Dune Imperium: Immortality gracefully expands the game’s deck-building and strategic options without making the game feel bloated. Like Rise of Ix, The additions in Immortality smoothly slide into place so snugly that they feel like they always belonged there.
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Immortality expands the deckbuilding side of Dune Imperium, and while it does add additional Imperium cards to the core content, it also brings new, but simple mechanics to further emphasize the points it seeks to enhance.
The Tleilax research board and track grant additional strategic pursuits alongside a new Tleilaxu deck to further expand your options when acquiring cards. Some new cards can be grafted onto others when you play them, giving you more bang for your buck, at the cost of using up two cards for one play, which could impact your reveal phase.
Where Rise of Ix expanded the game as a whole, Immortality is more targeted. You won’t find new leaders in this expansion, for example. Instead, Immortality improves upon the card play and overall flexibility of the game. Immortality works great with just the base game or alongside Rise of Ix.
|Gideon’s Bias||Dune Imperium: Immortality Information|
|Review Copy Used: No||Publisher: Dire Wolf|
|Number of Plays: 10+||Designer: Paul Dennen|
|Player Counts Played: All||Player Count: 1-4|
|Fan of Genre: Yes||Genre: Deck Building, Worker Placement|
|Fan of Weight: Yes||Weight: Medium|
|Gaming Groups Thoughts: Loved it||Price: $30|
Dune Imperium: Immortality expands on the core game’s content with new Imperium, and intrigue cards as well as a few new cards for House Hagal for solo play. They match the quality of existing cards and look great.
Immortality comes with a couple of board additions. One small overlay to replace the Research Station space and the Bene Tleilax board that sits alongside the main board. You also get a few new disc tokens to be used on the new board that matches existing ones.
The new board may look confusing at first glance, but much like the rest of Dunes’ mechanisms, everything falls into place quickly. There’s a handy reference guide on the back of the rulebook for ease of use. The rulebook itself cleanly addresses each new addition in a digestible manner and one that doesn’t drag on too long. Other games could learn a lot from Dune Imperium’s rulebooks.
The new 18-card Tleilaxu deck uses some new iconography but largely follows the same cohesive principles of the Imperium cards, despite being kept separate. To round things off there’s a new Family Atomics token for each player.
Immortality follows the same visual design as the rest of the game, one that is both simplistic and aesthetically pleasing. The inexpensive price of Immortality definitely showcases the benefits of that approach, as the expansion offers a significant amount of game-enhancing depth without gouging your pockets for doing so.
Board Additions & Experimentation
The new Bene Tleilax board has two parts, the top represents your relationship with the Bene Tleilax. Fundamentally, you can treat them as a new faction, however, rules rise they never interact as a faction. But much like the real factions you can slowly move up their track gaining benefits, including victory points as you do so. Instead of sending agents directly to them, you simply move up whenever you activate the Scarab symbol in any way.
The rest of the board makes up the Research track. You can move along the various pathways of the track whenever you activate a Microscope symbol. One such way is the new Research Station overlay. But each player also replaces the two copies of “Dune, The Desert Planet” cards from their starting deck with two copies of Experimentation.
The starter deck cards aren’t exactly exciting, so the mere presence of the new Experimentation cards instantly offers you a bit more flexibility. Anytime you reach various spaces of the Research track you gain whatever rewards are listed. Including the new green cube symbols that represent specimens, which allow you to purchase cards from the new Tleilaxu row.
The Bene Tleilax board grants the entire table some new strategic options. The prospect of those two victory points is enticing, especially since they can’t be stolen like Alliances. But it takes a commitment to earn them. The research track and specimens offer even more flexibility and put some pressure on you about how to use your Experimentation cards.
I like that the new additions don’t actually add any new board spaces for agents to occupy. Interaction with the new board comes from card play and the replacement Research Station. It keeps the worker placement pressure tight, while still granting you additional options. The great thing is, you are never required to interact with the new additions to win.
You can pursue a Bene Tleilax or Research strategy, integrate it into a mixture of other pursuits or ignore it entirely. If you ignore it and another player pursues it, it means they won’t be as strong in other ventures that you can capitalize on.
Dune Imperium is largely about striking a tight balance of how best to use your cards, agents, and resources. Immortality simply adds more options to that balance without tilting it in any one direction. The brilliance once again lies in the tightness of the gameplay. Where every action you take has pros and cons, and the challenge is working it in a way that benefits your own personal plans and strategies.
