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Subject: Mercantile/shipping game recommendation? rss

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Papa Alpha
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Red Deer
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I'm looking for something with ports (perhaps a map?) that buy/sell commodities where you take the role of shipper, moving goods between said ports for profit. Dealing with the dangers of voyage preferred. Space ships or sailing ships or overland caravan or whatever; theme not terribly important.

Little help? Thanks!
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David Hadden
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After 20 years our gaming group still regularly brings out a well worn copy of Merchants of Venus. We all wish that it would be reprinted with today's bits quality.
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Kevin C.
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Endeavor maybe?

Kevin
 
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Mitch Willis
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Maybe Hansa...perhaps Oltre Mare...and possibly Parthenon: Rise of the Aegean...
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Andy Ravenscroft
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Bermuda Triangle is an old favourite that you could probably pick up fairly cheaply. You have ships that you move from port to port in the Bermuda Triangle, delivering various commodities like coal. The challenge is the mysterious cloud that moves randomly across the board and can pick up and carry off your ships (the ships have metal pieces in them and there are magnets under the cloud which is a big plastic piece large enough to fit over the ships). Fairly simple game, but fun.
 
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Benjamine Allen
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I love Bermuda Triangle!!

From what I have been reading (very lightly) Merchants & Marauders might be something interesting for you.
 
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Walt
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Hansa is good, but on the simple side.

Merchants & Marauders might work for you. I have not yet played this, but many of us have been watching the designer getting Fantasy Flight to publish it. But this may be a 2011 title--no publishing date from Z-Man Games or Gone Cardboard.

Container is extremely good as an economic simulation, but doesn't have much of a cartographic feel.

Patrician III is an excellent PC game, and the soon-to-be-released Patrician IV should be even better.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Aside from what has already been mentioned, here is what I see on my list of games I have researched but not played. None look like exact matches with what you described.

- Bombay
- Perry Rhodan
- Merchants: Lords of the Sea
- Traders of Carthage
- Logistico
- Rotterdam

You might also try a BGG advanced search for +economic +transportation to see if anything jumps out at you. Or try simple searches for words like "merchants", "cargo", "shipping", etc.

[Edit: Made game list into clickable links]
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Jim Cote
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Serenissima (first edition)
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Klaus Brune
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Container is extremely good as an economic simulation, but doesn't have much of a cartographic feel.


Container was the first thing I thought of until the OP mentioned dangers on the voyage.

Maybe it's time for a "3rd Shipment" expansion? Maps with actual oceans to navigate, hazards along the way (at the very least, weather delaying movement), the ability to buy and sell insurance to deal with the now more risky voyages.
 
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Papa Alpha
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Thanks for the suggestions! My search-engine-fu wasn't cutting it. None of it looks like exactly what I'm envisioning, but there is lots of good stuff there; Merchants & Marauders is one I'm waiting for, if it ever shows up...
 
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Walt
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Since you like M&M, you might take a look at Jamaica (simple) or Blackbeard (complex). They're pirate games, but they do use cargo.

You might like Galaxy Trucker, which definitely has hazard avoidance, but no buy and sell--you pick up what you can find. Try or look very closely before you buy: it's a strange game.

If you're okay with train games, many use a pick-up and deliver mechanic. You might check out Empire Builder, Steam (one of the closely related Age of Steam derived games like Railways of the World, Railways of the World--but not much in the way of hazard avoidance), and Silverton (complex).
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Robert Washington

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The OOP SERENISSIMA has most everything you mentioned and options for players to go pirate on each other, so it would be my recommendation.

The only other game that hasn't been mentioned I can think of is the available-in-Europe-only Auf Achse, whose only fault is it's simplicity - it's about TICKET TO RIDE-level in complexity.
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Jason Reid
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When it comes to shipping games, we Eurogamers suffer from an embarrassment of riches. If you can't find one that interests you, I humbly suggest that you continue looking. Because if someone designs a new one to suit you, Tom Vasel might have to throw it off of a roof devil
 
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Papa Alpha
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Outkast wrote:

The OOP SERENISSIMA has most everything you mentioned and options for players to go pirate on each other, so it would be my recommendation.

The only other game that hasn't been mentioned I can think of is the available-in-Europe-only Auf Achse, whose only fault is it's simplicity - it's about TICKET TO RIDE-level in complexity.


I gave it a quick look when Jim Cote suggested it above, but closer inspection reveals that it is much of what I'm looking for. A read through the rules or something would really be helpful; I'm not super-keen on throwing down for stuff blind. Thanks!
 
