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Merchants of Amsterdam
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Merchants of Amsterdam

English language edition of Die Kaufleute von Amsterdam

List Price: $39.95
Your Price: $31.95
(20% savings!)
(Worth 3,195 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 90 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Jumbo International, Rio Grande Games

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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

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Jumbo International, Rio Grande Games

  • Year: 2001

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 90 minutes

  • Ages: 10 and up

  • Weight: 1,276 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 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

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.

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.

Very approachable Knizia
July 19, 2001

Sometimes Dr. Knizia wants to hurt our heads with games of deep strategy. Other times he intends the game to be a lighter, more frivolous experience. The Merchants of Amsterdam is in the latter camp, and happily fills out the entry-level end of his many-paths-to-victory trilogy. The other games in this informal trio are the middleweight Taj Mahal, and the heavyweight of Stephensons Rocket. Each is a heady mixture of strategies, and Merchants is easily the most approachable of the group.

The auction clock is what makes and breaks opinions of this game. Some people love the tension of guessing when is the LAST possible moment one can get in a bid, while others feel that it detracts from the game by inserting a mechanism that rewards fast reflexes.

My reflexes are pretty lousy, and I very nearly won the game. Faking out opponents is definitely a part of the game, as is convincing other players to spend more than they should for activities.

One aspect that I really like is the tension of deciding what to do with each of the three cards that are turned up on each turn. Few choices are really obvious, as a card that may be of no benefit to one player may be solid gold to someone else. Take the middling value card for yourself, or hope that the next card is exactly what you need? Tough choices abound.

As one of the most heavily themed of Dr. Knizia's games, I think that Merchants of Amsterdam has gotten something of a bum rap. From any other designer this would have been seen as a major acheivement, but due to the good doctor's fabled output, this is only seen as a lightweight in his canon.

Recommended for those wanting a good strategy game and aren't scared off by 'The Clock'.

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