Last night my gaming group took Rex out for a test drive. Rex, is a new board game from the masters over at Fantasy Flight Games but while the game is new, it is has an older pedigree. The mechanics for Rex are based on the old Dune board game, but rethemed and reskinned with elements from their Twilight Imperium universe.
Not having played the original Dune, I only know of the original games from the table chat as we played it but it seems a masterful bit of reworking the same mechanics and elements to make use of already established Twilight Imperium mythos and alien races. For example, a sand storm you now have a roving battle fleet from the Sol Empire annihilating all things in its path. There are no longer worm strikes, but Sol Bombardments that destroy non-Sol troops and allow them to redeploy their troops much like the Fremen were able to "ride the worm" to new board sections.
Don't get me wrong, the game isn't just some rip-off of an old classic. FFG has done their usual work in spicing things up with enjoyable game pieces and a few new mechanics. The game is rendered in brilliant color with the artistry that one expects from FFG. Almost all faction specific playing pieces are customized to that faction beyond a simple color, using symbols and artwork.
Game play was simple, though I did find myself shooting myself in the foot with the battle mechanic because I kept thinking of it like other systems and kept killing off all my troops by over-committing to the fight. In Rex any troops you allocate to a battle are dead, weather you win or not.
All in all I liked it and hope to play it again. The learning curve was not too severe and the game has some serious fun dynamics with all the different special rules for factions, alliances, traitors and random events.