Merchant of Venus

The galaxy is bursting with opportunities for savvy space traders to exploit—discover new alien cultures and learn where you can get rich …

A revamp of the 1988 original, Merchant of Venus had a rocky birth when it was announced that both Fantasy Flight Games and Stronghold Games were releasing the game—and they both thought they had the licence! Thankfully everything was resolved without rancour, and gamers were the winners—this new game contains both the original game and a new enhanced version. Wonderful, fiddly, interstellar fun with lots of cardboard bits; trading, fighting pirates, and discovering new races.

Also available for this game is the first set of foamcore box insert plans made available on the EOG. It’s a relatively complex build that not only stores all the components, but comes apart into a set of trays that hold them during the game. The best feature of the design are the counter trays that sit against the Market edge of the board, organising all the tokens applicable to each culture

Update Log

Rules Summary & Reference

Date Version Changelog
Aug 2015 2 Racial Reference Chart by Christopher Colbourne added
Jun 2015 1.1 Improvements throughout; added B&W version
Apr 2013 1 Original release

Foamcore insert plans

Date Version Changelog
Jan 2014 1.2 Update to dice well width in counter tray B
Jul 2013 1.1 Update to card tray height
Jun 2013 1 Original release


  • Mike says:

    This a lovely looking game, played this a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Planning to play this coming bank holiday. These reference sheets are excellent.

  • Universal Head says:

    Yes, I finally got it to the table recently and had a great time. I have a custom-designed foamcore insert for the box that doubles as a set of counter holders during gameplay; I’ll try to get the plans online soon!

  • Mike says:

    Played this again over the weekend, had only played with two players before. The three player game was a bit longer but more interesting, the races get revealed a lot quicker allowing for plenty of buying and selling. Managed to get 4 passengers in my stasis tank!

  • Apocrypha says:

    Wow, the foamcore plans are awesome. You forgot step 9, though. Profit! 😉

  • Adam says:

    Looks like there may be a measurement that’s off. Page 6 3. Counter tray B. You have 11mm listed as the gap for the channel that the dice go in. But the dice that come with the game are 15mm. So will not fit into this slot. Your math seems to be correct though, so I don’t think it is a problem with the plans.

    Is it possible that the size of the dice are different now?

  • Adam says:

    I made some adjustments to account for the 15mm dice. I changed the 11mm measurement to 16, the 77mm to 72 & the 45mm to 40.

    Again, this is on page 6. 3. Counter tray B

  • spoonofmilk says:

    Great plans, thanks so much for taking the time to create and share this! Just one question to a newbie… what thickness is the foamcore? Looks like about 10mm, but I wanted to make sure before committing to it!

    Much thanks

      • spoonofmilk says:

        Weird… I started putting it all together last night. I made the main box, no problem, though two of the sides needed a little more trimmed off than the measurements suggested. That was fine though… I then cut out all the pieces for the first token tray. After glueing and pinning the sides I thought I would just quickly check that it sits in the main box as it should and it was wildly off – I had to trim about 5mm off each side to make it fit. After doing that the tokens no longer sit as they should within the tray, so I binned the lot.

        No idea what I did wrong, as I was super-anal about making sure the measurements were all correct!

        • Sorry mate, it’s impossible for me to say from here, though I know that it has been made successfully a few times by other people I know of. Because there are so many compartments however, this is larger room for error in this one than more straightforward designs. It may help to pin things together before gluing, as there does have to be a bit of careful tweaking and checking when you build those trays.

          Nothing should be 5mm out though.

          • spoonofmilk says:

            Yeah, no worries… I’ve clearly done something weird, but I scrapped the lot and just kept the main box for now. Honestly, it was miles out and I’ve no idea why! I was triple checking the measurements before cutting, was glueing and pinning the panels as recommended…. I think I’m just lousy at this kind of thing!

  • Don’t worry, it just takes a bit of practice and then you’ll be a pro – I’ve gone through a lot of mis-measured bits of foamcore in my time!

  • Matt Price says:

    Your game aid is, as to be expected, AWESOME. I have a few comments for ya…
    1. Under the movement phase, set speed, I believe you may never roll more than *4* dice (rather than 3) regardless of what cool combos your ship may include.
    2. Under “buying racial technologies” you might want to clarify that “there are 4 *types (or categories?) of* racial technologies”
    3. Under “Special Techs”, I think the word “facedown” might be in the wrong place for the “throttle boost” tech.
    4. You should clarify that to build a merchant spaceport in the asteroid system, you must be on a neutral spaceport, but your merchant spaceport is not built there, it’s built on the orbit space connected by three contiguous green lines. You move there, then you place the asteroid on the neutral spaceport.

    Thanks a ton for these things!

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