So it looks like FFG and Stronghold have come to an agreement about the future of Merchant of Venus. The two publishers are essentially going in together, each publishing their version of the Avalon Hill classic in the same box. One side of the board will have FFG’s re-imagined version, and the other will have the game as it was originally designed by Richard Hamblin. You can check out the full song and dance over at FFG’s website.
The double-version of the game will necessitate a higher price, but I can live with that for what is likely to be the definitive version of this game. This could have been a very ugly situation, but it looks like both companies thought it best to take the high road and work together to produce what should be something that’s very special.
It also signals what could be a pattern for Fantasy Flight, who are usually associated with reprints that change way too much. Wiz-War’s release earlier this year showed that they could tweak stuff and still leave the original rules as an option. Hopefully this development marks a pattern for them, because they have great resources for bringing old classics to print.
As for Stronghold, it would seem that they are way sharper on the business end than I might have given them credit for. They aren’t some fly-by-night publisher who is looking to just publish vanity projects: they are now a force to be reckoned with. That’s especially true if, as expected, they eventually announce a reprint of another Richard Hamblen classic: Magic Realm.
Whatever the case, I’ll be anxiously awaiting the new version this fall.