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.
• 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