Much-loved board game Dune: Imperium has a digital version now, and it's getting rave responses

Back in 2020 Dune: Imperium surprised people as a compelling, interesting, and downright tough strategy board game that adapted the world of Frank Herbert's Dune novels to the board game format. It has since risen into the top 10 all-time board games on industry bellwether BoardGameGeek.

Now, as of this week, Dire Wolf's digital adaptation of Dune: Imperium is on Steam and people are just as in love with it as the tabletop version: It's sitting at 96% positive of 1,175 user reviews at press time.

In Dune: Imperium each player is a leader on Arrakis seeking to take control of the Spice—and therefore the universe. It's a fascinating combination of woker placement board game and hidden information achieved via letting you build a deck of orders to draw from each turn. Those cards determine what you can, and cannot, get done each round.

The quality of Dune: Imperium as a game really makes it stand out for a second reason: The Original Dune board game—first published in 1979 and reissued in 2019—is incredibly beloved and has been for 45 years. Designer Paul Dennen had to come up with something quite special to make Dune: Imperium stand out from its predecessor.

Dune: Imperium's helped by its popularity on the tabletop, to be sure, but I think that the design does very well as a solo tabletop game. That original release came with a full suite of rules for playing solo, and the existence of those rules and principles for playing by yourself really helps it in the digital format.

How good a board game adaptation is Dune: Imperium—i.e. as a digital experience—though? I'm not sure, ask me again after I play 50 or 60 hours—but it's at least the best once since Wingspan.

You can find Dune: Imperium on Steam for $23.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.