"Warp Factor Two, Mr Quossoth!"

A variant for Merchant of Venus

Merchant of Venus is copyright owned by Avalon Hill, owned by Hasbro

After many years and comments from players of this fine game I have been minded to put finger to keyboard and commit some random thoughts to the ether. It is quite obvious that there is the potential for game imbalance in the distribution of relics. A player who is lucky enough to pick up a relic yellow drive and/or shield is blessed indeed, but add to this potent mix a mulligan gear or jump start and we can see that we have trouble. What I suggest is that for a trade off in money and holdspace a player may purchase an 'ersatz' relic from the Tinkerers, that very 'handy' race that inhabits the Galactic base.

Relic Production

Don't ask me how, maybe they are telepathic or have good lawyers, but when a player discovers and claims a relic the Tinkerers are right on the case. At the beginning of said players next turn the ersatz relic of the appropriate type is available from the Galactic Base, using the standard rules for trading. The number of ersatz relics of the appropriate type placed on board is equal to the number of player, less one, for 2 - 4 players. (Remember we are trying to level the playing field here). For 5 or 6 you may want to place a number equal to the number of players less two. (No particular reason for this except a gamers gut instinct). Place a stack of the appropriate type at Galactic Base.

Relic Cost

In a game about market forces it follows that the price of ersatz relics should increase with market demand

 

Standard

First

Second

Third

Fourth

 

Price

sells @

sells @

sells @

sells @

Auto Pilot

$80

$100

$120

$140

$160

Mulligan Gear

$120

$140

$160

$180

$200

Switch Switch

$100

$120

$140

$160

$180

Spy Eye

$100

$120

$140

$160

$180

Relic Laser

$100

$120

$140

$160

$180

Air Foil

$80

$100

$120

$140

$160

Relic Yellow Drive

$80

$100

$120

$140

$160

Relic Shield

$60

$80

$100

$120

$140

Gate Lock

$100

$120

$140

$160

$180

Jump Start

$120

$140

$160

$180

$200

VARIENT

Don Wood mentions that there may be a disincentive to go relic hunting in the first turns of the game, so how about this...

When an ersatz relic is sold by the tinkerers, the original relic owner is paid a 20% commission by the bank(He is a sort of copyright holder). If the relic has been bartered and/or repurchased, NO commission is awarded.

Cargo Space et al

Ersatz relics use the standard rules for equipment. They require hold space each, can be damaged/destroyed in combat and can be bartered for half value. I was originally thinking this would be half what you paid for it(easier to remember), but after feedback I feel the barter value should be half of the cost of the ordinary relic It is a simple matter to write this value on the back of the ersatz relic counters.

Note on Ersatz Relics

As can be seen some Tinkerer relics are pretty useless and only added for completeness, but if you are desperate for your freighter to have a Yellow Drive
I would appreciate ANY feedback on this varient. Are the relics too cheap? Should they be hull mounted?

Download the Ersatz Relic counters in adobe acrobat here
Trawling through some old discs I fouund the Relic Counters

Feedback credits: Don Woods(Barter clarifications), read Don's comments here.

Back to Main, where you can e-mail me. Copyright 2001 John Cudmore.