Slight posting break for my bronchitis. How sick was I? Sick enough for a week break, no joke.
In that time, our ill gotten gains from the FFG clearance sale showed up, and the first to hit table is Merchant of Venus. Inasmuch as “ameritrash” is a word that can be used to describe something, it would describe this game. There’s a mountain of tokens, there’s not only movement but dice driven movement, and even a little control board where you can keep track of your spaceship’s stats.
We’re not kidding about tokens. There’s 14 races, each with 3 race tokens, 4+ goods tokens, 2+ tech upgrades, a stack of passengers, a stack of pirates and asteroids, giant stack of money, optional market demand tokens, and that’s before the cards.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: since this is a remake of an older board game, FFG included free of charge the original game in full, with extra tokens to play that version if you so desire. Which we didn’t, we went with the new version in our playthrough.
The only exception to this is ameri-ness is there’s an element of dice placement, but since the amount of upgrades you can place dice into is so small, it’s more of an optional activation than a hard choice most of the time.
So how is it? Pretty simple all considered: buy goods, then sell them somewhere else. It’s not really possible to lose money and even a broke merchant can still deliver passengers for cash, so the game is basically a race for most money without too much stress. It’s also not a very player-interacty, other than in grabbing passengers and, in 4 player games, possibly running out of a good.
All of it makes a pretty low stress game. Roll dice, go bounce around space, sell stuff, collect tokens and cards. It’s fun, but not a very deep experience. The no stress sci-fi version of Arkham Horror.