News for October 2011
A Galaxy Full of Riches 29
Announcing Merchant of Venus, a board game of space traders and alien riches
Merchant of Venus | Published 21 October 2011

Xandar hauled a piece of impossible furniture onto the bridge, curious why it sold so well across the galaxy. Designed by the Whynoms, the thing looked more like a chair than anything else, but the way it adapted to hold the wires dangling from his open engine assembly gave him the creeps. They said that impossible furniture could adapt to hold giant tentacles or slugs. Xandar shook it off. Space loomed before him, and his cargo holds were full. It was time to get rich.

Fantasy Flight Games is delighted to announce the upcoming release of Merchant of Venus, a board game of space traders and alien riches. Two to four players race through the galaxy on a wild dash for cash, locating and establishing vital trade lines to transport goods from the planets where they’re common, to the planets where they can sell for maximum profit.

A day in the life of a space trader

Aliens sell you their goods, and you’ve got a deadline to hit high market on a distant world. Streamlining your trade route is vital, as is boosting your ride, tweaking it out with all the latest and coolest upgrades. However, money invested in your ship cuts into your bottom line, making it a tough choice each trader will face as they compete to become the richest and greatest space trader.

Pilots, lasers, and shields can help you bypass the hazards of space travel. Increased cargo holds let you transport more goods with each voyage, and better pilots and drives can speed your ship across the galaxy in record time.

Meanwhile, you can pick up passengers able to pay for their rides and eke a profit out of the emptiest stretches of space. Transport enough, and your fame may translate to wealth later on, especially when alien cultures learn about your most distinguished guests.

A new lift-off for a classic game

More than a year ago, Fantasy Flight Games signed an exclusive licensing contract with Wizards of the Coast, LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., to return this classic 1980’s board game of interstellar trade and exploration to print.

Since that time we’ve been working hard to produce what will be a fantastic edition of Merchant of Venus, one that remains true to its magnificently campy core, while expanding the game in surprising ways that will cause even the most hardcore fan to celebrate.

We’re excited to announce that Fantasy Flight Games will release Merchant of Venus in the first quarter of 2012 and we are now accepting pre-orders. For more information, please contact the FFG Sales Department at [email protected].

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.

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Comments (29)

Published: 10/22/2011 4:07:13 PM

Man I feel bad for people like The Dukester, within the last two years we have seen wonderful games such as Mansions of Madness, Elder Signs, Gears of War; plus so many great expansions for Arkham Horror and more.

The reason expansions are made is for the fans like myself asking/buying them. I am so happy that the board games I buy from FFG have continued to live on!

Sorry The Dukester.....

Published: 10/22/2011 2:36:10 PM

Nope, not my loss at all. I've seen nothing but the same old endless series of LGC expansions and boardgames that are clearly only being produced to sell expansions down the road. And I've avoided two years of too-long rules, mandatory FAQs, countless decks of completely unnecessary cards, and on and on. I don't miss FFG **AT ALL.** Jumping off that train was one of the smartest things I ever did.

(Although I will admit to being excited about the Elder Signs iOS game ... but at least that one won't set my wallet on fire)


Boardgamer 007
Published: 10/22/2011 1:52:11 PM

>>" I like stronghold games but honestly would rather see FFG make it."

The thing is, the game was orginally a 6 player game. FFG's box already says "2-4 players"; that means in 9 months they will offer the "5-6 player expansion"...for an additional $40. Stronghold will publish it as a 6 player from the start.

Published: 10/22/2011 1:42:09 PM

Sounds like your loss TheDukester.  Too bad FFG has released so many great games in the last two years.

Published: 10/22/2011 1:15:17 PM

Wow, FFG playing the bully and yelling about its legal standing ... what a STUNNING development.

I will NOT be buying. Then again, I haven't bought an FFG product in nearly two years now ...

Published: 10/22/2011 2:50:54 AM

Quoted from BGG forum

"It has come to our attention that Fantasy Flight Games has laid claim to the license for the reprint of "Richard Hamblen's Merchant of Venus".

First and foremost, Stronghold Games bears no ill will towards Fantasy Flight Games over what can only be deemed as an unfortunate situation. In fact, we remain fans of Fantasy Flight's work within the game industry.

However, over 18 months ago, we began negotiations with Mr Hamblen for the license to his game design, Merchant of Venus, finally signing an agreement recently. After much research, Stronghold Games feels very strongly that the license is solely Mr. Hamblen's to offer, and he has selected Stronghold Games for the reprint.

In our opinion, the party that has sold the license to Fantasy Flight Games does not own the rights to this license. Mr Hamblen has also expressed to us his firm belief that the license is his alone to offer.

At this time, we are intent upon defending our and Mr Hamblen's claim to this license, noting once again that we view Fantasy Flight in the highest regard and regret that they have been put into this position.

Kevin Nesbitt and Stephen Buonocore
Managing Directors
Stronghold Games LLC

I for one hope they can settle this like gentlemen. It feels like none of them did this on purpous and that they both acted in good faith unaware of the other. Let's assume it was like that and hope for a quick and painless solution.


Published: 10/22/2011 1:08:55 AM

I'm a huge FFG, I have a ton of games in my collection -- but, I'm not sure I really like this move. Why not just contact Stronghold games and sort it out before announcing it? It's a douche move in the highest order. It's an attempt to make Stronghold look bad. Regardless, I'd rather it go with the company the game designer wants - and, he picked Stronghold.

Published: 10/22/2011 1:04:15 AM

I hope FFG isn't vilified over this.. especially not if it was not their fault. I doubt they will try to be bad guys..but I hope they fight for their legal rights. I like stronghold games but honestly would rather see FFG make it.

Published: 10/21/2011 9:48:07 PM

FFG, I am a fan but I hope you handle this with class.  If this looks like the big guy taking on the small guy then you might loose in the long run.  I bet you have the right to roll over Stronghold Games, but I hope you choose to do the right thing instead.  My assumption is that both of you negotiated in good faith with whom you thought had the rights.  I am not pretending to know what the right thing is. But, the wrong things are obvious: This game gets locked in legal battles and we never see it.  Stronghold Games gets hurt by this financially to the point they close down.  I just hope the game gets published and both Stronghold Games and FFG come out without loosing face and there a good spirit about the resolution.

Published: 10/21/2011 8:00:24 PM

Agreed - reading some more on BGG, it seems one company has mis-stepped. Both Stronghold and FFG believe they have bought the rights to the game, but legally only one could have. So who did it belong to, to be sold?

Was the rights to Hamblen's games ever passed on? There was a time when Avalon Hill denied having the rights to any of his games. Which means that the rights had passed back to Hamblen himself. But perhaps they actually did?

Who knows... it is all a big mess.

Published: 10/21/2011 6:53:07 PM

It seems that Stronghold acquired the rights from the designer while FFG independently acquired them from the publisher.

I'm guessing the explanation is that FFG had intended to announce this at a later date, but then Stronghold made their announcement and so FFG was forced to do likewise to establish their legal position.

Published: 10/21/2011 6:49:27 PM

I think the explanation is in the announcement Boromir. FFG hadn't announced theirs because it was still in development, but then Tom Vasel and Stronghold had their big announcement at Essen. FFG got the rights from Hasbro/Wizards, probably along with the Nexus Ops license and possibly others not yet announced.

Stronghold went to the original creator and got the rights that way.

One of them is wrong.

This is gaming Thunderdome...

Two will will leave.

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