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Merchant of Venus

1988 Avalon Hill Bookshelf Game # AH876

Once there was a mighty Galactic Empire, peopled by an uneasy alliance of intelligent species. Politicians schemed for power under a figurehead Emperor, while warlike species kept the peace and dozens of worlds traded in ideas, resources and products. Richest of all were the traders of interspecies luxury goods, who cleverly terraformed a world to produce these rare luxuries. Their planet (an unused Rim world named for a minor local deity of the softer pleasures) was a byword for wealth, luxury and shrewd trading; and when the Empire finally collapsed into a dark age of savagery, the memory of the MERCHANT OF VENUS lived on, a legend of the shrewd trader who brought wonderful things from beyond the stars.
Now it is the 32nd century, two centuries after the fall of the First Galactic Empire, and a young, lusty civilization is bursting forth into the Galaxy with the newlyrediscovered star drive. lt is the heyday ofthe independent interstellar merchant, a time when a few daring entrepreneurs can make fortunes and build trade empires.
In MERCHANT OF VENUS you play the part of such a merchant, exploring a cluster of stars to find what remains of the civilizations that once dwelt there. The map portrays a small cluster of star systems, where 14 intelligent species lie hidden in the ruins of the First Empire. Each species is the dominant culture of a different system, but after centuries of savagery, no one knows where each culture dwells. As you discover the cultures you can trade with them, buying and selling exotic trade goods and special devices. In your journeys you can also stumble across other remnants of the First Empire, including unique treasures and weapons that automatically attack passers-by.
MERCHANT OF VENUS is a game of luck and skill. You start with a small spaceship racing to accumulate wealth by transporting, trading and investing. You make money by buying trade goods from one culture and selling them to other cultures. You can use your profits to buy bigger spaceships, with high-speed drives and shields to protect you from the dangers you will meet! As your profits increase, you can build ports and factories to make trading more profitable. As the game progresses, profits will accelerate until one merchant accumulates enough wealth to win the game. The optional rules allow you to play a darker version of the game, in which the cluster is torn with strife and warfare. These rules introduce weapons, forts, swindles, revolts, piracy and the Rastur, an army of xenophobic megalomaniacs who are trying to conquer the Galaxy.
MERCHANT OF VENUS is a design with remarkable versatility. Few, if any, games can claim to be equally exciting whether played solitaire, head-to-head or with three, four, five or six players. Not only can this game claim that distinction, MERCHANT OF VENUS uses it to vary the strategy dramatically as the number of participants change.


CONTENTS:
1 22" x 24" mounted Mapboard
394 die-cut, double laminated Playing Pieces
12 Ship Cards
6 Reference Cards
6 plastic Pawns
39 Deed Cards
four Dice
Play Money
16 page Rulebook and Designer's Notes


Designer : Richard Hamblen

Avalon Hill Merchant of Venus