This expansion introduces two new player sides: the Bene Tleilaxu and Ix. We learned about both these peoples in Frank Herbert's God Emperor of Dune which takes place some 3,000 years after the action in the game. Fortunately, they do not seem to have changed significantly over this period. While neither made a major appearance in the first book, the Bene Tleilaxu played a significant role in Dune Messiah while the Ixians certainly could have done so also.
Because both sides are basically "leeches," i.e. depend on the actions of other players for income, it is recommended that if either or both of these sides are used, there are at least six players and preferably more.
Another adaptation that must be made stems from the Bene Tleilaxu's ability to coexist. The Bene Tleilaxu declare where they are coexisting before the Bene Gesserit do. If there are two active sides in a sector due to the Bene Tleilaxu no longer coexisting in the sector, any coexisting Bene Gesserit in the area must continue to coexist.
Bene Tleilaxu: Background
The Bene Tleilaxu fail to put in an appearance in Dune, the first book of Herbert's tetralogy, however, readers of Dune Messiah and God Emperor of Dune will remember the active role they played in those books.
Perhaps the Bene Tleilaxu are best known for their three primary exports. Among these are artificial eyes such as those provided to the victims of the stone-burner near the end of Dune Messiah. Second, the Bene Tleilaxu were the source of twisted mentats, human-computers like Piter de Vries who directed their tremendous skill to evil purposes. Finally, the axolotl tanks on Tleilax were the destination of corpses who were to see new life as gholas. The most famous of these was Duncan Idaho who actually regained the memories of his previous life. It is characteristic of Tleilaxan insidiousness that they programmed Idaho to turn traitor and assassinate his master.
Only two Tleilaxans from the time-period of the game are described in the books. The more important of these was Scytale who held a position roughly equivalent to foreign minister. Like many of the Bene Tleilaxu, he was a Face Dancer. These individuals were capable of shifting their features to completely duplicate those of another person. Thus, Face Dancers made excellent spies since they could go anywhere or climb aboard any ship. Scytale supplemented this important ability with mastery in diplomacy and strategy. His verbal fencing with Paul Muad'Dib is one of the more intriguing sections of Dune Messiah.
However, not all Tleilaxans were Face Dancers. One who lacked this talent was Bijaz, the dwarf. Paul recognized that Bijaz was himself an oracle when he realized that the dwarf had not appeared in his divination of the future. In Dune Messiah, Bijaz was the catalyst that motivated the Duncan Idaho ghola to attempt to assassinate Paul.
In Dune Messiah, the Bene Tleilaxu form a secret alliance with the Guild and Bene Gesserit. In this attempt to dethrone the Atreides dynasty, the Bene Tleilaxu were the main executors, while Guild steersmen provided secrecy for the plan. The Bene Gesserit, following their usual practice, took no direct action.
Bene Tleilaxu: Rules
Bene Tleilaxu: Player Notes
The Bene Tleilaxu are the perfect spies. The Face Dancers (starred tokens) have the ability to assume the appearance and manners of anyone. Their deceptiveness and ability to control the game without direct use of force is near that of the Bene Gesserit.
As the proprietors of the axolotl tanks, the Bene Tleilaxu are similar to the Guild. Their primary source of income stems largely from death in battle. For both players, the Emperor is the best customer while the Fremen rarely pay anything.
However, unlike the Guild who can frequently bide his time in the early stages of the game, the Bene Tleilaxu must take direct action to be a viable player. For while the Guild will receive spice to transport initial forces to the planet, the Bene Tleilaxu must wait until significant forces reach the tanks for like funds to pour in.
The Tleilaxu's greatest weakness is lack of income. In the early game his income is virtually nil. The 10 starting spice will not last long. Later, after there have been battles and token losses, especially among the Guild and Emperor who are more likely to buy tokens, spice problems lessen.
To alleviate this difficulty, the Bene Tleilaxu can do several things. First, of course, picking up a spice blow can be helpful. Second, use of the starred tokens as advisors will get forces down to the planet free of charge. Since revival requires token loss, the Tleilaxu player should attempt to foment conflicts, possibly (but not exclusively) by initiating them himself. Because of his substantial revival abilities, the Bene Tleilaxu player is able to withstand possible combat losses better than other players while a victory will have the advantage of sending enemy tokens (and leaders) to the tanks.
Two other advantages can help see the Bene Tleilaxu through the red. First, there are the starred tokens that ship down without cost. Second, and especially in the middle and late game, he is often sought as an ally, most frequently by those seeking to replace lost leaders.
The Bene Tleilaxu Karama power which allows him to revive anyone's leader for his own use can be quite useful in improving the Tleilaxan battle outcomes. This is particularly true if it can be determined, either from the initial draw or from comparing notes with an ally, that the leader in question is not a traitor.
Losing battles has little effect on the Tleilaxu player. His revival rate of 3 free per turn will quickly replace token losses. Leaders lost in battle can be replaced next turn provided he has the money. These abilities make the Tleilaxu player an excellent assassin. He can afford to use 1 token (usually starred), along with his 1 leader and a weapon card to try to assassinate an enemy leader. The cost to the Tleilaxu player is low: nothing to replace and ship a starred token and a large cost to the losing leader. The major cost would be the loss of the treachery card for losing the battle.
Other players must be careful because the Tleilaxu player can just as easily play a 5 leader and try to win the battle. Even the Atreides never knows which will be tried because the Tleilaxu player is never required to answer truthfully about his leader (unless a Karama card is used).
