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Flashback Friday - Merchant of Venus - Love It or Hate It? Do You Still Play It?

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26 Apr 2019 18:55 #296155 by DukeofChutney
I think MOV is a neat game but it has sort of played out for me, it slightly over stays its welcome.

Agreed that the original AH rules are much better than the bloated FFG nonsense.
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26 Apr 2019 19:37 #296156 by Gary Sax
It's very stripped down and focused. That's why I can't agree with Barnes saying it's "better" than, say, merchants and marauders because mov is literally doing one thing (extremely well).
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26 Apr 2019 19:49 #296157 by Michael Barnes
But that is exactly what I like. I’m so over games that strain and over-exert themselves to tell a garbage story or express a so-called “theme”, both of which requiring a bunch of minor rules, extra components or other bloat to prop up. I’d rather a game be more focused and definitive like MOV.

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26 Apr 2019 20:51 - 26 Apr 2019 20:52 #296159 by ubarose
We played the heck out of my Avalon Hill copy of Merchants of Venus - literally.

One day I get a message from my brother, KingPut, that he found a copy at an estate sale for a sweet price, but it is missing a few chits. He wants to know if I want it. I ask him if it is in better condition than my copy. He replies, “Every copy is in better condition than your copy.”
Last edit: 26 Apr 2019 20:52 by ubarose.
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26 Apr 2019 21:28 #296160 by Sagrilarus
I think the game’s setting is aided by it not taking itself too seriously. Delivering immortal grease and finest dust keep your approach to the game appropriately lighthearted.
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27 Apr 2019 02:56 - 27 Apr 2019 10:03 #296163 by san il defanso
There's room for games like Merchant of Venus and Merchants & Marauders both. Merchant of Venus does its one thing, the economic space stuff, really well, but the adventuring and exploration part is a little de-emphasized as a result. That's not a bad thing, but there's definitely a place for games like M&M, Firefly, and Xia (which I haven't played) to step in there and be about more than just shipping goods to places.

This is sort of the design space where the FFG redesign dwells, and I don't think it's all bad. I feel like it does ship customization much stronger, and there's definitely more of a feeling of a full on lived-in universe. Its main issue is that it's just too darn long, at least a good hour per player if you are rushing through it. It has its charms, but it's not polished enough to really come off well against the other more complex games I mentioned earlier.

But the original is still great. I play it with some regularity, and I'd probably put it in my top ten. I like the FFG edition quite a bit, in the sense that it's the graphical version I'm most accustomed to.
Last edit: 27 Apr 2019 10:03 by san il defanso.
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27 Apr 2019 08:27 #296165 by Sagrilarus
This is my first sighting of someone who has played the Fantasy Flight rules.
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27 Apr 2019 10:02 #296167 by san il defanso
I've played a few times! I've always liked it, but it's hard to justify playing when the shorter, more focused, better game is right on the other side of the board.
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27 Apr 2019 11:16 #296169 by Jackwraith
I've also played the FFG rules and enjoyed them. I like the original game's mechanics more, but I'm one of the few (alongside Nate) that usually likes FFG's additional chrome and this one was no different. It's not like the original rules are a liturgy. I'd be willing to bet that, just like the CE/Dune guys, Hamblen was probably tickled to try his classic design in a new way when FFG released it. I remember the unbridled outrage here that FFG had dared to release the holy relic with "new rules", even though the classic rules were in the same box. You got two versions of this great game in one package and yet the response was the height of nerd indignation. I don't get it.

As for the game itself, I like it and I've only ever owned the FFG version, but I sold it years ago because it wasn't getting played and I needed the cash. I'm not sure if I'd try to get it back at this point, since I have M&M (because pirates) and Firefly (because Firefly.) Still a great game, though.
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27 Apr 2019 13:04 #296170 by Gary Sax
This is from the outside, since I have very brightly colored pnp version, but I think one of my only beefs with the ffg version is that the goods tile chits could differentiate from each other a little more clearly from a distance. That's kind of a big deal since interpretation of the routes is the key thing in this game.
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27 Apr 2019 16:57 #296173 by Sagrilarus
Had not the whole Stronghold/Hamblen thing happened FFG would have issued their revised version alone, and the original version would still be worth $175.
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27 Apr 2019 22:08 #296181 by Jackwraith

Sagrilarus wrote: Had not the whole Stronghold/Hamblen thing happened FFG would have issued their revised version alone, and the original version would still be worth $175.


You have precisely zero evidence to state that, but feel free to keep that nerd crusade going.

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27 Apr 2019 22:34 #296182 by Ah_Pook
Rex and the secondary market value of Dune over the years lends some credence to the idea.
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27 Apr 2019 23:30 - 28 Apr 2019 00:53 #296183 by ubarose
We will never know what FFG would have done if Stronghold hadn't had an agreement with Hamblen. However, to get FFG to play ball, there was some posturing by Stronghold that since FFG had the trademark to the name and was planning on releasing MoV with revised rules that Stronghold would release a game with the original rules and with Hamblen on board, just under a different but similar name like Traders of Mars. FFG then responded that they would also include the original rules and toss Hamblen a bone.

I'm not sure what Hamblen got. Stronghold, who now had no more cards to play, settled for a few cases of MoV, which they sold at their booth at cons.
Last edit: 28 Apr 2019 00:53 by ubarose.
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28 Apr 2019 09:24 #296187 by Jackwraith

Ah_Pook wrote: Rex and the secondary market value of Dune over the years lends some credence to the idea.


I don't really see the comparison, honestly. MoV isn't about the setting. It's just generic SF galaxy with a great set of rules. Dune, OTOH, is Dune. Rex was basically the same game with some changes to smooth out Dune's older mechanics (simplistic card play, for example.) The outrage that took place here was that Rex wasn't Dune, even though everyone knew that FFG had only obtained the rules (which can't be copyrighted) because the Herberts still weren't willing to license the setting, Incidentally, Eberle and Co. were fully on board with FFG's attempt to get the game circulating again, just like they were with CE.

No game has perfect rules. There are design decisions that cut one way or the other in every situation. Dune has stuff that's not perfect. So does MoV. The fact that Dune retains its value even post-Rex is about Dune, not the game rules. In the case of MoV, I'd be willing to argue that the original would retain at least some of its value because of people who want to play with the classic AH release (i.e. collectors.) That happens all the time in other markets like comics, where people can get reprints of classic stuff but still seek out the originals, just because.

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