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Merchants of Amsterdam
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Merchants of Amsterdam

English language edition of Die Kaufleute von Amsterdam

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Jumbo International

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Product Description

In the year 1600, Amsterdam was a city of 50,000 and a bright future. Trade flourished and many new buildings graced the harbor. Enterprising Dutch merchants traveled to the Americas, Africa, and the Orient in search of the new commodities valued at home. This period of history is the basis for this game. The players take the roles of the powerful Merchant families of that time. The players invest in the commodity market, build warehouses in Amsterdam, and open trade offices in the colonies as they compete to become the most successful merchant in Amsterdam and win the game.

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001
Deutscher Spiele Preis
10th place, 2000

Product Information


  • game board
  • auction clock
  • 120 game tiles (in 5 colors, 24 per player)
  • 84 cards
  • 3 discs (mayor, auction clock, bucket with cards)
  • large pawn (used as a time marker)
  • play money (20 x 10,000, 20 x 20,000, 15 x 50,000, 30 x 100,000 and 12 x 500,000 florins)
  • 5 credit markers
  • rules booklet

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 3.6 in 10 reviews

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A Unique Auction Game
January 08, 2008

Very well-themed, for a Knizia game! In a short period of time, it has become not only my favourite area control game, but also my fave auction game! No analysis paralysis here, folks, during the bidding...mind you there's no bidding! When the auction clock has ticked to a price LOW enough for your liking, hit the clock and pay! The problem is: what if Ned hits it before I do? Thus, a fair bit of psychological brinksmanship is in these Dutch auctions.

Simple, yet subtle -- a nice game
January 03, 2007

I initially bought this game due to my fondness for things Dutch and the interesting auction mechanism. I was concerned that it might be a little too light for the guys in my gaming group. Well, they liked it!

The auction is a nice touch. And psyching someone out with a fake jab at the clock adds tension and fun.

The scoring requires a little explanation and review, but it is not difficult. It takes about half a game to understand the implications of your choices. And it catches you off guard when that first payday comes! You were expecting time to develop your strategy a little, but no! You need to come out of the gate quickly to get a leading position and a big payout.

While it is true that the first player will sometimes have an extra marker during payout, an attempt is made to equalize this by giving the strongest free placement (during setup) to the last player. And our games have been close, so I do not see any reason to worry about an unfair advantage.

The Dutch colonial theme is not deeply integrated, but it does make for an attractive board and add a nice flavor to the mechanics.

Overall, this is a good game that will be enjoyed for its unique characteristics.

This is a Knizia game?
December 14, 2003

I like this game. I only bought it because it was in the bargain bin of my local game store. I wasn't expecting much, it seemed like a typical, dry Knizia game. Surpise! Merchants of Amsterdam is quite non-Knizia-esque (to coin a phrase). The theme doesn't feel 'pasted on', it works very well with the mechanics of the game. Also, in non-Knizia-esque fashion the game is not only challenging, but fun.

For those of you with too little time to read Stuart Daggar's review from Counter magazine printed above, let me use one of his lines. '...the object is to be richest, not to have the biggest empire.' Keep that in mind, and you will enjoy the game more than if you try to crush your opponents. If your goal is to crush, you will lose. You get paid if you lead a category, it doesn't matter by how much. The second place player gets paid nearly as much, regardless of how far back they are.

There are some good reviews of the game mechanics on this site, so let me only add that a game lasts about 1-1 1/2 hours. Final scores are generally quite close, it can be difficult to know who is winning as the game winds down. You can't do everything you want to do in Merchants of Amsterdam, which leads to some tough choices. Play is simple, and the clock causes tension between players. Unlike some other reviewers I have had no problems with the Dutch Auction Clock, it works quite well, thank you. Did I mention that the game is simply fun?

Merchants of Amsterdam may not be everyone's cup of tea, but its mine. A fine game.

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