Since the Bene Tleilaxu are primarily a late-game side, they should be effective planners in the early stages. Remember that your chief customers will be those with low revival rates and significant treasuries: the Guild and the Emperor. Thus, your choice of traitors may well belong to those players (if possible) since you will attempt to cause the death of their tokens. Similarly, since you have only 3 starred tokens, you should carefully weigh when and where to ship them in. Because of the limited quantity, they should not be used as a matter of course in every situation as is often the case with the Bene Gesserit.
In the early game, the Bene Tleilaxu should use their initial funds to obtain at least one more treachery card. Remaining funds should be used for transport to collect spice or attack or both. The objective is to gain spice either directly or by causing the death of tokens who must subsequently be revived. Of course, treachery cards like Family Atomics and Weather Control can be used for a similar effect.
The Bene Tleilaxu can be valuable in alliance for any of the the players because of your ability to revive dead leaders before all 5 leaders have been lost. From the Tleilaxan point of view, valuable allies are likely to be the enemies of the Emperor or the Guild. Frequently this will mean the Fremen. Alternatively, the Harkonnens or Atreides or Bene Gesserit also make good partners, the former because he makes possibilities for traitors tremendous and the latter two because of their combat talents. Of course, there are no hard-and-fast rules; paired with one of the "moneyed" powers, you need not worry about your spice supply while your ally can depend on always having his best leader.
Overall, this is a good character to choose for those who would like a cross between the treachery of the Harkonnen and the manipulative abilities of the Bene Gesserit.
Although briefly mentioned in the first three Dune books, Ix and it inhabitants are not described in depth until God Emperor of Dune. Fortunately they do not seem to have changed much and thus we can easily surmise what they must have been in the time of Paul Muad'dib.
In God Emperor of Dune, we discover that Ix (the ninth planet) is the leading technology producer for all the worlds. Their inventions include dictatels, the Ixian Globe, Leto II's royal cart whose anti-gravity devices worked by thought control, lasguns, thought transmitters, weather control satellites, navigation machines, brain probes and many other devices. In fact, it is hinted that the Ixians defied the provisions of the Butlerian Jihad and created artificially intelligent machines.
In God Emperor of Dune, both Ambassador Malky and his "niece" Hwi Noree are Ixian. In addition we meet, briefly, an Inquisitor of Ix, one of the men who directs the destiny of that planet. The picture revealed is that of very subtle enemies of the Emperor (except for Noree) who supply him with the technology he demands, yet plot his destruction. In fact, it can be argued that of all the major powers in that time, only Ix was an opponent worthy of Leto's fear and, given the outcome, that fear would have been justified.
Ix: Player Notes
The technology peddlers of Dune start with only 7 spice. After purchase of a treachery card, probably not much will remain. Nor does Ix have the ability to ship free as the Bene Gesserit or Bene Tleilaxu do. Thus, spice supply becomes a primary consideration.
One of Ix's chief sources of income is the play of certain treachery cards in battle. Thus, it is in Ix's interest to encourage combat as much as possible. Helpful advice to other players during the Movement Phase can prove quite profitable.
A second, more obvious technique is to collect on spice blows. True, this often requires combat, but here you has several advantages. First, you will probably have more treachery cards than your opponent (Harkonnen excepted) since initially you have two and can hold five. Second, you will know the number he dialed, often a good indicator of your opponent's entire battle plan. Third, you are always supplied for combat and thus needn't expend additional spice. And fourth, you stand to gain spice from the death of leaders as well as the use of cards that provide you with spice.
Your Karama card power, which allows you to decide what weapon or defense it represents after the battle, is perhaps the most effective of all the Karama powers. It can completely turn the battle around and often is a game-winning ploy.
You will often be sought as an ally, even if you are spice-poor or have many tokens in the tanks. Most frequently, Ix's allies are powers that lack combat abilities, but have sizeable spice supplies, e.g. the Emperor and the Guild. This is because Ix, like the Atreides and Bene Gesserit, have an effective combat ability that translates to your allies.
However, it is still a good idea to avoid squandering spice in useless activities, for it will quickly be depleted. Because your armies need no spice for supply, you will discover a dangerous tendency to dial higher than you need to in combat. This leads to the second potential problem: having too many tokens in the tanks. With Ix's slow revival rate and possible spice shortage, this is a very difficult predicament.
When playing with more than six players, there will be an insufficient number of player dots. Simply allow some players to use the "slits" where the two parts of the board join as dots.
Although the leader illustrations are the same size as the existing ones, it will be difficult to achieve the same thickness, which causes problems for the initial traitor draw. To address this, print out this leader table, cut out the names to form leader cards and draw from these instead.
For player shields, the easiest thing to do is trace around one of the existing shields onto thin cardboard, cut it out and thereby construct a new shield.
Counters in this game carry no information and so may be easily borrowed from some other game, e.g. Risk. Or, use coins. Three different types are needed, one for each of the new sides and a third kind for the Bene Tleilaxu starred tokens.
The newest books are the prequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson:
By the way, if you don't already know, the game Dune is still being published in a French edition by Eurogames/Descartes.
The books by science fiction author Frank Herbert:The Dune Encyclopedia by Willis McNelly; The Notebooks of Frank Herbert's Dune by Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert and Raquel Jaramillo; and The Making of Dune (the movie) by Ed Naha.
Music to play the game by:
Still Not Happy?
At least seven other similar variants have been designed: