View Full Version : What is an absolute newbie to do if he wants to play Dune Wars?

May 18, 2011, 12:10 AM
Hi, I'm pretty much an absolute newbie. I've owned Civ4 for quite a while but just haven't been able to play it much. I still have next to no idea how to play it properly and constantly get destroyed (the few times I've played). I did play Civ 1 & 2 quite extensively when I was younger and those games were new. I played Civ 3 off an on for a while.

Anyway, I saw this mod, and I knew I had to play it. But I honestly have zero idea how to play it. Is there some sort of beginner guide? Are there some pertinent articles in the Civlopedia? Is the whole mod pretty much just trial and error? Should I spend some significant time playing BtS before even attempting this mod?

Basically, what is an absolute newbie to do if he wants to play Dune Wars?

May 18, 2011, 09:33 AM
Mods that change as much as Dune Wars does are more or less a different game from BtS, aside from the expand-explore-exterminate bit. Having said that, the "Dune Encyclopedia" on the main menu of the game once the mod is loaded will tell you everything that's different from the original game. IMO, this is probably one of the more newbie-friendly mods out there. Fun, easy to learn.

To install, download and run these files in this order (c/p from another thread):

1. Dune Wars 1.9.1 ( (This is not a patch but a full version of the mod)
2. Dune Wars 1.9.2 (
3. Dune Wars 1.9.3 (

There's an optional music pack ( that you can download as well. Just adds music, so if you use WinAmp or something for your music, don't bother.

When you install the first file, it'll ask you if you want a desktop icon, start menu icon, or quickstart icon. Click whatever ones you want and then continue with the install process with that file and the patches. If you don't want to install the music pack, when 1.9.3 is done installing, click the checkbox next to 'Run Dune Wars' at the finish screen. Otherwise, doubleclick the desktop icon or single-click whatever other shortcut you chose to have the installer create. You can choose to start BtS as normal and load Dune Wars through the options...load a mod menu choices, but this adds about 5 minutes of loading and waiting to play.

General Rule of Thumb #1 for All Mods: For the first time you're playing the mod, or playing the mod after playing another for a while, create a game with the "Play Now!" option. Go through the entire process, only quitting out once you're on the game map if you REALLY want to play custom games only. The default options for Play Now make a well-balanced game world with plenty of expansion room before you hit another civ's territory.

Once you're on the map you want to play, play! There's a modmod that comes with the game that'll tell you the best possible action for your workers that you can do with the tech that you have on that turn. Just remember that spice will always add 3:commerce: per spice consumed in your capital, and that spice cannot expand into tiles with moisture in them. The easiest way to get tiles with moisture in them is to perform the worker action "Dig a Shallow Well" available with the Water Transportation tech, upon a tile with the groundwater resource (looks like reed grass growing among rocks). This makes the well tile and all adjacent tiles have moisture. Think of this as irrigation, but this time around, cottages make extra :commerce: while your spiceflow suffers. Moisture is good away from desert tiles, bad near them.

May 18, 2011, 10:23 AM
While it may look radically different from Bts, most of the core gameplay ideas are there with few changes. Once you get used to finding the different sources for water for cities and deep desert in place of oceans, it plays much like a regular civ4 game. Only with it's own very unique flavor. Perhaps the biggest change from vanilla civ4 is the spice economy, focus on extending culture into the desert and controlling plenty of spice. Also, take a look at the Dune Wars concepts in the Civilopedia.

But really, the best thing is to just start at a comfortable difficulty level and have fun exploring the game at your own pace, look up things in the Civilipodia as you need to, and don't try to figure it all out ahead of time. You'll have more fun with it that way.

May 18, 2011, 10:55 AM
Thanks guys, this has been really helpful!

So basically, I just harken back to the days of Civ 1 where I had no manual and knew nothing and just explored the game through trial and error and the civolopedia? But with the added feature of having a forum to come to and ask questions?

