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Merchant of Venus (MOV) Updated June 30, 2023
Class B: Beginning Players Welcome You may play if you have read the rules, played previously, or participated in a scheduled demo. Be on time for the scheduled demonstration. The GM will remain for only 15 minutes if no one is present.
Schedule  GM: Richard Irving (20th Year)
Round Day Start Time Duration Location
Demo 1/1FSu141Exhibit Hall Annex #4
Heat 1/3FSu163Sunburst
Heat 2/3We93Snowflake
Heat 3/3Fr133Snowflake
2023 Tournament Format Heats Winners Only

Rule #1: The main goal of this tournament is to have fun! If there is any dispute, problem, or argument, please refer to Rule #1.

Tournament format:

  • There will be three heats
  • Format has changed this year to Heats Winners Only. Only winners can advance to the semifinal.
  • Players will be randomly assigned to four player games. If the number of players in a heat does not divide evenly by 4, a few three player games will be formed.
  • As much as possible, GM will not assign players who you can play regularly (same family/city) in the same game. Players who select MoV as their Team Tournament game will not play in a game with another member of their own team during the heats.
  • Winning one game in any heat will very likely qualify you to play in the semifinal.
  • You may enter any number of heats you like—even if you already have qualified for the semifinal.
  • Please inform the GM if you played in an earlier heat so I can use the same scorecard.
  • GM will post a list of finalists after each heat on the Merchant of Venus kiosk. If you decide not to play in the semifinal, please inform the GM.
  • All heat games will be played to $2000 within a three-hour time limit. If the game is not completed in the time limit, GM may adjudicate a result.
  • The players who start 4th (or 5th) in any game will receive an extra die on the first turn of the game. This is to allow them a fair chance to reach an undiscovered planet and claim an IOU on the first turn.
  • Variant Games: The default game is played under standard AH Merchant of Venus rules without combat. However, the GM will allow variant games to be played with prior approval. (The GM’s Green Taters variant, FFG Classic and alternate ships would be allowed for play. AH with Combat and FFG Standard would be rejected due to time constraints.) If you would like to set up or play in a variant, please inform the GM before table assignments are made for the heat.


  • Only Heat Winners will advance to the Semifinal.
  • The number of qualifiers from the heats present at the SF will determine the number of games in the semifinals:
    • 9 or fewer: 3 three-player games
    • 10 – 12: 4 three-player games.
    • 13 – 16: 4 four-player games.
    • 17 – 20: 5 four-player games.
    • 21 – 25: 5 five-player games.
    • 26 – 30: 6 five-player games.
    • 31 – 36: 6 six-player games.
    • More than 36 qualifiers: If there are more than 36 game winners, we will cut to 36 semifinalists according to the following criteria (in the following order if still tied after each criterion is applied):
      1. Best result in another heat game (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Not Played), go to third best heat if still tied.
      2. Best Score in another heat game, go to third best score if still tied.
      3. Lowest score of 2nd Place player in the game you won
      4. Dice roll
  • Assignment to semifinal games will be done in the same manner as in the heats.
  • The Semifinal and Final will be standard AH Merchant of Venus rules without combat. FFG edition will not be used.
  • Semifinal games will be played to $3000, unless 6 player games are used--in which case play to $2000.
  • Winners from the semifinal will advance to the finals.


  • The Final Game will be played to $3000, unless a 6-player game is used--in which case play to $2000.
  • The winner of the final will be the WBC Merchant of Venus champion.

Record Keeping: A sheet will be given to each table to record the official results of each game. Record the Turn order, which ship(s) and equipment a player uses, and relics acquired by each player. (This information will not be used in the tournament, just for informational purposes only.) Please circle the name of the winner. Please include any interesting events or comments in the space provided. This will help in writing my tournament report. Thanks!

Victory: Victory will be determined normally—the first player to declare on their turn when they have $2000 or $3000 in cash and deeds will win the game. It is possible that another player may have more money & deeds than the winner. There is no benefit to acquiring more than you need to win. $100 over the line is no better than $1.

Scoring: A player’s score at the end of the game will consist of total value of cash, deeds and purchase price of any goods being carried on the player’s ship. (IOU’s, equipment, fares, relics, and ship have no value.) This score will only be used to break ties, if any are needed, at the semifinals. (GM Note: The reason for this change is to prevent artificial play at the end of the game where a player who cannot win might choose not to purchase goods that would otherwise lower his score. Always try to play for the win.)

