Love it or hate it? Do you still play it?
Merchant of Venus is considered by many to be Richard Hamblen's masterpeice. It was originally designed on commission for Mccormick Spices as a spice trading game. Mccormick rejected the design as too complex. So Avalon Hill rethemed the game and published it in 1988 as Merchant of Venus; setting it in an unexplored part of the galaxy during a reawakening of galactic civilization with players moving around the board as traders discovering long-forgotten pockets of civilization and buying and selling goods.
After it went out of print, it became a holy grail game for many boardgamers, with people creating their own homemade copies of the game. One of the obstacles to getting it reprinted was that its designer, Richard Hamblen, had become a bit of a recluse and had disappered off the grid. Additionally, who owned the rights and trademark to Merchant of Venus was unclear. On October 24, 2011, in an amazing turn of events, two publishers, Stronghold and Fantasy Flight, both announced that they were reprinting the game. Stronghold had found Richard Hamblen and had reached an agreement with him to reprint the game. However, Fantasy Flight Games announced later that same day that they had acquired the right to republish the game from Hasbro, which Hasbro had acquired through their purchase of Avalon Hill. It was then discoverd that the trademark wasn't registered. Hasbro quickly registered it the next day. Eventually Stronghold and Fantasy Flight Games came to an agreement, and Fantasy Flight Games printed a new edition of Merchant of Venus which included both the original rules, and thier own updated version of the rules.
But was all this fuss and bother worth it? Does a game designed in 1988 still hold up today? Were Fantasy Flight's new rules an improvement?
What do you think? Let us know here. Also consider rating and reviewing Merchant of Venus in its listing in our Board Game Directory. There you can also find all the other articles and reviews we have about Merchant Venus.