Merchants of Amsterdam is another economic colonization game where players bid for resources in an effort to make the most money.
It sounds like any one of a number of games but with a dutch theme. What Reiner Knizia has done though is to create a three part system where players compete for three different types of control in five different resources held in four city sections.
This system creates a resource management dilemia which would perplex the Harvard School of business management and nicely creates the complexity which led to the collapse of the Dutch trading empire.
The game also has two phases one of expansion and another of contraction which both require careful management to maximize profits.
All this said the most interesting thing about this game is the bidding method. Unlike most bidding games where players bid up in this game they bid down in a dutch auction. This is done thorugh the use of a timer which counts down until players stop it, thus winning the bid.
The timer though is the games greatest flaw. While the rest of the game is beautifully done with easy to reconize designs on an easy to use board, the timer is a cheap plastic clock which often fails to count down at a steady or consistant rate. The timer is very loud and so cheap it will not survive consistant play.
Thus while the game is neat and lots of fun to play but the timer is so bad it ruins Renier's great product