Rex: Final Days of an Empire

AKA Dune.

Dune was 1979 Avalon Hill game made by the same guys that made Cosmic Encounter; it's one of the crown jewels of the Avalon Hill body of work. The game property was bought by Fantasy Flight Games, but the owners of the Dune trademarks said "no," so FFG published the game using their Twilight Imperium setting as a prequel to that wargame.

Since we already have a Dune article covering the setting, and need to cover the game itself, and Dune is Out Of Print (until recently once the 2020 movie comes out), but Rex is not, we'll cover both games here. Anyway, begin the description:

Dune print of the game is set on the desert planet, Arrakis, with all factions vying for control of the planet & the spice while avoiding sand-worms. Rex printout has the setting on the capital planet of Mecatol Rex when the humans kill off the Lazax Emperor vía bombardment before all races start struggling to control the planet while avoiding the bombardment fleet.

A brutal mindfuck of a backstabbing, horribly evil game, Rex/Dune is fascinating for a few mechanics. Basic game has 8 rounds with sub-phases for scenario set up, ability purchase, troop recruitment, unit deployment, combat, currency collection, and then environmental destruction before repeating. Besides that, there’s other unique mechanics. Let's go over one, the victory conditions, just to give some flavor:


A player wins if he holds three (of five) strongholds (it's also possible to win in a (publicly declared after scenario card permits it) alliance; at the cost of the stronghold required increasing to four and then five depending on the alliance’s size). There are three exceptions:

  • The Fremen (or Federation of Sol in Rex) Player wins if nobody else has won by the end of round 8 and either they or nobody controls two specific locations, one of which is on top of their special spawning point.
  • The Guild (or Emirates of Hacan in Rex) Player wins if Round 8 has passed, and the Sol/Fremen haven't won via fulfilling their victory requirements.
  • The Bene Gesserit (or Xxcha Kingdom in Rex) Player, before the game starts, predicts which player will win, and in what turn. If both of these predictions comes true, even if it's an alliance, even if they are in the alliance, even if it's one of the above two "default" victories, and even if the Bene Gesserit/Xxcha player has been eliminated, he wins alone.

(Yes, every faction has a few bonuses, it's just that these three are the ones that involve victory.)

Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Snakes and Ladders - Risk - Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium