Dune: Imperium is a 1-4 player worker placement and deck building game in which you play as one of the factions that fight over the precious spice resource on planet Dune. Pre-orders from the Direwolf Digital website open tomorrow, October 29, and the game will ship to the US and Canada in December. There is no information regarding availability in the rest of the world yet.
At the beginning of the game, you will first select the leader you are going to play as. Leaders come in three levels of complexity, so if you want to play Baron Harkonnen, for example, it's best to wait until you gain some familiarity with the system. You will get a hand of 10 cards and two workers (agents) of your colour.
Each round consists of 5 phases. In the Round Start phase, you flip over a card from the Conflict deck and check the rewards given to the players if they engage in combat this round. Then, you draw 5 cards from your deck.
In the Player Turn phase, you will choose a card from your hand to play. Most cards have symbols on them. You can place one of your agents to any spot on the board that matches the symbol shown on your card, unless that spot is already taken. When you do, you receive the rewards shown both on the card you played and the spot you placed the agent on. If you place a worker on a combat spot, you will select the troops (cubes) you want to use and put them at the centre of the combat ground. If you choose to place a worker in one of the Houses (Bene Gesserit, Fremen etc.), you increase your influence over them and gain victory points.
If you don't have any more workers to place, you must take the Reveal action: you reveal all the cards you haven't played, resolve their 'reveal' effects and purchase cards from the market with any 'persuasion' points the cards give you.
In the Combat phase, troops you sent in the combat ground will fight. You can play any Intrigue cards you have gained to increase their strength. If your troops are the strongest, you gain the top reward from the Conflict card of that round. In the final two phases, you collect any spice found on specific spaces on the board that you have a worker on, and proceed to cleanup for the next round.
In the solo mode, you play against two rival faction AIs that use their own action deck. The AIs gain resources which they then convert into victory points, and also gain points if they win any conflicts. If you prefer, you can use the companion app to run the AI actions instead.