With Rise of Ix, the board game Dune: Imperium by Paul Dennen has received its first expansion. The price is high considering the overall poor features, but the additional content is a must for fans of the base game. Once you've played with the expansion, you won't want to be without it.

It has long since become an eternal question in the board game segment: is the expansion worth it? In view of the quite high price of RRP around 50 euros, many people think about it themselves Dune Imperium fanwhether what is offered is worth the money. Luckily, Rise of Ix is usually available at much cheaper prices, and the expansion is a noticeable added value for the gaming experience. give up? No, actually that is not possible.

Dune Imperium: Even better thanks to expansion?

Paul Dennen's Dune Imperium has made waves. The board game – available in German from Asmodee in Germany – was recently nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2022 award. The mix of deck building and worker placement works, is challenging and entertaining. Precisely because the basic game was mechanically and playfully convincing, the publication of an expansion was not without risk. The balancing could have been broken or the flow of the game could have been negatively affected. You can now give the all-clear: Nothing of the sort happened, Rise of Ix fits seamlessly and perfectly into the experience of the base game. Even more: It makes the gameplay significantly better through relevant adjustments.

Test Rise of Ix
Six new leaders come into play, each with their own benefits. Archduke is all about deck building, a core mechanic of the game. Photo: Volkman

What's new in the Rise of Ix Dune expansion? First up are the indestructible dreadnoughts, which count as three soldiers and at a cost of three Solari are quite a bargain to buy on Planet Ix. You can get two of these special units in the course of the game and thus improve your army and even force decisions through the higher presence on the battlefields. The race for the thick ships, which you not only want but have to have, is correspondingly exciting. And: They stay on the field, so they can be used more strategically than the ground troops before.

Fill freighter, empty freighter

The expansion of the playing field around freighters provides another tactical level. Bonuses can be generated on this tracking board, which can then be transported to the safe haven. So players are faced with another relevant decision: continue collecting or bring the resources generated so far home to use them? Pretty clever.

No less interesting are the tech purchases, with which one can access Ixian technologies and machines, which in turn provide situation-dependent bonuses. In other words: You can work out your personal game strategy on a further level of detail. Despite all the new content, the premise known from the base game remains the same: resources are scarce and their use needs to be carefully considered. For this reason alone "Rise of Ix" is a must: the strategic options are expanded, but without taking the challenges out of the game. Players must continue to make important decisions round after round, fighting the shortage while making sure that points go into their own account now - or in the foreseeable future.

Rise of Ix Review
Fill up once, please: Players can generate bonuses on a bar and take them away if they wish. Photo: Volkman

And the extension does something else: It provides even more confrontation, but this time in secret. Because Dune Imperium is a deck builder and the cards are the heart of the board game, Rise of Ix increases the choice. Cards with an infiltration symbol can also be used to send your own agents to fields that are already occupied by opposing figures – that initially sounds like a softening of the difficulty, after all you could completely block fields with agents in the basic game. However, it turns out to be a mechanism that - narrowly defined - expands the options for the active player and thus makes the decision even more difficult. You can continue to occupy fields, but the opponent can now partially avoid this - provided he has the right card. This creates more excitement regarding the agent missions, which also want to be placed tactically as cleverly as possible with the expansion for Dune Imperium.

The six new leaders, each with their own game advantages, provide a little more variety and - depending on the selection - also provide slightly adapted game strategies. Here, too, author Paul Dennen remains true to the line from the base game. There are advantages, but not overpowering ones. Ultimately, it is still up to the player himself to use the bonuses as profitably as possible.

Strength of Dune Imperium is also expanded with the Rise of Ix expansion: the solo game. With the new “House Hagal” maps. All other mechanisms from the "multiplayer mode" fit in well. Small drawback: only two of the new leaders are available within the framework of the house Hagal, which is forgivable. If you want, you can play until you have reached twelve victory points as part of the "epic game" - then including small adjustments to the game setup.

Rise of Ix test
The tech tiles provide another level of decision-making, then grant bonuses that can be used strategically. Photo: Volkman

Material quality and style of illustrations remain unchanged, they correspond to those offered in the Dune Imperium base game. However, there was little reason for changes, because optically, the cards in particular are still small works of art. However, what is also retained: the slightly cheap-looking charm of the wooden components. Not surprising, after all, they still want to encourage fans of the board game to buy the deluxe upgrade, which is subject to a fee.

Infobox

Number of players: 1 to 4
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 30 to 75 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Long-term motivation: very good
Genre: Kennerspiel
Core mechanisms: worker placement, deck building

Author: Paul Dennen
Publisher: Asmodee Germany/Dire Wolf Digital
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2022
Language: German
Cost: 40 Euro

Summary

Dune Imperium: Rise of Ix is a big surprise in a small box. The fact that the already very good basic game could be improved so significantly was more of a pious wish for fans. Now it turns out that Paul Dennen has actually succeeded in supplementing the gameplay not only with further, but also with useful additional mechanisms. The expansion does what it's supposed to do: it doesn't make Dune Imperium a new game, but instead provides a detailed change in the process. The big picture follows the well-known red line.

Anyone who feared that the expansion could soften the level of tactical challenge can breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, Rise of Ix does the opposite. You have more options, but not necessarily more resources. In addition, the adjustments ensure that minor weaknesses from the base game could be easily ironed out. The intrigue cards in particular now have a significantly lower influence. In addition, the changes to Swordmaster and Mentat have a positive impact on the game experience - they are now options, not mandatory actions.

Incidentally, the author manages all of this without affecting the overall moderate complexity of the board game. With Rise of Ix, Dune Imperium remains a comprehensible, uncomplicated game that uses the mechanisms from much more complex board games. There are different ways to score, the game pushes you to make relevant decisions, the different strategies are not only numerous, but must be meaningfully embedded in your own gameplay. Rise of Ix provides improvement, not change, in all of these areas.

The quality of the Dune Empire expansion Rise of Ix makes it an indispensable part of the deck building board game. Experienced players in particular will benefit from the new opportunities to earn points. At the same time, in rounds with different types of players, this can lead to the gaps on the scoreboard being more pronounced. However, this is not a flaw, but an invitation to every player to come up with strategies that are as efficient as possible. The learning curve remains steep and Rise of Ix also puts its finger in the wound: the playing strength of the individual players is sometimes clearly reflected on the game board.

If the base game Dune Imperium was already great, Rise of Ix adds a shovel of spice to it.

Author

Last updated on 3.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API