Железный комиссар
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
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Hello, fanbase. My name is Jack and I recently played AH's classic game Merchant of Venus for the first time. And then a couple of days later I played it for the second time. Color me intrigued.

Follow along as I pinpoint my favorite aspect of the of the game, and then raise an eyebrow at something else. Here is the format for your copy/paste convenience.

______________________________________________________________________

Strongest Element:

Weakest Element:

______________________________________________________________________


Strongest Element: Space Stations. Specifically, the commission/discount mechanic. I think the whole game would fall apart for me without that layer of wealth-generation. The tradeoff when using another player's station is interesting: hand more money to the competition but save time. The potential for monopolies adds something to the game, and the incentive to build stations early creates an interesting tension with other ramp-up options.

Weakest Element: Some of the values seem off, both to me and the veterans who taught me the game. For example, shields seem utterly crucial, while the first ship upgrade seems overpriced. Of course I'll have to play more to firm up any opinions, but if this gets a reprint, some of these options need a price cut. How about dropping the first ship upgrade to 100 instead of 120?
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MacGilleEathain
United States
Clinton
Washington
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Strongest Element: Concealed random placement of cultures at set up, making for extremely high replay value.

Weakest Element: Movement mechanics which are often a turn-off for the newcomer (who is often more used to traditional 'roll-then-move' games).
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Matt Davis
United States
New Concord
Ohio
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Sweet... I hope this gets into rotation on Wednesdays - I've wanted to try it for a while. Don't get tired of it before I get back!
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Ian Klinck
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Strongest Element: The trading route system (the combination of random placement, and the "this culture buys these things, that culture buys this, etc.").

Weakest Element: The setup time.
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Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I just won a copy of this on eBay, and am looking forward to giving it a run with my kids. Should be fun.
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Ernst Knauth
Germany
Erdmannhausen
BW
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iklinck wrote:

Weakest Element: The setup time.


Use the "Fast Setup Rules" from the variant in General 26-1 (and boxes to sort the races, of course), and your setup time will only be a few minutes.

By the Way: most of the variant rules are highly recommended.
.
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Richard Irving
United States
Salinas
California
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Warbear wrote:
iklinck wrote:

Weakest Element: The setup time.


Use the "Fast Setup Rules" from the variant in General 26-1 (and boxes to sort the races, of course), and your setup time will only be a few minutes.


However, when the game is finished, with all of the cultures on the board, it is relatively easy to resort the pieces and store them in a 16 or 20 space tray. With so much on the board that has to be found, it really doesn't much longer to sort everything out at the end.[/q]


Quote:
By the Way: most of the variant rules are highly recommended.


By no one but you.

Combat is certainly recommended by hardly anyone. And most of the General's variant are actually rules that the designer rejected in play test. (for good reason. IMO)

 
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Richard Irving
United States
Salinas
California
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Strongest Element: The random set up & exploration creates keeps the game from always following the same path, you need different routes each game and there is a tension between exploring for more IOU's (read $) and starting to establishing a trade route.

Weakest Element: The equipment is pretty cut and dry--always buy a shield--it is cheap, effective and takes no space. The drives, since they take up space, are only useful on larger ships.

I designed a variant to try to change up that:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40367

It makes all relics available for purchasable (takes a 1/2 hold except for one piece of equipment can be installed on the hull) and eliminates shields and drives until they are discovered as relics. It makes for more variety in the equipment installed on ships and can vary the game even more (Such as no shields this game at all.)
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Jorge Arroyo
Spain
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I also agree about the exploration and random setup element, but want to highlight the supply-demand system which is simple and clever and manages to create a dynamic flow of goods which is never the same. I think it perfectly compliments the exploration aspect giving more or less value to different routes as production variates.

btw, we always play with the fast setup rules because i like the randomness in production right from the start.

And if I have to select a flaw, it'd be the solo rules. They are too hard. I've never managed to win... maybe it's also because you need to actively fight the rastur, but I also don't think the combat rules work well..

Talking about variants, we did print the otional ships and they add some variety to the game...
 
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Scott McNulty
United States
Tempe
Arizona
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Strongest Element: so many to choose from.
For me it has to be the demand cup and system. Genius.

Weakest Element: the sheer quantity of counters, many of which are unique.

This is more of a problem if the dog happens to think that these might taste good. We had to replace the deed for Aerie in my friend's set over this one. Or if you happen to take an extreme turn while driving home one night and part of your game gets scattered (my first set scattered that way).

Sigh.

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