the top when collecting, but who cares since they’re not doing much else with it anyway. They refit their ornithopters with, I dunno, hamster wheels or something. So go nuts with those thopters.
  • Fremen don’t care about sandworms when collecting spice. They don’t use harvesters, so they never get attacked while collecting spice. Just chilling out in the desert forever, picking up spice. So that’s cool.
  • Fremen don’t care about Water Extractors, which is super weird in the lore but this is a Video Game so don’t get your knickers in a twist about it. This means the Polar Sink is pretty useless to you, unless you enjoy denying everyone else the Water Extractor.
  • Fremen don’t care about the Landsraad. They’re not handing spice over to the Empire for spice tax, they’re bribing the Spacing Guild to look the other way while they’re up to shenanigans elsewhere on the planet. That’s rad. If they make the Spice Tax, they get Authority instead, which is just as well, since…
  • Fremen don’t care about sending Agents to sietches. Everyone else has to use up one of their precious agents, the Fremen just… kinda… spend some Authority and call it a day.
  • Fremen don’t care about airfields, either. They don’t know what those are. They just get Thumpers and ride worms to stuff. They can stack up to 3 of em, they can bring folks from one sandy place to another. Worms can’t travel onto hard rock though, so make sure enemy troops are moving across the desert before ambushing them. Also, it’s not an immediate thing, they have time to move, so it’s not the SURPRISE YA GOT GOT maneuver you wish it was.
  • So what DO the Fremen care about? They care about PLASCRETE. Holy God-Emperor do they care about Plascrete. I can never seem to make enough.
  • They also care about killing. Most of their Sietch bonuses revolve around stone cold murder, getting extra Fedaykin boots on the ground, whatever. Fremen seem super hard geared towards a Military victory, what with huffing fuel cells and sending people deep into the desert and all. I’m not real excited about sending wave after wave of my own warriors into someone else’s sietch, so this will probably be all I write about the Fremen. Too bad you don’t just want to liberate villages all day, Fremen. Be a lot cooler if you did.

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1 Comment

  1. “Sietches want a new, fresh Agent, not one that’s been doing any kind of job ever.”
    – You can actually just un-assign any of your agents from infiltration jobs (by right clicking them) then assign them to the Sietch. You can take them out of the Sietch at any time too just with a 0.5 day cooldown which is like 15 seconds

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