Dune Spice Wars - The Smuggler Strategy Guide | GAME3A

Dune Spice Wars - The Smuggler Strategy Guide

In Dune: Spice Wars, smugglers rely on leveraging the prosperity of their rivals for their own benefit. Although they may not initially possess the mo...

Zack Zwiezen Sept 16, 2023
Dune Spice Wars - The Smuggler Strategy Guide

In Dune: Spice Wars, smugglers rely on leveraging the prosperity of their rivals for their own benefit. Although they may not initially possess the most powerful armies or voices in the Landsraad, their unique ability to divert resources from other players' economies allows them to keep up and ultimately surpass their competitors.

Having other players do the work for you is not without risks, and you must always be aware of the political situation on Arrakis. Make yourself indispensable to the Great Houses and then use their own resources to take the planet from under their feet.

Updated on September 16, 2023 by Matt Arnold: The launch of Dune: Spice Wars 1.0 has brought some changes for the smugglers. We have updated this guide with all the current information about this mysterious faction.

Smuggler Traits

Dune Spice Wars - The Smugglers Strategy Guide

The smugglers need to focus on building a small, efficient empire. Typically, annexing a new village costs more authority the further it is from your capital and if you already control multiple villages. While smugglers face fewer penalties due to distance, they face a much greater penalty if they already own villages. This means they can conquer fewer territories than their rivals, and this is where the underworld headquarters come into play.

The unique ability of the smugglers allows them to establish underworld headquarters in villages controlled by other factions. This requires a decent investment of Solari and a small amount of authority, but once an underworld headquarters is established, it can have exclusive buildings that provide advantages to the smugglers as long as they remain in the game.

Once the smugglers have accumulated ten thousand Hegemony, they can also establish underworld headquarters in their enemies' main bases for powerful new effects.

House Harkonnen is a great target for underworld buildings that steal resources; every time the Harkonnen player applies their oppression ability to the guest village, you also receive increased income!

Landsraad Bounties

Although the smugglers do not have votes in the Landsraad, they can pay Solari to place a bounty on a resolution at the beginning of each session. Rival factions that vote according to the bounty will receive five Solari per vote if the resolution is adopted.

One way to exploit this is by selling influence to other factions for Solari just before the vote. With their suddenly depleted coffers, your opponents may consider choosing your path with the newly acquired influence. Even if they don't, you still have money from the sale - but be cautious and avoid doing this with high-impact resolution proposals like charter nominations.

Hegemony Bonuses

At a Hegemony score of five thousand, the smugglers secure a seat at the table, earning fifty votes in the Landsraad and gaining the ability to gain and lose Landsraad Standing. Additionally, unique events centered around the smuggling trade on Arrakis start to occur.

At a Hegemony score of ten thousand, the smugglers immediately establish underworld headquarters in enemy capitals, enabling powerful buildings that are not available in regular underworld headquarters. Additionally, they receive a fifty percent increase in resources from plundering villages for the rest of the game.

Smuggler Councilors

Dune Spice Wars - The Smugglers Strategy

At the beginning of the campaign, you can select two council members from a group of four and receive their permanent bonuses throughout the game.

Staban Tuek

The son of the smuggler leader allows you to build an additional expansion for each underworld headquarters. Furthermore, each underworld headquarters with both slots occupied generates five Solari per adjacent region that also contains an underworld headquarters.

Lingar Bewt

Lingar is a notorious water peddler and provides the smugglers with an additional fifteen water units from the beginning. He also enables the construction of special expansions focused on water in the underworld headquarters.


Drisq is a master of information acquisition. If you select her as a council member, your ornithopters move fifty percent faster and carry out their reconnaissance missions more quickly. Additionally, your infiltration level remains at least at level one in all factions and organizations on the planet, allowing you to focus your espionage efforts more easily without losing efficiency.

It is much easier to carry out assassinations when Drisq is in your council, as you don't need to have as many agents on site.


Esmer Tuek's security chief excels in hit-and-run attacks. As long as the smugglers have an active operation in a region, all smuggler units there receive camouflage. He also enables the construction of unique military expansions in the underworld headquarters that can prepare the guest village for an attack.

Smuggler Developments

Dune Spice Wars - The Smugglers

Like their rivals, the smugglers possess distinctive advancements scattered throughout their technology tree. However, in contrast to their rivals, the smugglers gain earlier access to their unique technologies.





Tinkerer Teams

Economy (Yellow), Tier 2

Composite Materials

  • Increases the crew capacity of Harvesters by one.
  • Allows construction of the Trafficking Station in Villages.
  • Allows construction of the Harvester Works in Sietch Tuek.

