While other pubescent boys were discovering their interest in girls, my heart was occupied by Dune. Without reservation, it was my favorite book between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Too bad about most of the sequels, not to mention every attempt to translate onto the big screen.
A couple months ago, the first time Dune: The Dice Game (also known by its much cooler nickname The Dice Must Flow) hit my table, a newcomer to our group announced that he’d never read Frank Herbert’s 1965 masterpiece. Somewhat interrupting my explanation of the rules, he asked, “So what’s it about?”
There’s a chance I was a bit curt in my response. I think I mumbled something about Lawrence of Arabia and went back to explaining how to play. Because anyway, what is Dune about? There are any number of things I could have said. It’s about the allure and danger of messiahs and heroes. About addiction to a dwindling resource. About the decline of the status quo, about revolution, about religion’s role in both. The transformative nature of knowledge, violence, sex. It’s about finding yourself and realizing you’ve lost yourself in the process.
Or maybe those are just the memory of my teenage hormones talking. Lots of things seem double-plus profound when your pituitary gland has declared war on the rest of your body.
Everyone with a soul loves dexterity games. Maybe it’s their inherent lightness, the way they push the most diehard rule-memorizing gamers off their pedestal and onto a level playing field with the rest of us. Or maybe it’s just the fact that everyone likes flicking things around a table and trying to cause as much damage as possible, from smacking quarters into other kids’ knuckles in the cafeteria to games like Catacombs, Ascending Empires, Rampage, and Disc Duelers letting us vent a little of our carefully suppressed anger.
Well, today we’re looking at another dexterity game, and like the best of them, it’s going to let you smack the hell out of anyone who stands in your way.