Dune: Spice Wars brings the sci-fi world created by Frank Herbert into the realm of the best 4X games such as Civilization 6, Stellaris, and Endless Legend. Dune: Spice Wars blends real-time elements with the traditional 4X format, as you choose a faction, explore the spice-laden lands of Arrakis, expand and establish cities and outposts, exploit the resources at your disposal, and of course eliminate your enemies, and it’s about to release on Steam in its 1.0 form.
Originally launching via Steam Early Access in April 2022, Dune: Spice Wars does an impressive job of implementing characters and mechanics that successfully harken back to the original Dune lore, of which there’s certainly a lot. Among those who can help lead your chosen faction to victory are Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, Esmar Tuek, and Liet Kynes.
Of course, you’ll also have to contend with the likes of desert storms and those iconic underground sand worms. It’s also up to you whether you pursue a policy of outright aggression or opt for a more politically influential approach. Rather than simple conflict, you can make agreements with other factions across Arrakis and get into the realms of deception, secret deals, and of course trade of spice and other resources.
While it is formatted more like a 4X game, Dune: Spice Wars actually moves in real-time, albeit at a slow pace (with the ability to slow or fast-forward time if desired). Unlike games such as Civilization 6, games of Dune: Spice Wars are typically a lot faster – matches typically last around two to three hours, but developer Shiro Games notes following early access that “with much of our community now fully familiar with the game, we’ve seen this go as low as 30-45 minutes.”
At release, Dune: Spice Wars will feature six factions to play with, including the new addition of House Ecaz. You can take part in the game’s Conquest Mode, which features a variety of unique scenarios that will offer a different experience with each campaign, and there’s also options for multiplayer with up to four players in 1v1, 2v2, or free-for-all modes, and the shorter match runtime means you might actually manage to finish those games as well.
Dune Spice Wars release date
Dune: Spice Wars releases out of early access on Thursday September 14, 2023. Its price will also be increasing with the arrival of version 1.0, rising from $29.99 / £24.99 to $34.99 / £29.99 upon launch. You can head over to the Steam page for more information.
If you’re looking for more traditional real-time strategy, we’ve got all the best RTS games you can play right now. Alternatively, you can opt for something more long-form such as the best grand strategy games if you’re more a fan of planning for the future.