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Merchant of Venus» Forums » Variants

Subject: Two ships per player rss

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Dustin Voss
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I've seen mention of a variant where players get two ships. How does that one work, exactly?
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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This file has lots of variants compiled from various sources. I think there was a variant from the general for using more ships:

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/4304/merchant-of-venus-opt...
 
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Darrell Pavitt
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Yes, the General variant had a second ship marker for each player.

You could use it to represent the other ship card not currently in use, which you could buy normally.
 
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Richard Irving
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Here is the text of the the General Variant rules for this which separate bases and agents to help buy and sell stuff:

Quote:
8. AGENTS. BASES, & 2nd SHIPS:
Before the game begins, each merchant is given the agent, base and second ship counters that match his color. He is the only one who may use these markers, and he cannot use them until he buys them from a Culture. These do not count towards the monetary requirements for victory at the end of the game.

8.1 Each time a merchant conducts the trading portion of his turn, all agent, base and second ship markers he has on ports or cities may also trade; this is in addition to any trading the merchant himself does. (His markers can conduct trade even if he is in space and cannot trade.) He may intermingle their trading and his own in any order he pleases. The merchant's turn continues until he and all of his markers have finished their trading. If his turn is interrupted, his markers can continue trading until they are done. If a marker's trade is interrupted, this does not stop that of the merchant nor his other markers.

8.11 When a marker makes a purchase, it receives the benefit (if any) of its owner's species. If the optional Haggling rule is in effect, it must haggle to buy goods. Should a marker purchase a Port, Factory or Fort, the counter for this is put in the system where the marker is trading.

8.12 When a marker buys a Swindle or a Revolt, its owner resolves the attack as if he were on that dot. If he owns any weapons on the dot, he may fire them to pay for revolts. If the attack should result in a tie, the marker stops trading for the rest of that turn. If the attack is defeated, the attacking marker is eliminated.

8.13 A Rastur on a dot prevents markers from trading; but it does not eliminate them.

8.2 The merchant keeps the cash supply for himself and all of his markers. He takes all money and IOU markers they may receive, and he pays for all penalties and expenses they incur--regardless of how far from his location they are.

8.3 Agents: Each merchant can buy agents only from his own species. The cost is $80 per agent. Agents have no trade-in value.

8.31 A merchant can carry his agents on his ship like Fares, and he can jettison them on any port, city or asteroid. A dot can hold any number of agents.

8.32 When an agent trades, he can make one purchase or sell one item (or make one move on his own). He may do only one action per turn. He can trade regardless of whether he is on a ship or on the map.

8.321 When an agent is on the same dot with a friendly ship or base, he can buy goods or equipment and place them in the ship or base; or he can sell from the ship or base. If there is no friendly ship or base on the dot, he cannot sell anything and any goods or equipment he buys is immediately jettisoned. [Clarification: When a merchant lands at a city where he has an agent, the merchant can buy one item and sell one item, and the agent can buy one item and sell one item.]

8.322 When an agent buys a ship, it becomes his owner's second ship (see 8.4 below). If the owner already has a second ship, the agent cannot buy a ship. Agents can never sell ships.

8.323 Agents cannot pick up nor jettison Fares.

8.33 When an agent moves on his own, he may go to any port, city or asteroid in the system he currently occupies. If he moves to an undiscovered city, he discovers the local Culture and . his owner takes the IOU. Agents cannot move from system to system by themselves.

8.34 When the optional Combat rules are used, agents do not pay penalties and cannot be attacked. However, if an agent is in a Hold when it is hit by a blast attack, the marker is eliminated.

8.4 Second Ships: Each merchant can operate two ships at the same time. One of the ships must be large (a Transport or Freighter) and one must be small (a Scout or Clipper). Second ships are bought from the usual shipbuilding Cultures for the usual prices, and they have the normal tradein value. Only agents can purchase a second ship. When an agent buys a ship, his owner takes the ship card and places his second ship marker on that agent's dot; the agent marker is eliminated immediately.