Underworld Contacts

Economy (Yellow), Tier 4

CHOAM Integration

  • Increases the crew capacity of Harvesters by two.
  • Underworld Headquarters produce Spice equal to twenty percent of their host Village's Spice production.
  • Unlocks random events that can provide resources.
  • Harvesters on auto-recall will also redeploy automatically.

Guerilla Tactics

Military (Red), Tier 2

Survival Training

  • Smuggler units get thirty percent more Power and Speed at night.
  • Allows Smuggler units to equip a second piece of gear.
  • Allows construction of the Barracks in Sietch Tuek.

Organized Looting

Military (Red), Tier 2

Survival Training

  • The Smugglers get thirty percent more resources when pillaging Villages and Sietches.
  • Allows training of Scavenging Drones.

Synchronized Heist

Military (Red), Tier 4

Parallel Training

  • Grants ten additional Command Points.
  • After a siege, participating Smuggler units get twenty percent faster movement speed for one day.
  • If the Smugglers are besieging two or more Villages belonging to the same faction, pillaging those Villages takes half as much time.

Foot In The Door

Statecraft (Blue), Tier 1


  • Underworld Headquarters cost twenty percent less to build in VIllages belonging to factions with whom the Smugglers have a truce.
  • The Smugglers produce one additional Intel and one additional Influence per day for each faction who has an Underworld Headquarters present within their borders.
  • The Smugglers recruit Agents twice as fast.

Security Details

Statecraft (Blue), Tier 3

Diplomatic Maneuvers

  • Whenever the Landsraad passes a resolution that the Smugglers placed a bounty on, three free Mercenary units appear under Smuggler control at Sietch Tuek.
  • Allows one additional Agent to be assigned to Counterintelligence.

Underworld Bribes

Statecraft (Blue), Tier 3

Diplomatic Maneuvers

  • Whenever the Smugglers successfully pay their Spice Tax, they gain fifteen Landsraad Standing.
  • The Minor Houses will send more votes to Resolutions with bounties on them, scaling with the Smugglers' Landsraad Standing.
  • Allows one additional Agent to be assigned to infiltrate the Landsraad.

Criminal Barons

Expansion (Green), Tier 1


  • Underworld Headquarters cost fifteen percent less to establish.
  • Each Underworld Headquarters provides half a point of Water to the Smugglers.

Underground Network

Expansion (Green), Tier 2

Criminal Barons

  • Smuggler Villages produce five additional Solari for each adjacent region that has an Underworld Headquarters.
  • Allows construction of the Black Market Branch in Sietch Tuek.

Illicit Methods

Expansion (Green), Teir 3

Native Customs

  • Pillaging Villages no longer increases the Authority cost to annex them.
  • Allows construction of the Investment Office in Villages.
  • Allows one additional Agent to be assigned to Arrakis Information.

Early Game Strategies And Tips

Dune Spice Wars - The

Your initial moves as a smuggler will be quite standard - establish your first spice refinery, get your economy rolling, and build hegemony until you can upgrade your capital. The smugglers differ in that they must engage in more aggressive exploration with ornithopters compared to other factions. The reason for this is that they need to locate enemy villages as early as possible to promptly construct an underworld headquarters.

Once you have annexed two or three villages and constructed a processing facility, it would be advisable to consider spending the necessary solari for a third ornithopter. This will expedite your exploration of enemy territory and assist you in keeping an eye out for marauders.

Once infiltration missions become available, make sure you always have "Poison the Reserves" at your disposal to deploy. This is one of the best operations to halt an enemy assault!

Once you have located enemy villages, start establishing underworld headquarters wherever possible. If you are planning an invasion, add a smuggling cache and hidden explosives to your target; otherwise, black markets and Whisperer hideouts are the way to go. They will provide you with additional solari, influence, and information, allowing you to align your endgame strategy of choice.

Late Game Strategies And Tips

Dune Spice Wars -

When factions surpass the ten-thousand-hegemony threshold, you should already be swimming in abundance of resources. From this point onward, you can negotiate frequent agreements with the other factions. Understand who needs what and be prepared to trade for what you desire. The smugglers can reasonably aim for any or all victory conditions.

If you are aiming for a political victory, ensure that your underworld headquarters remain active and defend them when necessary - you will need the extra influence to compete with the Great Houses in the Landsraad.

Be sure to keep an eye out for a resolution called "Water Regulations" appearing in the Landsraad. If it is passed, you will receive a substantial amount of solari by voluntarily relinquishing control over villages. The smugglers can leverage this opportunity to release authority for better land when it becomes available or to reposition themselves and make better use of adjacent underworld headquarters.

Lastly, know that among all factions, the smugglers may be the most adept at assassinating rival leaders and eliminating players through infiltration. Do not hesitate to poison the Baron's wine or orchestrate the Duke's unfortunate downfall - after all, we are on Arrakis, and at the end of the day, the one who controls the spice controls the universe.