Memorial Day is a perfect time to get everyone together and play those games that you can’t get to normally. You know what I am talking about, those games that take like 4+ hours and you just can’t fit them in to a normal work night gaming session.
So, we managed to bust out Merchant of Venus from Fantasy Flight games, a re-imagining of the classic Avalon Hill game.
Basically if you haven’t played it, each player flies around space exploring 14 systems. You look for goods to trade, passengers to ferry, new civilizations, etc. You improve your ship and piloting abilities as you go. Whoever has the most credits at the end of the game wins.
Merchant of Venus is a typically Fantasy Flight game…in other words, it has a lot of counters, cards, etc. It also is kind of an “Ameritrash” game in that you roll lots of dice, there is a lot of randomness, and in the end the random behavior usually makes a bigger difference in the outcome than any true strategic and/or tactical decisions. In short, it plays a bit like Talisman–move around and hope for good luck. But it is quite fun if no one takes it too seriously.
Anyway, Bob, Stew and I got in a pretty fun game. Stew started by heading toward the Nebula which slowed him down. I took advantage of some favorable placement of passengers and Bob started trading everywhere he could.
Through about 20 or so turns, Bob and I were raking in the credits while Stew slowly caught up to us. The game lasts about 2-4 hours on average, and since we hadn’t played it in forever, it took some time to set up. So after 3 hours and 21 turns, we decided to go eat and call it quits. We didn’t figure out who won because it was just fun to play.
Merchant of Venus is a fun game but you need time to play it. If we had played to the 30 turn limit, we would’ve easily taken another hour. So maybe on the next holiday we might finish a game…