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Merchant of Venus: The Variant Mini Expansion
Merchant of Venus: The Variant Mini Expansion
by The Avalon Hill Game Co (1990)
Player Count
1 to 6

Player Ages

Playing Time
3 hours
  • Transportation
  • Science Fiction
  • Exploration
  • Economic
  • Expansion for Base-game
  • Space Exploration
  • Designers
  • Richard Hamblen
  • Mechanisms
  • Pick-up and Deliver
  • Commodity Speculation
  • Roll / Spin and Move
  • Dice Rolling
  • Point to Point Movement
  • Artists
  • Charles Kibler
  • George I. Parrish, Jr.
  • Regina De Simone
  • Family
  • Solitaire Games
  • Planets: Venus
  • Rating: 6/10 from 1 users


    Merchant of Venus provides a nice, solid base upon which to build variants. In addition to providing a simple movement system for combining speed, navigation and carrying capacity, it provides a balanced economic model with which to play. These two aspects combine to be very handy when you're modelling such expensive pastimes as war, politics or civilization. During the development of Merchant of Venus many alternative rules were tried and discarded. The variant here presents some of the best of these alternate rules, and the counters to implement them.

    These rules add quite a bit of versimilitude and fun to the game, but they also add some complexity, unbalance the play a bit, distract the players from the commercial aspects, and/or increase the playing time. That's why they weren't included in the original game. Generally, each variant rule can be used by itself, or it can be freely combined with the other rules.

    The variant rules are:
    - Fast Set-up: Shortens setup time by mixing in the bonus markers with the goods markers and placing them only on culture discovery, makes bonus markers appear more early.
    - The Lost "?" Box: Make the asteroid in the Multi-Generations Ship a "?" box.
    • Variable Nova Balls: Change the firepower of Nova Balls according to blast attack rolls of the players.
    • Own Species Bonus: Allow multiple items to be traded in a city matching the players species.
    • Customized Spaceships: Ships work differently depending on the player species.
    • Haggling: Adds a bartering system depending on presence, availability and luck to trading of items.
    • Extra Forts: Additional fort markers for the merchants.
    • Agents, Bases & 2nd Ships: Rules for the new agent, base and 2nd ship counters
    • Mercenaries: Rules for the new mercenary markers.

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