There are a wide range of Dune board games out there, each aiming to recreate the planetary political tensions of Frank Herbert’s epic sci-fi series. Want to bring the struggles of Arrakis to game night? Below you’ll find the best tabletop adaptations that are sure to spice things up.
If you’re shopping for some of the best board games around right now, we’ve got you covered. Dune board games can accommodate a range of player counts – so whether you’re after the perfect solo board games or 2-player board games, there’s something for you. We can also recommend games in every genre, from deck-building games to tabletop RPGs.
The best Dune board games in 2023 are:
- Dune: Imperium – Best new Dune board game
- Dune – The classic Dune board game, revived
- Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy – Best for new players
- Dune: Adventures in the Imperium – Best Dune tabletop RPG
Best new Dune board game
A 2020 title, Dune: Imperium takes inspiration from the latest Dune film adaptation as well as the novels. One to four players will become leaders of one of the Great Houses of the Landsraad, and you’ll each be vying for control of Dune’s focal planet, hoping to win full custody of that sweet melange. So far, so Dune.
Dune: Imperium combines deck-building with worker placement mechanics. Think carefully when deciding whether to play cards or ‘reveal’ them later on, as their different effects can make or break your influence over Arrakis. These decisions only grow in complexity, as your standard deck fills with more powerful cards and combos during play.
Dune: Imperium is fairly crunchy, but it isn’t going to take you hours to play. This makes it a solid starting point for newcomers to strategy board games who also love the Dune series.
The classic Dune board game, revived
Dune ‘classic’ was originally printed in 1979, and it was a collector’s item for a long while. That is, until the game got a reprint in 2019 to coincide with the latest Dune film.
This is a board game that challenges you to collect as much spice as you can, all while engaging in battles, betrayals, and shaky alliances. Oh, and you’ll be avoiding sandstorms, giant worms, and random bouts of bad luck as you go. You can win through area control, but each player’s leader also offers an alternative, more unique way to claim victory.
The look of the game got an update in the reboot, but the rules were left mostly intact. This does mean that some of the many mechanics stuffed in the box feel a little unbalanced or odd by today’s standards, but Dune has such a strong theme that many players won’t mind.
However, bear in mind that this is a fairly chunky Dune game with a lot of strategy to consider, and you can expect to sink multiple hours into a playthrough. It won’t be too intimidating for seasoned players, but it’s a lot for a board game newbie to digest.
Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy
Best for new players
If the original Dune board game is sounding like a bit much, then good news – there’s a more streamlined version that has the same core theme and gameplay. Enter Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy. Its name may be longer, but this is a strategy game with a much shorter playtime (shaved down to a single hour at most) and more approachable rules.
Players still act as House leaders, and they still have unique mechanics that maintain the original Dune game’s asymmetric feel. You’re also still looking to control the largest area and amass the most melange. Battles and betrayal are present, but less prevalent than in the dicey double-dealing Dune original. This version doesn’t have the grand scale and complexity of its big sibling (or indeed, the awards), but it’s a solid introduction to Dune board games as a whole.
Dune: Adventures in the Imperium
Best Dune tabletop RPG
For those that dream of being in the Dune universe, there’s a tabletop RPG that can scratch your itch. Dune: Adventures in the Imperium turns you into a supporter of a particular House, and then it plonks you in the deserts of Arrakis in roughly the same time period as Herbert’s original novel. It’s time to gain and defend your House’s power any way you can – whether that’s with secrets or soldiers.
Adventures in the Imperium attempts to tackle the vast scale, mass combat, and macro-political tensions of the novels. You’ll need plenty of lore knowledge to get the most out of this game, too; despite the publisher’s best attempts, newcomers to Dune are still required to do a lot of homework on the campaign setting.
Adventures in the Imperium is an RPG filled with complexity, but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun for the right audience. Plus it’s the most immersive way to experience Dune in the world of tabletop gaming, placing you at the heart of the sci-fi action.