Errata, Rules Clarifications, etc.:

  • Please double check all IOU’s as they are discovered. And when a port or factory is built make sure player receives the correct deed and the correct factory good and port/factory marker are placed in the system. There have been cases of players making these mistakes and correcting these errors can be difficult.
  • IOU’s may only be viewed at orbit boxes (exception: Spy Eye). On a space station or city on a planet, if you pick up the IOU, you must stop & discover the culture living there. (This applies in the Cloud and Interstellar Biosphere. Rules 7.2 & 7.3))
  • Combat rules are not in play in any game. However, the Relic Laser is in play. It may not be used for combat, but it may be bartered at any system for $50 credit.
  • If a player fails to indicate initial direction of movement or rolls the wrong number of dice or if a die is cocked or rolled off the table, they must re-roll all dice.
  • Unless all players at a table agree, all players must use the same set of dice.
  • Exposed “taters”: If a “?” marker is accidentally exposed, mix it with the other leftovers and redraw.
  • At start of game, the Culture ID chit and goods for each race should laid out beside the board so that players can determine which races have not yet been discovered.
  • Barter: Bartered items (IOU’s or equipment including relics & ships) may not be traded for cash, only goods, deeds, ship and/or equipment. Any value remaining on the bartered item that cannot be traded for goods, deeds or equipment is lost. Bartered equipment and ships (not IOU’s) count as a sale subject to the “buy 1/sell 1 item on arrival” rule. You must always own one ship. (Rules 9.32, 9.41, 3.4, General 26-1)
  • Fares do NOT count as a purchase or sale. They are not subject to the “buy 1/sell 1 item on arrival” rule. They do not generate a 10% commission when delivered to a port. (Rule: 12.22)
  • Rule 11.4, trading with another player while stopped at the same location, will not be allowed in this tournament.
  • The counter mix does NOT limit the number of factories/spaceports that a player may own. Use another color if a player runs out.
  • A commission of 10% of the face value of an IOU is paid to the owner of the spaceport where an IOU is used. (Errata: General 26-1)
  • Guard Plants (Factory Good for the Nillis, 1a, AH ed.) sell for $140 as shown on the Player Aid cards & Deed, not the $160 shown on the counter.
  • The Cup: Chits should be returned to the cup and drawn one at a time. If an item is sold with a demand marker:
    • The good is returned first and a chit is drawn from the cup,
    • Then, the demand marker is returned, and a chit is drawn from the cup,
    • Finally, the next item may be sold.
  • To speed play, another player may draw the chits from the cup while someone else conducts buying and selling. All chits are to be announced as they are drawn, including fares/demands for undiscovered races.
  • Factory goods (if available) may be purchased at any port, city, or space station in the system.
  • Players need not announce their pilot number until they first enter a Navigation Circle or Telegate on their turn.
  • GM reserves right to adjudicate rules questions. Any rulings made will apply in all further rounds of the event. Please call the GM or an assistant GM to resolve a rule question.

Differences in play between AH Merchant of Venus and FFG “Classic” Merchant of Venus:

  • IOU’s:
    • AH Version - No special buying privileges with an IOU
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Goods, equipment & ships fully purchased with an IOU do NOT count as a “buy” for “1 Buy/1 Sell” rule. Anything bought all or in part with credits, does count as a “buy”
  • Relics:
    • AH Version - Gate Lock must be used at start of movement. Laser is in play. Since combat is not in play in this tournament, Laser can only be bartered for $50.
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Gate Lock may be used/not used at any point on movement. Laser is not in play.
  • Board:
    • AH Version - Western end of Colony World system is 2 blue dots. Neutron Port orbit is in Multi-Generation Ship system.
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Western end of Colony World system has a Blue 30 penalty and navigation circle. * Misprint: Orbit is located in north navigation circle. Michael Christopher’s (aka: Dathkadan) PnP artwork features this change and will be in play if a set is in use—Otherwise all AH rules will be in effect on this board.
  • Numbering:
    • AH Version - 1-10, some use same number designated by a letter. Good may be sold to next 3 numbers (ignoring any letters.)
    • FFG “Classic” Version - 1-14, Good may be sold to next 4 or 5 numbers, see bottom of each goods counter.
  • Selling Price:
    • AH Version - Guard Plants (1a Nillis Factory Good) is misprinted. Selling Price is $140 (as on Deed & Aid Cards)
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Guard Plants (1a Nillis Factory Good) is misprinted. Selling Price is $140 (as on Deed & Aid Cards)
  • Factory Goods:
    • AH Version - Factory Goods are named differently from regular Goods. No Demands exist for Factory Goods.
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Factory Goods have the same name as the regular good from their Culture. Demands pay out on Factory Goods. li>
  • Commissions:
    • AH Version - All commissions are paid immediately after buy or sell and can be used to fund buying later in the turn.
    • FFG “Classic” Version - Port commissions are paid only after all buying/selling is completed for the turn. Factory Commissions are paid immediately.

GM may remove a player for deliberate cheating or abusive behavior. Always remember Rule #1.

Additional prizes of a selection of DVD videos of Sci-Fi movies will be awarded by the GM.

Thank you for playing Merchant of Venus at WBC. Have fun!