In Dune: Spice Wars, the Smugglers are best suited to pursuing either a Hegemony or Domination victory. Their faction bonuses rely on taking advantage of their rivals by taking a cut of almost everything produced by the other Houses. While the Smugglers may struggle to secure a Political victory due to their late seat at the Landsraad, they are well equipped to rack up Hegemony points and assassinate rival faction leaders.
Smugglers Faction Bonuses in Dune: Spice Wars
The Smugglers are the only faction that can build – the Underworld Headquarters – in the villages and capital of other factions. They first need to know where the other factions are and have enough Solari to afford the cost. Ornithopters not only reveal other Houses but will encounter Arrakis Black Markets where the Smugglers can trade spice for additional Solari.
Monitor how the other faction is developing the village and expand the Underworld HQ in ways that maximize its potential. Building a Bootleg Market in an enemy village with high spice, Plascrete, or Water production will net more Solari for the Smugglers. Building a Back-Alley Doctor or Support Station would prove more immediately valuable in Dune: Spice Wars if the village is a military target for the Smugglers.
The Smugglers’ unique developments are a mix of buffs to their Underworld HQs and rewards for fighting guerrilla warfare. Underworld Contacts should be the first; its bonus Solari for pillaging villages is an essential early income boost that will assist in getting those Underworld HQs up and running. Underground Bribes is helpful once the Smugglers gain Landsraad access at 5,000 Hegemony and start fully participating in the political game.
Underground Network and Guerrilla Tactics provide combat bonuses and reduced penalties for annexing villages in Dune: Spice Wars. Both are very useful when pursuing a Domination victory, but of limited value if all-out war is not the long-term plan.
Staban Tuek and Bannerjee are the best councillor choices because their skills will help in all circumstances. Tuek’s passive influence and Solari generation add up and can be put towards any end, while Bannerjee’s pillage bonuses are a boon because the Smugglers should be pillaging throughout Dune: Spice Wars.
The other two councillors are less broadly useful but can be effective in specific situations. Lingar Bewt demands the Smugglers seek out water-rich regions, and Drisq is helpful when aiming for a Domination victory through assassination but is outclassed elsewhere.
Overall, the Smugglers should push hard with scouting in the early game and get their Underworld HQs set up in rival faction villages. Bootleg Markets and Whisperer’s Lairs are the village upgrades that provide the most bang for your buck, and in an enemy’s capital, Contraband Hubs and Laundering Networks deliver the most bonuses no matter which victory condition the Smugglers are aiming for in Dune: Spice Wars.