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      Designer's Notes
Merchant Adventurer wasn't originally meant to be a video game. But I decided that I
wanted to create a video game version with more complexity and features than the
tabletop game. I also wanted to create a game less complicated than Colonial Aeon
while developing that game. Both games share the same look and feel, but the aesthetics
of Merchant Adventurer were originally imagined for Colonial Aeon.
The game begins in 982 CE, when Erik the Red was banished from Iceland for 3 years.
He then sailed to Greenland in hopes of eventual commercial success, though he was not
the first to have discovered it. The game ends after 1601, early in the next year the
Dutch East India Company was born along with a new era in business and trade.
During most of the era that Merchant Adventurer takes place in, joint-stock companies
and commercial corporations were a very rare thing. Some exceptions did exist, most
notably the Bazacle Milling Company of Toulouse. And though by the last half of the
16th century joint-stock companies started to become more common, they were still not
the norm. However, I still chose to structure commercial organizations in this fashion.
In those times networks of partnerships were often the primary method of business, and
shares were often issued by individual expeditions or for individual properties, such as
ships and mines. Since Merchant Adventurer is played on such a large scale, and there is
more to focus on in the game besides commercial obligations, associations are meant to
represent and streamline all of these socioeconomic phenomena so that players can better
concentrate on economic strategies efficiently, rather than spend too much energy
incessantly micromanaging social and business affairs. Those are excellent gaming
topics as well, however, they are best suited for another type of game. I also chose not to
allow associations to switch hands to represent the family ties in many business back
then. In addition to this, automatic dividends are paid to shareholders in certain
circumstances to prevent associations from accumulating too much capital, without going
out of their way to do so. This simulates the temporary nature of most commercial
contracts in the pre-modern business world, which usually resulted in payouts of revenue
from a particular endeavour as soon as it was available.

During the late medieval age and renaissance Europe was ruled by a patchwork of
plutocratic republics and monarchies. In either case the nobles were usually a strong
factor in governance. Rather than delve into the particulars of these sociopolitical
elements, I chose financial influence as a simple method to determine local political
power. The reason for this is because I meant for the political aspect of this game to be
a secondary tool for player's to utilize for their business strategies, rather than a
detailed subject. Sacrificing one's own coins for political influence to gain a strategic
edge in a particular region simulates the balance of power across both the republics and
monarchies quite well. This, coupled with the potential for the military domination of
these same regions provides a dynamic atmosphere of alternative strategies in a
predominately economic game.
I wanted to give players the ability to control non-European entities in this game, unlike
in the tabletop game. This is another idea taken from the game Colonial Aeon, though the
depth of non-European entities in this game is even more limited than it is in Colonial
Aeon. In both games players aren't able to manage individual non-European commercial
organizations. This is covered in other games. For example, in Dynastic Investors players
are able to control private businesses in China during the Song Dynasty. The mechanics
of non-European entities in Merchant Adventurer and Colonial Aeon are more like a
traditional strategy game, where 1 player controls an entire civilization. And these
civilizations are dynamically tied into the economy. They aren't meant to explore the
details of non-European civilizations of the time, but meant to add another dimension
of strategic complexity to the game. They offer other ways to manipulate the game, both
economically and militaristically.

~development begins with Adnecto Technologies
~first edition published