Date: Sat, 25 Nov 95 09:49 GMT
From: email@example.com (Kevin Jacklin)
Subject: Medici vs Mercator
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jonathan ?)
Thanks for your note. [You wrote:]
I read your review of Medici - although I haven't played the game. I understand that it's very similar to one of the games in the "New Games In Ancient Rome" series? Are you familiar with this, and can you tell me what are the differences? I am thinking of getting "...Ancient Rome", and if I can play with new improved rules, then so much the better.
A good question. The basics of Medici and Mercator (from the New Games in Old Rome set) are very similar. But since they are both by Reiner Knizia then I don't suppose that is surprising! Medici was published *after* Mercator, in fact.
I think that I would call Medici a refinement (probably better balanced) of Mercator. For example, Medici has card values of 0-5 rather than 1-10, is for 3-6 players rather than 3-7. The biggest difference is in the scoring. In Medici the game lasts three rounds, and bonuses are scored for having 'monopolies' in certain goods over those rounds; Mercator can last just a single round and only scores for actual goods traded. Thus in Medici a player can opt to go for the monopoly scores over a series of rounds, rather than rushing ahead for pure profit on one round.
The bidding mechanisms are also different. Medici uses the 'once round' principle, Mercator 'in the fist' or 'free-for-all' (if you are familiar with Modern Art, then you'll know all three). But of course, there's nothing stopping you choosing your own bidding rules (or any others for that matter) to see how things work out.
If you are into 'look and feel', then Medici is way ahead of Mercator, but that's because it is only one game, whereas Mercator has to share its box and components with 13 other games.
As for price, you should be able to get Medici for around UKP12 (USD20), New Games for UKP35 (USD50). I would recommend both!
Finally, you may be interested to know that a full English language official edition of the New Games in Old Rome rulebook (132 pages) with original artwork and new cover will be published by the end of the year. This will be a very limited edition. You may want to hold off buying Mercator until then!
Kevin W Jacklin