8.41 The merchant places the items he is carrying on his own ship card, and the items the second ship is carrying on its card. To avoid confusion, place a coin on the second ship card to distinguish it.

8.42 Each time a merchant takes his turn, both of his ships may move. He can move either first, but the first ship must complete its movement before he rolls the dice for the second ship. When both ships have finished moving, he may trade. If one ship's move is interrupted, the other ship is not affected.

8.43 A second ship conducts trade exactly like a merchant. It may pick up and jettison Fares. It may even sell the old ship and buy a new one (of the proper size). When a merchant and his second ship are on the same dot, they may exchange items--and even ships. This is the only manner in which items may be exchanged.

8.44 When the optional Combat rules are used, second ships fight just like merchants. However, the presence of a second ship in a system does not prevent enemy revolts there.

8.5 Bases: Each merchant can own a permanent base on the map. Bases can be bought from any Culture for $120, and they have no trade-in value. Only agents can buy bases. When an agent buys a base, his owner may put his base marker on any port, city or asteroid in that system and the agent marker is eliminated immediately. A dot can hold any number of bases, but each merchant can own only one base at a time.

8.51 A base is an immobile ship with seven Holds. It cannot move, but it trades like a merchant (EXC: it cannot take Fares aboard). There are no cards for the bases, so the items in the base must be kept to the side, next to its owner's ship card.

8.52 When the optional Combat rules are used, bases can attack and be attacked just like ships. Since a base cannot move away, each turn it is on the same dot with an enemy penalty marker it must pay the penalty. Like a ship, it can make one blast attack per turn before it starts trading.

8.6 A merchant can voluntarily eliminate any of his agent, base or 2nd ship markers at any time during his turn, regardless of how far away he is. He cannot voluntarily eliminate them when it is another player's turn. Whenever a base or 2nd ship is eliminated, all of the items are jettisoned. Eliminated markers are immediately available to be bought again.
Comment: These rules add another level of complexity to the game system, and thus can slow play considerably; on the other hand, due to the increased efficiency of the trading system that may be crafted, profit can geometrically increase and so end the game quite quickly in its latter stages.


Just scanning these rules:
The second ship is obviously useful, but since you have to buy an agent first in order for him to buy the ship, it cost quite a bit and be most useful in a $4000 game.

One obviously missing or unclear rule is it does not say you can sell your second ship (or your first ship) only that you can "sell the old ship and buy a new one (of the proper size)."

Agents are of marginal utility other than buying a second ship, they can buy and/or sell one item on the first turn when you land on at a city, but a ship has to be there or the items are jettisoned.

The base seems totally useless since they can't move. A ship still has to stop to load up on goods or equipment held at the base. In combat, a base helps on defense in a system for revolts by one and you may arm it (if located in a system where you buy weapons) to defend against blast attacks or your opponent placing a fort in the same space or an opponent's ship in the same space.

It seems to add a lot of complexity and cost without enough payout (either financially or in fun)
 
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Richard Irving
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A better idea might be to use the variant ships from Roberto Ullfig (Also available in the file above: Needle, Merchantmen, Scow, Sloop.

Give each player a regular Scout and Needle to start the game and a distinguishable pawn to tell them apart. Each player can launch one ship from Galactic Base on their first turn (this prevents the first player from claiming 2 IOU's off the start.)

Each ship would use a separate roll. You declare your first dot and roll and completely move your first ship and then do the same for the other ship. Then you conduct one ship conducts all its trades and then the other. If a Port is built in a space where you second ship is, it can conduct trades at the newly built port.

Any equipment purchased for a ship is installed on that ship. Players can trade goods and equipment between their ships if they end their turn on the same dot.

Upgrades: You can upgrade (or downgrade) any ship in the normal manner, though due to card limitations, you cannot have for example a Scout and Clipper (because they are on the same card.) You always must have two ships in play.
 
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