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Walt
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Alchemyguy wrote:
I gave it a quick look when Jim Cote suggested it above, but closer inspection reveals that it is much of what I'm looking for. A read through the rules or something would really be helpful; I'm not super-keen on throwing down for stuff blind. Thanks!

If you can describe more of what you want or tell where suggestions are hitting or missing, maybe we can suggest other games. I did think of Medici (auctions with a shipping there) and Strozzi (shipping with a little abstract piracy) and the odd little Ostia (getting supplies for Rome), but didn't think the were quite right. Maybe I was wrong! laugh
 
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Papa Alpha
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Tall_Walt wrote:

If you can describe more of what you want or tell where suggestions are hitting or missing, maybe we can suggest other games. I did think of Medici (auctions with a shipping there) and Strozzi (shipping with a little abstract piracy) and the odd little Ostia (getting supplies for Rome), but didn't think the were quite right. Maybe I was wrong! laugh


Fair enough; I want to run little ships (or mules or whatever) between cities, buying and selling commodities as I go; different cities buying and selling commodities at different rates. Further cities require more time (movement points, whatever) and suffer greater risk of disaster or robbery or whatever. So far, Merchant of Venus and Serenissima have hit closest to the mark despite the OOPyness of both and the cheesy components of the latter. I'm very reluctant to buy OOP games that I actually want to play; the collector in me recoils at the thought. What I need to do is read the MoV rules and decide if it's right; if it is, off to make my own...

The Patrician computer game noted above is essentially the thing, although obviously vastly more complex than I'd want on the table.
 
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Actually, if you wouldn't mind waiting until I make a few tweaks and manage to get it published, I've been working on a game for little over a year that is almost exactly what you described
 
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Walt
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Alchemyguy wrote:
Fair enough; I want to run little ships (or mules or whatever) between cities, buying and selling commodities as I go; different cities buying and selling commodities at different rates. Further cities require more time (movement points, whatever) and suffer greater risk of disaster or robbery or whatever. So far, Merchant of Venus and Serenissima have hit closest to the mark despite the OOPyness of both and the cheesy components of the latter. I'm very reluctant to buy OOP games that I actually want to play; the collector in me recoils at the thought. What I need to do is read the MoV rules and decide if it's right; if it is, off to make my own...

The Patrician computer game noted above is essentially the thing, although obviously vastly more complex than I'd want on the table.

Patrician is nice, though. I'd have to drive a few hours to get to snow: instead I boot up Patrician. cool

You might think about whether you want a competitive game or a . . . pastime (maybe that's the best word). It almost sounds like you want a role playing game where you can be a merchant--heavy theme. Most modern games are going to be refined to some aspect of trading so they'll play in an hour or two.

If you want to relax and wander as an itinerant merchant, then Patrician is exactly what you're looking for. You play to your own level of ambition. Myself, I can't imagine playing such a game with other people: "Excuse me, I want to take five minutes to come up with just the right name for my new cog."

Railroad games aside, I think Hansa is probably the best I can think of, and it has a print and play expansion, Hansa: Changing Winds.

But, you might think of modifying Container. It doesn't have a map, but you could add one if you increased the number of spaces a ship could move. The basic game is so simple, adding stuff should be easy--but, of course, then there's the problem of getting your fellow gamers to accept changes that are essentially designed to hit your own emotional buttons.

Empire Builder might be best for train games. You run one train, pickup and deliver cargo, and build more track when you can afford it. You might try it using Pluto Scarab Rails, which to dodge copyright is only sort of Empire Builder with random maps--but the essence is there if you choose grouped contracts, and I would suggest automatic track building (you can override it) and fast start.

From the same list, you might also consider Clippers. I haven't played it, but I've heard good things about it.
 
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Papa Alpha
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I'm a pretty well seasoned RPG'er; in fact my first lust for this sort of thing came about with the OD&D "Minrothad Guilds" Gazetteer, which detailed a trading system and had a big hex-map with the ports of the known world. As much awesome as running a campaign of carrying cargo and dodging pirates and monsters is (to me), it's not been nearly so interesting to my group. A boardgame played out in a few hours goes over far better.

What I'm looking for is less abstract than Hansa but more abstracted than RPGing. Merchants & Marauders, Merchant of Venus and Serenissima all strike close enough that I would probably be happy enough with the result. If only I can lay hands on them.
 
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