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Merchant of Venus (MOV) Updated March 19, 2024
GM:Richard Irving (21st Year)
Event Website:N/A
Class:B – Beginning Players Welcome
Format:HWO: Heats Winners Only
Rounds:3 Heats, Semifinal, Final
Round Length:3 Hours
Advancement:Semifinal 16/20/25/36, Final 4/5/6
Prize Level:4

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:

Players will be randomly assigned to four player games in the Heats. If the number of players in a heat does not divide evenly by 4, a number of 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 Merchant of Venus as their Team Tournament game will not play in a game with another member of their own team.

Winning one game in any Heat will 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.

The GM will post a list of Semifinalists 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. If the game is not completed in the time limit, the GM will adjudicate a result.

NEW RULE added in 2022: The players who starts 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’d like to set up or play in a variant, please inform the GM before table assignments are made for the heat.


The number of qualifiers from the Heats present at the Semifinal will determine the number of games in the Semifinal:

  • 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 criteria 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 (Likely will only occur if you play & win one Heat)
    4. Dice roll
  • Alternates: There are no alternates, winners only in Heats Winners Only format
  • Table assignment for the Semifinal will be done in the same manner as in the Heats
  • All Semifinal & Final games 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
  • Semifinal winners advance to the Final.

Finals: The Final Game will be played to $3000, unless a 6 player game is used--in which case play to $2000.

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 relic 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 the event report

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.

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 mainly 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 of 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 be 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
  • 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.

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