I just want to reiterate that I actually don't know how to play Civ 4/BtS. I mean, I get the basic idea because I played the first 3, plus Alpha Centauri, MOO, and the Call to Power series. But I actually don't understand how to properly use a lot of the concepts in Civ 4/BtS. But it seems, from what you guys are saying, that this should not be a problem? I can learn Dune Wars through trial and error just as much as I could learn Civ 4/BtS?

May 18, 2011, 02:14 PM
That's how I learn most games anyways :lol:

Cupric Leane
May 20, 2011, 10:20 AM
You can also use the worldbuilder to scope things out. I like to play on mammoth size worlds so there is a lot of exploring and fending off Arakeen barbarians. One of the keys to success is planning out where you are going to place your cities in the future. To help you do this use alt-X, it's the fat-cross generator which shows you which tiles your city will be able to exploit.

Also, getting to Infantry is a pretty important milestone, so you can defend yourself from the hordes of barbarians trying to destroy you in the early game.

May 20, 2011, 03:08 PM
Important tips (from memory, hopefully they are all correct):

Some units can walk across the desert, especially for the Fremen. They can, and sometimes will, attack you relatively early by just walking across the desert to your cities. The Fremen units that do this also move pretty quickly - the promotion they have that allows this gives them double movement on desert, whereas the regular promotion that allows this (stillsuits) does not give double movement. Workers can enter the desert after some specific, fairly early, tech is researched (I think the Fremen workers can from the beginning, but I'm not sure - it's been quite a while since I played as them).

The scout type ornithopter can carry 2 units. You can use them to settle off of your initial piece of land. Grabbing a piece of the polar area with the ice resource for yourself can be useful (the AIs will settle it fairly quickly once they locate it); you can sometimes position a city to get 2, maybe even 3, of them.

The scout 'thopter, suspensor transport, and (somewhat later in the game) the carryalls can carry units across land as well as the ocean-like desert. The AI can, and does, use this (as far as I know, the custom tweaks to the Dune Wars AI make it the only mod that actually uses land transports with any success). Because of this, any city can be advanced on pretty quickly, not just coastal cities. In Dune Wars "coastal" doesn't mean much. Cities that would be impossible to directly attack in regular CIv due to not being on the coast or bordering another civ are therefore a lot easier to attack and therefore may need to be defended a bit better. The only bad news for the AI (good news for you) is that it does not always properly defend it's stacks of transports.

Spice is nice. Improve every spice plot in your borders. Build culture producing buildings in cities near the spice to expand your borders to get more spice. Build buildings that give you more per-spice benefits. Even if you are going for the Paradise terraforming path, until it gets going strong (a lot of terraformed tiles) spice is still very important. Once the terraforming is well under way, it becomes a little less important - but only a little less.

There are resources you can only get via interstellar trade. You have to research the right tech and then build your 2 landing stages. When you build one you get to pick a resource. Some of these resources are civ specific and only available if you are that civ (or if the civ is not in the game), others can be picked by anybody. Before you finish building one of these, you should look up what the choices all do in the pedia (that first section that lists the DW specific stuff includes this info, as I recall) and you should know what your civ-specific resource is (if any).

You can can pay to have the guild transport units from your home world to your cities (or to get them to come to you from off the map, if you are the Fremen). There is a new screen for this which you can get to from one of the buttons on the upper right of the screen. Most of them are the basic unit, but some come with some experience points (which is why they cost more).

And suddenly I want to play some Dune Wars, which I haven't done for a couple of months...

May 21, 2011, 01:01 PM
Thanks Cupric Leane, that's helpful!

And wow, thanks God-Emperor! That's really helpful!

Little Faith
May 22, 2011, 03:00 PM
I'm going to add another tip: Don't neglect the bottom of the tech tree. Even if you aren't particularly interested in Paradise.

Several of the earlier water-related techs increase the yield of your water-producing tiles and it should be obvious to any civ player that this is a Good Thing. Being stuck with 2 waterdrop tiles for most of the game does not a great civilization make.

Rainbow Sand
May 24, 2011, 02:55 AM
Mwahaha play it, use your mind and dont ask such questions :crazyeye: