Merchant of Venus is a board game of interstellar commerce formerly produced by Avalon Hill before Hasbro gobbled up the company and discontinued most of its games. You can still find it in a lot of game stores, though.

Merchant of Venus is kinda like Monopoly, only in space. With aliens. And laser beams. And an unrelenting race of pure evil that is slowly taking over the galaxy. Okay, so maybe it's not that much like Monopoly, but it sure is fun.

Players control a merchant trying to make the most profit in the shortest time. As the players explore the uncharted parts of the galaxy, they discover new civilizations to trade with and perhaps even long lost alien technologies of incredible power. The game moves at an exciting pace, because every turn players spend lost or not carrying cargo to a destination means profits are going to the other players.

As players grow richer they can upgrade their ship, invest in space stations, build fortresses to protect their trade route, or add weapons to their ship to battle it out with their opponents, but must be carefull to balance these investments with lucrative trade runs to keep the cash flowing in.

Overall, Merchant of Venus is a fun and challenging, but easy to learn strategy game that doesn't take too long to play. Just about the only thing I don't like about it is the lame pun for a title.

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