Tleilaxu Deck, New Cards, & Family Atomics
The Tleilaxu cards are kept in their own row. Reclaimed Forces is always available, and two other cards are placed face up at any given time. During the reveal phase, you may purchase these cards or one effect from Reclaimed Forces by using specimens you have accumulated.
Once acquired, the cards are placed in your discard pile like normal and largely function like regular cards. The Tleilaxu cards do tend to be potent, however, simply due to the commitment required to obtain them. But since they have a separate cost from Imperium cards, they serve to make your deck building even more flexible.
It works very well. Obviously adding new stuff to your deck is a fun aspect of deck building. But the existence of the row also gives you more flexibility. You could go a whole game without buying any cards from the Tleilaxu row, but still, take advantage of Reclaimed Forces to gain some extra troops. That’s pretty nifty.
I also enjoy how it furthers the balancing act of your “troop” cubes. The same cubes are used to represent specimens, and thus can’t be used as troops at the same time. This is especially true if you also play with Rise of Ix where the very same cubes also act as Tech Negotiators. The balancing act adds even more satisfying decision space and helps keeps the Tleilaxu Row balanced.
Some new cards have the “graft” ability. These graft cards can’t be played alone, they have to be grafted onto another card. You play them together at once and gain the effects of both. This can allow you to add symbols to a card that lacks them, for example.
Graft cards open up even deeper combo plays, but can literally leave you short-handed during the reveal phase, so care must be taken when using them. Like everything else, Graft cards are an option, not a requirement, and that’s great.
Other cards have additional benefits based on whether or not you have reached certain thresholds on the research track. They add further incentive to pursue it, but only if you want to squeeze the most out of those cards. After all, you don’t have to buy them.
In the past, the Imperium row could become clogged with cards too expensive to buy, or that no one wanted. This was especially true at lower player counts. Each player now has a Family Atomics token that can be used once per game to wipe the entire row and draw a new one. It’s a simple but effective solution that works great and has some extra strategical value since it can be used somewhat offensively as well.
If someone is eyeballing a powerful card, you could potentially wipe the row before they have a chance to buy it, for example.
The new deck-building options, card interactions, and flexible choices that Immortality presents further elevate Dune Imperium’s decision space when it already had a stellar one.
Dune Imperium’s excellent solo mode remains strong. Nothing about Immortality fundamentally changes it. It simply introduces four new House Hagal cards to replace a few existing ones to better interact with the new mechanisms, and that’s it.
The new Intrigue cards mostly offer opportunities to mess with the new mechanisms presented in Immortality in ways the other players can’t see coming, but they don’t make any drastic changes to the game.
The sole complaint I’ve always had is that the Dune Imperium’s games can feel a little quick. With Immortality, it can feel a little quicker, especially when combined with Rise of Ix. The rulebook does recommend going to 11 victory points if you feel that way, and I agree with it, possibly even higher.
The grace that both expansions manage is one that few other games ever meet. Both Immortality and Rise of Ix slot right into Dune Imperium in such a way that it feels like they were always meant to be there. Not in the sense that the base game was lacking, but in the sense that if you had never played before, you would never know they were expansions, not from a gameplay standpoint.
Both of them feature a seamless execution into the bowels of Dune Imperium. Immortality is fantastic on its own, but I do recommend it together with Rise of Ix. Together, the duo greatly expands the game’s depth without becoming overly complicated. The challenge in Dune Imperium has always been on the weight of your own decisions, not the complexity of the rules, and that’s also true of the expansions, especially Immortality.
The symbiotic nature of Dune Imperiums deck building and board play has always been the defining feature that elevated the game’s true greatness to such a stellar degree. Immortality grows that connection further by expanding on the fundamentals of both, and it does so without overburdening the game with a clunky overhead.
Dune Imperium and Rise of Ix both received my Golden Shield Award, and now Immortality has claimed its rightful place alongside them.
Interested in the card holders I use in my photos? They are from InfinitionsTabletop on Etsy
- Greatly expanded deck-building options between the new Imperium cards and Telilaxu row
- The new board adds additional options players can pursue but doesn’t feel forced
- The new grafting mechanism allows for fun new combo plays
- The expansion’s seamless integration feels great
- Great new additions with very few rules or complications
- Being able to clear the Imperium row with the new Family Atomics token clears up the frustration of the row getting clogged up
- Games can feel even shorter with Immortality unless you play a variant.
- No new leaders