4049: The galaxy hums with prosperity and peace two millennia after the dawn of space travel. But as mankind and its neighbors colonized the stars, the burgeoning need for resources was apparent. One by one, new geological discoveries revolutionized terraform, construction and energy technology. The sub-temperature properties of the mineral Ice-9 allowed life-giving water to flow on uninhabitable planets. Crystallized Cobalt was accidentally found to be incredibly strong, resistant to extreme pressure. And a single chunk of Deuterium could power a sprawling metropolis for a month!
As a plucky entrepreneur you must explore the edges of space searching for precious minerals. Will you buy the fastest ship in the sector or hire the best pilot in the galaxy? Purchase the latest state-of-the-art gadgets, invest in planetary refineries, or pay off your rising debt? The cargo you haul could be worth fortune, so grab your helmet and suit up! The cosmos and a mountain of credits call!
In Starship Merchants, each player runs a fledgling corporation looking to stake a claim in the lucrative mining business. Player will buy starships, explore the galaxy and deliver cargo for interstellar credits, all the while expanding their operations.
Starting at the shipyard and ending at the dock, players will move clockwise around the four quadrants on the board to complete an entire Business Cycle. During each turn, a player either performs one action at the current quadrant or advances to the next, performing an action there. As players take actions or advance they spread apart across all four quadrants while completing individual Business Cycles.
The Shipyard is where you can buy a speedy scout or a heavy load bearing tug. The Market is where Gear, Pilots, Refineries, and claims can be purchased. In the belt, starships are run by spending energy points to explore, pickup mines, or fly to another destination. The final quadrant is the Dock where delivered cargo is traded for credits.
A player that ends his turn at the Dock with 100+ credits can declare the Final Run, ending the game. But after completing the Final Run, the player with the most credits wins!