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Shacknews Best Strategy Game of 2023 – Dune: Spice Wars

Dune is front and center in the pop culture conversation right now with the upcoming release of Dune: Chapter Two. Of course, gaming has its own history with the Dune series. Many remember the old days of the Dune strategy games from the 90s, which built incredible RTS experiences out of Frank Herbert’s universe. Publisher Funcom certainly remembered, which is why it recruited Shiro Games (Northgard, Evoland) for a new 4X RTS set in the Dune universe called Dune: Spice Wars.

We’ve been enthralled with Dune: Spice Wars going all the way back to its days on Steam Early Access. It’s a game that focuses on taking control of Arrakis and its rich spice supply, but through different methods. Players can raise armies and overwhelm their opposition through sheer force or they can opt to flex their diplomatic muscle and come up with a deal that satisfies all sides.

The variety in Dune: Spice Wars comes through the utilization of each of Arrakis’ factions. Each of the factions (House Atreides, House Harkonnen, the Smugglers, and the Fremen, just to name a few examples) receive special bonuses to start and gain even more upon achieving Hegemony. The different factions all provide their own distinct way to approach the Dune: Spice Wars story while also making the game more approachable for players with different styles.

While Dune: Spice Wars has resonated since its early access stint, Funcom and Shiro have gone on to add several features to it prior to its 1.0 launch. In addition to new units and factions, multiplayer has added hours of fun to this game and has encouraged RTS fans to test their skills against one another for control of Arrakis.

Dune: Spice Wars is a game that has done its license justice in spades. It’s a game that’s not only a fun throwback to the classic Dune titles, but it’s one that can stand among them as a peer in the world of strategy.

Be sure to read over the rest of the Shacknews Awards in our Year of the Games: 2023 feature.

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