Be sure and check out the graphic upgrade for Merchants of Venus on BGG. It is stunning and solves the problems of tiny components. I definitely want to make that some day.
Well, I guess you're now ready for Duck Dealer, Susan. The latest Splotter game is supposed to be heavily inspired by Merchant of Venus. Of course, it's just as expensive and, possibly, just as hard to find as the old AH game. Maybe Chapel snarfed a copy.
I'm going to make me an updated set... that might help some of my "borderline" feelings about MoV, 'cuz I know it's still well-respected.
Vat about Trendy? It is always in fashion.
Trust me - you can skip Duck Dealer. MoV is an infinitely better game. Duck Dealer _attempts_ some very interesting things, but fails across multiple dimensions.
Merchant of Venus is a game that has just kept growing on me with further play; it took nearly a decade to reach a 10 rating for me, and a bit longer to hit my top 10, but it's solidly in place there now and a regular nickel. We've managed to get it to the table many times at recent Gulf Games - Warren & Ted are also fans - so definitely watch for it next time you guys make it...