Set in the ancient Roman Empire, Concordia captures a period of prosperity and peace within the nation. Players are the heads of Roman dynasties competing for the most influence in Rome, but rather than putting you in charge of a legion, the game focuses on trade networks, settling far corners of the Empire, and appeasing the gods!
Let’s dive into our Concordia review to find out more.
Brief Overview of Concordia
The Roman Empire started in Italy, but through cultural and military advancement, it rapidly expanded throughout Europe. At the height of its power, it completely surrounded the Mediterranean sea, from Spain to Greece in Europe, across the Middle East, and throughout northern Africa.
The militaristic achievements, battles, and conquests have been used countless times in every form of entertainment, but the focus on the diplomatic and economic aspects is rarely seen.
Concordia focuses exclusively on creating historical infrastructure in a classic euro game style. Designed for two to five players, a playthrough takes about 100 minutes to complete. On a complexity scale, it sits right in the middle and is a great stepping stone towards the more challenging games, while remaining fresh and replayable.
Versions & Expansions
Venus adds the goddess herself and new personality cards to expand the strategy pool. Hellas and Ionium are added as new playable maps and a new game mode that allows players to compete in teams of two.
Concordia: Aegyptus and Creta
This new expansion offers 2 new maps in Crete and the Nile valley. Each has its own bonuses and difficulties. Players get extra food during the flood season in the Nile, while in Crete players will be fighting in a much smaller area for land.
- For 2-5 Players
- 90 minute playing time
- Expansion only. Requires base game
Balearica and Cyprus focus heavily on maritime expansion. Players start with seafaring colonists and won’t see land colonists until later. There’s also a new fish market added into the mix for added bonus points.
Concordia: Britania and Germania
Britannia brings Concordia to London and Boulogne for new play options and Germania offers alternative starting positions, castles, and sea traders for more trade action.
- Rio Grande Games are English-language versions of international...
- The Britannia map offers tight play with only 23 cities in ten...
- The Germania map features 30 cities in twelve provinces again....
Concordia: Gallia & Corsica
Things get a little tight in Gallia & Corsica. Gallia plays with only 1 settler until players manage to get a foothold in a port city. Gallia causes trouble with being the tightest new map available, making expansion difficult.
- Country Of Origin: China
- Model Number: RIO541
- Item Package Dimension: 11.0" L x 2.0" W x 15.5" H
Salsa brings Byzantium and Hispania into the mix but it’s the new forum tiles that add various bonuses that make this expansion really sing.
The contents of the box are as follows:
- 1 Gameboard
- 5 Storehouse Boards
- 110 Wooden Player Pieces
- 80 Wooden Goods
- 72 Cards
- 30 City Tokens
- 24 Bonus Markers
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Quick Intro
- 1 Historical Information Booklet
There’s not a lot to be found inside the box, but what’s there is very well made. The rulebook is only a 4-page full-size pamphlet, which was initially a cause for concern, but is actually well written and contains everything there is to know about the core mechanics.
The front page cover, lore tidbits, and unnecessary illustrations have been placed in the historical information booklet. I really like this approach as it condenses the rulebook, and lets you quickly lookup a rule. Even the game setup is separated into a quick intro page to make the process more streamlined.
Popout pieces don’t tear when separated which is always important. As for the cards, the oversized text is great for reading the cards on the table, but I’m not a fan of the color scheme, especially the dominating gray-marble background.
The game board is massive and has very detailed maps on both sides. Imperium, the map of the whole empire is suitable for three to five players. Italia is a more detailed map of the Apennine Peninsula, designed for two to four players.
The addition of wooden pieces over plastic is always welcome. There’s something about the feel and weight of the wood that works well for board games. That, and the unquestionable durability. The pieces are on the simpler side in design, but aside from the mandatory squares and cylinders, they manage to illustrate the resource well enough.
How to Play Concordia
Despite being a full-fledged euro game with a lot of strategies involved, Concordia is rather easy to set up and learn. Let’s break down the most important mechanics and get a better feel of what the game is like to play.
The quick intro card does an excellent job of explaining how to set up the game board and distribute resources. Most of the space is taken up by a downscaled game board, with instructions surrounding it.
- City tokens are shuffled and randomly assigned to cities based on their characters, then flipped to display their type of goods.
- Bonus markers are assigned based on the most valuable type of goods of each territory.
- Sale cards are arranged according to their number with the highest matching the number of players, while the rest are discarded. The top 7 cards are placed in the display area of the game board.
- Players place their scoring markers at zero, one of each colonist on Rome, two of each colonist in their storage space, along with 6 predetermined goods. They’re also assigned 15 houses of their color and 7 starting cards. Five coins are given to the first player, while others get an additional coin for every place further in line.
The game flows in clockwise order, with player turn consisting of playing a card out of their hand and performing the action. Used cards go into a face-up discard pile in the order they were played. The cards placed on the game board can be bought and expand player’s options.
In Concordia, actions are represented by the personality cards. Every player starts with 7 identical cards and uses up one per turn. The brief description provided should help you get a better understanding of how the game operates.
