Gamers win in the Fantasy Flight and Stronghold “Merchant of Venus” showdown

Back in October 2011, Geek Native posted about game companies battling over Merchant of Venus. It was an awkward situation. Stronghold games signed a deal with the game’s designer and announced a new edition of Merchant of Venus. At the same time, Fantasy Flight Games announced a new edition of Merchant of Venus after signing a deal with Wizards of the Coast who bought the license rights off Avalon Hill.

The solution does not reveal every aspect in the “who actually has the rights for this game?” conflict but Fantasy Flight Games will be making the game and Stronghold will not.

There’s a catch, though, the Fantasy Flight Games new Merchant of Venus will be a double-sided board. No prizes for guessing why! That’s right; also in this edition of the Merchant of Venus will be a “classic”, Stronghold Games, version of the game. Stronghold are acting as consultants throughout the project.

Stronghold Games issued a press release which said;

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.

Despite the dispute, it does look like both parties worked hard to find a good solution. The press release goes on to say;

“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.”

The outcome is a win for gamers. The conflict introduced a risk that might result in no new edition of the Merchant of Venus but this solution gives us two for the price of one.