The Wandering Merchant

Players 1-6
Length 60-180 minutes
Equipment Required 1 piecepack set, the 4 seasons expansion, pen and paper to track money, a cup or bag to draw coins randomly and some tokens (glass beads) for more than 3 player games
Designer JorgeArroyo
Version 0.4
Version Date2007-07-16
License Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.5 , dual-licensed CC BY-NC-SA 4.0


This game is based on Merchant of Venus, by Richard Hamblen.

In Merchant of Venus, each player controls a spaceship and travels from planet to planet discovering cultures and buying/selling different goods. Ships can be upgraded and even replaced with faster or bigger ships. The goal is to be the first player to reach a set amount of money (Usually $2000 or $3000). For this port, I felt that a fantasy theme would work best with the piecepack suits (especially for the 4 seasons suits). In The Wandering Merchant, players drive carts pulled by horses transporting goods between small villages separated by dangerous wilderness areas. The goal is similar and players can also get more carts to be able to carry more goods as well as horses to travel faster.

This game was an entry to the GoodPortsmanship contest.


Reviews & Comments

From Ron's Contest notes:

The Wandering Merchant, a port of Merchant of Venus, by Jorge Arroyo. This game was pretty fun. One of my playtesters remarked he'd rather play it than the original. I might agree, once some basic problems are fixed. For example, the game claims to be for from one to eight players, but it can't support anywhere near that many. Every player needs a horse (Moon coin) to haul their cart, but there are only six Moon coins in the game, and some players can end up with more than one. Thus, the absolute maximum number of players is six, and even that many players will break one of the basic mechanics in the game, which is the competition for horses, since everyone will have just one horse and be unable to get another one. Another problem is with the theme of the game. The author transposed a science fiction setting of galactic trade to a fantasy setting, but while there are wizards and elves and dwarves and so on in the game, there's precious little magic. Why not set the game in the Wild West? They had carts and horses too. Summary: Has some basic problems, but will probably eventually be quite playable.

I want to add that I've mostly solved the problem with the lack of horses by using a different token (such a glass bead) to show a horse that's being used (as opposed to being carried). This way, the original coin can be returned to the cup for future use. Ah, and there is some magic, not a lot, I agree, but it lets you pass through the difficult terrain witout penalty, which is something :)

Also, I expect to update the rules as soon as I get the complete feedback from Ron, but I think the game is playable in its current form. Of course, feedback is appreciated.



BGG page:

CategoryGame RaceSimpleCategory ThemeBusinessCategory ThemeFantasyCategory SolitaireThemedCategory CategoryPortedGame