|On Ships and Sales
Previewing the Market and Spaceships of Merchant of Venus
|Merchant of Venus | Published 18 October 2012|
In our last preview for Merchant of Venus we examined some of the pitfalls of navigating interstellar trade routes. In this article, we’ll break down the market a bit and take a look at some of the ways that players can upgrade their ships.
The newly reopened galactic cluster 5632 is ripe for the picking. Due to the Rastur attack, the region is filled with colonies that have been out of contact with civilized space for just long enough that they’re packed with goods and begging for buyers.
There’s a Buyer Born Every Nanosecond
That said, being the first on the scene in this new market has its advantages. When a player is the first to land on a planet, he gets to take advantage of First Contact with that alien culture. First Contact awards the player a gift in credits from the local alien culture, but players can only spend these credits on that particular planet. Each time a player lands on the surface of a planet during his movement phase, he can only complete one buy and one sell action during that turn. During First Contact, there’s a frenzy of activity, so a player can make up to three additional buy and three additional sell actions. If a player chooses to stay on the surface of a given planet and sacrifices his movement phase, then he can spend that extra time to make as many deals as he wants. All of this landing, taking off, and skipping movement phases can really slow down a merchant on the go.
Systems with a Spaceport eliminate the need for all that pesky planetside interaction. No Spaceport at your destination? No problem! For a chunk of credits, you can build your very own Merchant Spaceport. A Merchant Spaceport not only keeps you free of the surface, but also lets the player that built it shave ten credits off of every transaction.
You can’t make a profit without packing your cargo hold full of product or passengers. Passengers are looking to get from one system to another, and are willing to pay for a spot on your ship. A player charting a careful course can load up on credits by playing space chauffeur for a few rounds. Goods are the meat and potatoes of the interstellar market, however, and most goods can only be sold to four other systems. So pay attention to where you’re headed. A full hold with no buyers is a merchant’s worst nightmare.
A savvy space salesman will also take note of the market conditions among his prospective buyers. Goods are always bought by the player from a given culture at the same price, but each culture’s market for selling is constantly in flux. Each type of good has three different sale prices, and each market can be in a High, Active, or Low state. The market shifts after every sale, so take advantage of a High market before your competitors drive down the price.
Keeping Your Ship in Ship Shape for Shipping
While the name of the game is how many credits you can amass, it pays to sink some funds into your spaceship. In our last preview, we mentioned that upkeep on your lasers and shields are the basics for safely navigating the galaxy’s most common hazards, but these aren’t the only two things that could stand some extra work. Each alien culture sells a combination of two ship equipment upgrades in the form of lasers, shields, drives, and cargo holds.
You know what the worst part of space is? There’s so much of it. Crossing the light-years between systems can take forever, so make the most of your movement phase by installing a Red or a Yellow Drive in your ship’s dashboard. These engine supplements let ships skip all spaces that are the same color as your Drive, allowing your pilot to get goods and passengers from system to system in record time. If you’re not satisfied with skipping just one color space, the clever robotic denizens of the Eeepeeep world have devised the coveted Combo Drive that lets you sail past both red and yellow spaces at the same time.
Of course, speed isn’t everything. If you zip halfway across the cluster for a single sale, you may not be making the best use of your time. Setting up a strategy for a string of sales is usually a better option for profit, but the standard two cargo holds can restrict your choices. Some alien cultures allow a player to purchase more cargo holds, expanding from two up to a maximum of four. More room in your hold means more space for ferrying about traveling dignitaries or a bigger haul of Designer Genes and Chicle Liquor.
In addition to those four basics, each culture also sells a specific Racial Technology. Racial Technologies have a whole host of different benefits. From Stealth Fields and Variable Shields to Fancy Spoilers and Fuzzy Dice, every culture has something to offer to make your ship a bit better at squeezing every last credit out of the cluster. Pick up some Stasis Tanks to pack in more passengers, or purchase a License to Drill so you can mine the asteroids in your path.
Turn your ship into a true force of fortune, and find your best bet for the biggest pay out as you cruise around the galaxy. In the next preview, we’ll discuss Missions, the benefits of being famous, and different ways to play in the world of Merchant of Venus!
Discover new alien cultures and get rich selling their goods in Merchant of Venus, the board game of space exploration and interstellar trade for one to four players! Featuring a double-sided board, Merchant of Venus presents both Richard Hamblen's beloved classic and a newly reimagined design by Rob Kouba.
© 2012 HASBRO, Inc. All rights reserved. Merchant of Venus and its logo are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. Used with permission. Licensed by Wizards of the Coast.