Resolution to the Merchants of Venus Debacle…

Just today, Stronghold Games and Fantasy Flight Games released this press announcement concerning the disputed rights to republish Merchants of Venus:

Wednesday, June 27, 2012




Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) and Stronghold Games (SG) are pleased to have reached a favorable resolution regarding the publishing of a new edition of the classic “Merchant of Venus” board game.

In the Fall of 2011, both SG and FFG announced separate plans to re-publish the classic “Merchant of Venus” board game. Today, FFG and SG jointly announce that FFG will proceed to publish its new edition of “Merchant of Venus,” while SG’s version of the game will be cancelled. SG will act as a consultant on FFG’s version of the game, bringing some of SG’s creative vision to the final release.

“This was a difficult and confusing situation,” said Christian T. Petersen, CEO of Fantasy Flight Games. “All parties involved clearly had the best intentions in mind for the game, and none sought to cause damage to the other company. After a period of discussion and discovery, I’m thrilled that all parties now have clarity on the situation. I want to express my gratitude to WOTC for their assistance in this matter, and especially to Stephen Buonocore, the President of Stronghold Games, who has been both professional and practical in untangling this issue.”

“While this was an unfortunate situation for all parties, everyone is a winner in the end,” said Stephen M. Buonocore, President of Stronghold Games. “Fantasy Flight Games and Stronghold Games have forged a great bond that will last long after this event. In the face of crisis, Christian Petersen was a true leader who worked tirelessly to resolve the matter, and I am very thankful to him for that. The WOTC team was also instrumental in getting this done smoothly, and they too should be lauded. And above all, gamers worldwide are the biggest winners, since they will have this great game back in print, published by a great company, Fantasy Flight Games.”

FFG is planning to release its new version of “Merchant of Venus” in Fall 2012. The new edition will feature both the classic game design by Richard Hamblen, as well as an updated game inspired by the original, designed by FFG’s Rob Kouba. Stronghold Games is in discussion with Richard Hamblen with regard to other game designs, both old and new ones, which they hope to publish in 2013.

From what I’d been hearing lately, this is pretty much what I thought would happen, but it’s nice to see it finally put to bed.  I personally have never played Merchants of Venus, but I definitely look forward to it finding a wide re-release, especially if some of the newer rule changes help update it a little and to bring it more up to modern boardgame standards.

What do y’all think of this announcement?


  1. This is great news. I have been waiting for this game ever since I started working on my Taipan game late last year. Now I just have to get off my lazy but and finish it. =)

  2. Chris Norwood

    I just listened to the interview with Stephen Buonocore and Christian Petersen on The Dice Tower, but it didn’t really give much more information other than a little bit of the timeline about how the whole issue unfolded.  Particularly, I’d like to know more about who actually held the original rights to Merchants of Venus [publisher WotC (from buying Avalon Hill) or designer Richard Hamblen] and therefore what sort of deal had to be struck to work things out.  

    One thing that was said actually led me to assume that WotC did not have the legal rights to the game (Christian Petersen said, “It didn’t occur to us that Wizards of the Coast may not have contacted the designer when the agreement was signed.”), so it looks like Stronghold may have actually had a stronger claim to the original rights based on getting them from the designer.  But I certainly may be reading more into that comment than was actually there.  Either way, though, FFG had already been working on it (getting art and all) for a year or so, which means they probably had a lot more to lose, and therefore were willing to do whatever it took to get the rights.

    But in the end, I’m just glad that it’s finally going to see print again.

Comments are closed.