Fantasy Flight’s Rex: Last Days of an Empire has been out for about a month now and I’ve put it through its paces. It’s a nominal reprint of Avalon Hill’s classic Dune board game, but since FFG couldn’t get the license they reskinned the whole thing to fit their proprietary (and uninspired) Twilight Imperium setting. To FFG’s credit, they were sort of in a no-win situation with not being able to get the rights to the IP, and likely did the best they could.
The result is a surrogate Dune. It’s the guts of Dune, it plays like Dune, but it isn’t Dune. It doesn’t have Dune’s heart and soul. It’s a clone with metal eyes- like the Gholas in Herbert’s novels. Instead of Houses Atreides and Harkonnen clashing over Spice blows on the sands of Arrakis, you’ve got space turtles and space cats duking it out over abstract number chits in a space city that’s more or less a rip off of Coruscant.
You can buy this game and experience- at least mechanically- why Dune is one of the best games ever published. But the make-it-fit setting, horrendously misguided map redesign, and needless alterations spoil the experience to a degree. Review is at Gameshark. Prognosis? Just play Dune, if that’s an option for you.
Oh, I was also on Chick’s podcast last night. It was fun. We rap about Sine Mora, Mass Effect 3, Journey, Mage Knight and the upcoming Sour Patch Kids game. Chick stumps me with a movie question, which is hugely embarassing.