I wrote a review of Dune (in Finnish).
I haven’t played Dune in ages — there’s not a mention of it in this blog, for example, and I haven’t missed many sessions since I started writing. Usually if I own a game and don’t play it, there’s a reason.
With Dune, the reasons are obvious. Even though it’s far from the heavier war games, it’s still 1970’s game from Avalon Hill. The game takes hours to finish and pretty much requires five or preferably six players. The game’s rules are very convoluted thanks to all the theme-oozing additions and exceptions. That makes the game a pain to teach and hard to play, unless you play often with the same group.
I think the game is basically pretty good, especially for a game of its age. The basic system, based on Cosmic Encounter (players control factions with rule-breaking special powers), is solid and the game is faithful to the books. There’s plenty of theme, that’s for sure. There are some clever mechanics in action like the battle system and some special powers.
The game is old and fairly hard to get (there’s a newer French edition, which might be easier to find) and I don’t really recommend it to anybody. Only exception would be those who love the books, have a steady group of six or so gamers who aren’t afraid of more complicated games. For those who aren’t particularly interested in Dune books but want to play something similar, I recommend A Game of Thrones, which is also a heavy, well-themed game of war, politics and intrigue.