Tribune can be used to recover used cards. If more than three cards are recovered, the player also gets one coin for every additional card. Secondary action allows the player to purchase 1 new colonist and place it into Roma from his storehouse.
Architect card gives the player a number of move actions equal to the number of colonists on the board to distribute freely among them. Land colonists can only move on brown paths, while sea colonists fare on blue. Colonists are not placed on cities, but on routes between them instead. They can pass each other on the path, but two cannot occupy the same spot at the end of the move action.
Once all movement actions have been exhausted, the player has the option to build houses in cities that are adjacent to their colonists, for a price determined by the type of good that city produces and the number of other houses in the city.
Prefect lets the player produce goods or collect a cash bonus. Production takes place in a province of players’ choice, where they have housing. The amount of coins received is determined by the number of visible coins on the bonus markers.
Colonist either add a new colonist in Roma at the cost of 1 food and 1 tool or provide 5 coins plus 1 for every colonist they have on the board.
Mercator is executed in two steps: first, 3 coins are received from the bank, then two types of goods can be traded with the bank – either bought or sold.
Diplomat allows the player to execute the action of the top discarded card of any other player.
Senator can be used to buy up to two personality cards from the game board display.
Consul lets the player buy one card from the game board display for less than it takes to buy with the Senator card.
The game is over once the last personality card is bought, or when a player builds his 15th house. The player who has completed the game-ending action gets the Concordia card worth 7 victory points. The other players play out their last turn before summing up their points.
Your First Game of Concordia
The first time you sit down to play Concordia, it’s expected that you miss out on some actions that can help you maximize your gains. You’ll get better with each session and remember the right sequence of play. I’ll share some of the easy-to-remember tips that will help you understand the game better.
Don’t play the Tribune card unless you can buy a settler. It doesn’t require a lot of resources, so it’s easily manageable. Just try to remember to keep some wheat and tools in stock. If you’re trading, trade in bulk, and get enough goods for future purchases.
When other players take the Prefect action, you’ll receive benefits as well! Try to spread out as much as possible, and look for locations with short supply to take advantage of the competition.
Eurogames have a certain rhythm to them and much like the musical chairs, you need to sense when the music is about to stop. One of the easiest ways to miss out on victory or a much higher score is getting blindsided by a sudden game-ender from another player. Keep track of what is happening around you, and either pull the trigger yourself or dump everything for maximum gains if the end seems inevitable.
Pros & Cons
- Intuitive Mechanics
- Easy to Learn
- Positive Player Interactions
So many euro games are difficult to approach because of the massive amount of information necessary to begin playing. This has been the biggest barrier for new players to get into more serious games, like Brass Birmingham or Through the Ages.
Concordia is a great choice if you’re looking for something to bring in new players. There’s not too much to remember initially and the rest of the rules will trickle in as you go. Game time can be reduced to just over an hour, so you can easily play a few consecutive rounds.
The player interactions are constant as each move can give insight into what the next action is going to be. Impeding each other’s progress happens, but not in a way that would seriously lower someone’s chances of victory. The focus is more on planning and modifying your own turns to the current situation on the board, which is great for a group with players with shorter tempers.
- Skill Ceiling isn’t High
- Questionable Box Art
In the world of board games, it’s nearly impossible to create an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master game. Concordia trades complexity at the top level to become more approachable initially. This doesn’t mean that the game isn’t fun to play by any means, but if you’re looking for a hardcore euro strategy game, you might want to check out something else.
The one thing that will never make sense to me is the process of selecting box art. With so much time invested into designing a well-functioning game, one would assume a fraction of the effort would be enough to create an enticing art.
Concordia has been passed on store shelves a lot because of the way it looks – like a cheap off-brand board game you’ll find in a supermarket next to the bootleg Monopoly. It’s a real shame as the game has so much to offer. If you’re considering getting it, remember the old saying ‘don’t judge the book by its cover’.
Concordia Review (TL;DR)
Concordia is an easy-to-grasp euro game with a lot of potential. The unique spin on the theme is refreshing and is well executed. It is an ideal bridge between new and experienced players and can be a great way to introduce more people to the genre. Once you’re up to speed, a game can be completed within an hour, making it a great addition to the board game rotation.
The initial pitch for the Concordia made me feel like I was going to dislike this game, but after I tried it out, I was positively surprised. It’s fun to play with anyone and is frequently requested by some of my more casual friends.
While I’m on Terraforming Mars and Through the Ages, I cannot emphasize the effort it takes to teach a full party how to properly play. It’s even worse when you come back to it a few weeks later, and they’ve forgotten nearly everything you’ve taught them.
With Concordia, I provide a few optimal tips here and there but for the most part, I can just sit back and play my own strategy. It’s not as difficult as some of the other games, but honestly, that’s what makes it good. If you somewhat identify yourself in my situation, then I can recommend Concordia without a doubt.
We hope you enjoyed our Concordia review! Have you tried Concordia or any of its map expansions? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this game or Euros in general. Drop a comment below.