The Best Dune Board Games to Immerse You in the Deserts of Arrakis

Dune’s successful comeback to the big screen also paved the way for the return of tabletop games built around Frank Herbert’s epic series of novels, starting with the original Dune game from 1979 finding its way back onto shelves in 2019. With the 2021 release of the first film in the rebooted series, new Dune-themed board games also began popping up, leaving fans of the sun-soaked planet with a healthy number of options for tabletop play on game night.

Dune board games are unique not just for the struggles of Arrakis’ desert setting, but for integrating political elements and more mature sci-fi themes, which makes for a nice break from the typical family-friendly board game adaptations of popular sci-fi franchises. Herbert’s punishing universe just lends itself well for a more sophisticated battle for power and control.

These are the best Dune board games to take your game night to the most dangerous planet in the universe.


Released in 2019, this is a reissue of the original board game from 1979, albeit with modifications and adjustments gleaned from the 40 years fans have kept the game alive. In the game, players take control of the various factions fighting over control of Arrakis, so you can play in behalf of House Atreides, House Harkonnen, the Fremen, and three other factions. The game is based on the novel series, rather than the films, which makes it a favorite among longtime fans of the books.

The game has a heavy focus on both warfare and diplomacy, so you don’t just engage in battles, you also form alliances, carry out deceptions, and execute brutal betrayals. There’s a central set of rules for moving units around and combat, much like other board games. However, each of the factions also come with an asymmetric set of abilities, so it’s never a fair fight in the scorching desert, requiring players to use every cunning and every resource at their disposal to achieve victory.

While the game can be played by two to six players, it really shines with a larger player count (five or six), as it makes each decision require a more thorough strategy and punishes mistakes more harshly. It’s quite a time sink, too, which could make it a bit intimidating if you’re looking for something quick and fun. The game also comes with three expansions, each adding two new factions to take over and other elements to change up the game.

Gale Force Nine Dune Board Game
  • Set Thousands Of Years In The Future, Dune The Board Game Is Based On The Frank Herbert Novels About...

Dune: A Game of Conquest and Diplomacy

A streamlined version of the original Dune game above, this one plays shorter, simpler, and faster, allowing you to finish a game in an hour or less, which is a massive change from the multi-hour gameplay the original required. The basics of the game stay the same, so you choose one of the factions to play as, complete with the asymmetric elements, then take steps to destroy your opposition and seize control of as much areas as possible, along with its valuable spice.

Only four factions are available in the game, namely House Atreides, House Harkonnen, the Fremen, and the Imperium. As such, it takes a maximum of four players instead of six, which is one of the reasons it’s able to play out much faster. While combat and political maneuvering are also present, there are significantly less of them here, which also helps move the game along. It doesn’t have the complexity or the grandiose adventure feel of the original, but it’s a more forgiving game that will probably be a lot better when playing with a more casual group.

Gale Force Nine: Dune, A Game of Conquest and...
  • Take part in one of the most famous science fiction stories of all time.

Monopoly: Dune

Of course, there’s a Dune-themed Monopoly game. In fact, a Monopoly Dune game actually makes the perfect sense, considering the greed, hoarding of wealth, and ruthless fight to control the planet’s resources going on in Arrakis. Does it play any different? Not really. Chance cards become Politics cards and the Community Chest becomes with Fate cards, while the Houses become Leverage and the Hotels become Loyalty. Instead of owning locations, you buy, sell, and trade influence in your quest to seize control of the desert world.

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Dune: Adventures in the Imperium

This one is actually a guidebook for playing out Dune as a tabletop RPG, which could make it an interesting game for people looking to take a break from their D&D adventures. It uses a modified version of the 2d20 system that’s been adapted specifically for Dune’s mix of political maneuvering, espionage, and deception.

In the game, your group play either as part of House Atreides or House Harkonnen. You can also establish your own house within the universe if you want to depart from the established lores of the franchise. The game takes place around the time of the first Dune novel, so the setting should be familiar to fans of both the books and the films. Of course, if you’re a relative newcomer to the franchise, you’ll probably have a hard time, since you’ll need plenty of lore knowledge to actually play the game right.

A campaign was released for this RPG, by the way, called Dune: Fall of the Imperium, which takes players through the events of the second film and rounds out the story of the first novel. In the campaign, you play as House Atreides following their arrival on the desert planet, making it a great way to relive the movie while it’s still fresh in your mind.

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  • The Dune: Adventures in the Imperium roleplaying game takes you into a far future beyond anything...
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Dune: Imperium

If you want a strategy-rich gameplay experience, you’ll definitely love sinking your teeth into this game, which blends a lot of deck building with worker placement strategy. You play as one of the Great Houses of the Landsraad, using the cards to command your agents and assigning them to spaces on the central board. Each round ends with a battle between the Houses, with the winner gaining rewards for their efforts. As with other deck builders, you have to strategize carefully when deciding to play cards or hold them for later, especially as you gain more powerful cards and combos as the game progresses.

Of all the games here, this feels like the most modern. There’s a lot of engaging gameplay to be enjoying without being too grueling, either. It has two expansions, by the way, both of which improve the base game with a new board, new cards, and overall more variety to your strategic options.

Dune: Imperium
  • Deck-building meets worker placement

Dune: Imperium Uprising

We still can’t decide whether this is an expansion or a sequel to Dune: Imperium. On the one hand, you can actually combine it with the original game and its expansions. On the other, you can play it as a standalone game, with no need for any previous Imperium content. Either way, we like to look at it as an improved spin-off that adds a six-player team-based mode, brings in new mechanics, and even throws in the great Maker sandworms to give you a more menacing resource during battles. It, basically, takes the base Imperium game and makes it even more challenging, all while polishing up any rough edges to bring fans a really tight and cohesive gameplay experience.

Dune: Imperium - Uprising
  • English (Publication Language)

Dune: War for Arrakis

In this board game, House Atreides goes head-to-head against House Harkonnen for control of the planet (and all the rare and precious spice it holds), each one taking steps to achieve their own House’s unique objectives in order to succeed. It’s designed for two players, but will accommodate four, although the other two have to play as mere allies of the two Houses, with House Corrino joining up with Baron Harkonnen’s quest for complete Supremacy and the Fremen supporting Paul Atreides in whatever path he’s playing. Depending on the roll of the dice, players can add units to the board, deploy ornithopters, activate sandworms, call in powerful leaders, summon the Desert Power, and more. This is a gorgeous game, with a large map, plenty of sculpted figures, 3D tokens, and a whole lot more. It’s the kind of thing a true Dune fan can geek out on without even playing a single round.

Buy Now – $139.99