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The wonderful Dune Imperium's digital version is getting its first expansion in July

Rise Of Ix adds dreadnoughts and new leaders

The interface of Dune Imperium's Rise Of Ix expansion.
Image credit: Dire Wolf

Dune Imperium is a fabulous strategy game about becoming the biggest spice boy on a sandy planet I presume is called Dune. I love it despite never having read the Dune books or watched the Dune movies, because the digital version taught me everything I needed to know about Barry Harkonnen, Oscar Isaac, the tall guy from Guardians Of The Galaxy, and their insatiable pursuit of space nutmeg.

Now the board game's first expansion is headed to the digital version of the game, and it's called Rise Of Ix for reasons I definitely understand.

Rise Of Ix adds three new Great Houses - Moritani, Ecaz and Vernius - which have two new playable leaders each, all with unique special abilities. It also adds a new technology track to advance along, akin to the relationship tracks in the base game, as well as dreadnought ships which add a new layer of complexity to military conflicts.

Dune Imperium is a deckbuilder and worker placement game, in which each player begins with two agents they can deploy on each turn by using cards, in order to accrue spice, moneybucks, water, or military strength. The aim is to gather victory points across up-to ten rounds of play, either by forming alliances with various factions (the Fremen, the Emperor, the red teleporty one, the purple one), winning battles against other players, or buying them via the card shop.

I spent fifteen minutes playing half the tutorials in the digital version and then started actual matches, both against the computer and against a friend. Even as a total dummy, Imperium is graspable enough that I was able to conceive of and carry out a basic strategy from that very first match, which is all I need to have fun even if I'm losing. As it turns out, I do often lose, but the matches are typically close, with dramatic turnarounds and last-round comebacks.

I'm not sure how Rise Of Ix's additions will interact with all those systems, but I'm excited to find out. The expansion is due to release second half of July, according to the announcement.

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