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Subject: What can you gamers expect from Concordia? rss

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Walther Gerdts
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What can you gamers expect from Concordia?

Cards replace the rondel
Many players know me for my rondel games. In Concordia you choose your actions with cards. It’s a very easy system: Each time when it is your turn, you play one of your cards from your hand to your personal discard pile and execute the related action. Each player starts with the same 7 cards and has the choice between 6 different actions (you start with 2 PREFECTS). Among others, there is the TRIBUNE that lets you to take back your discarded cards into your hand again, and there is the SENATOR that allows you to purchase additional cards. As easy as it is, this system provides interesting choices: Which cards do you play, and in what order do you do it? As the choices get fewer with each turn, you also have to decide when to take back the played cards. And finally, you should purchase additional cards: Which cards do you need, and at what time do you buy them? With a rondel, the decision tree is the same for each player. With cards that you can purchase, you build your very own personal decision tree. The cards, on sale inside the display area on the game board, have a price that is following the rules of supply and demand: The longer cards are there, the cheaper they become. This makes for another tough choice: you should purchase a personality card that you really need, before it becomes so cheap that it is snagged away by your opponent. On the other hand, you should not spend your valuable resources too early on too many cards, because you also need your goods to build up an economic empire.

Simple rules make a deep game
The basic mechanism is simple: play one card and execute its action. The rules are short: only 4 pages, including illustrated examples. But the game is nonetheless highly variable and quite complex: please read the following explanations!

The economic system
Players represent a Roman dynasty, spreading out with colonists from ROMA into the numerous cities of the Empire. There they settle down in order to gather the following resources: bricks, food, tools, wine, and cloth. In order to move your colonists and build houses in cities, you play the ARCHITECT. In order to let them produce, you play the PREFECT and choose, which of the 12 provinces shall produce. If a province produces, all houses inside the province regardless of their owner get 1 unit of their goods. In order to secure that the same provinces do not produce over and over, there is an interesting system of incentives implemented: If a province produces, its bonus marker is flipped and prohibits further production for the time being. But instead of producing, you may alternatively use a PREFECT to flip all bonus markers back again, and the cash bonus you get for this specific action depends on the coins depicted on the flipped markers. The more often players produce, the more bonus markers are flipped, and the more attractive it becomes not to produce but to collect some cash instead. On the other hand, each time you let a province produce you get a certain bonus of goods, depending on the economic power of the province, which may it make attractive to produce even there were you do not own houses at all. This system of production basically also influences your investment decisions: Of course you should try to build in provinces that are likely to produce earlier and more often than others, and not in provinces which are unlikely to produce at all. And if you invest in a province where another player is already heavily engaged, it is very likely that the other player will do the production action for that province, and you do not have to spend a card to gather its resources. Well, building houses where other players are already there is of course more expensive than being the first in a city.

The storehouse
Each player has a storehouse with a limited number of storage spaces, and each space can take only 1 unit of goods. If the storehouse is full, you cannot receive any more goods. You can use the 5 different resources either by purchasing additional personality cards (enhancing your decision tree), or by building more houses (enhancing your economic power), or by placing more colonists (enhancing your flexibility on the board). With each colonist you place on the board, you also gain one more storage space for goods in your storehouse. As space is limited, you have to plan ahead what resources to store. The MERCATOR allows you to trade goods with the bank at fixed prices, but you can only trade 2 types of goods per turn. Selling goods will not only give you empty storage spaces, but also give you money, which, in addition to goods, is desperately needed to build more houses.

Player interaction
You may think that Concordia is a peaceful affair because no wars are waged. This is true, but at the same time the game is highly competitive. Players compete for the personality cards on sale (which are limited), they compete for the building sites on the board (houses added to already existing ones cost considerably more), and they can, although this often happens unintentionally with their colonists, block movement possibilities on the map for others. Almost every card means interaction: If you produce in this province, player A as well gets resources, if you purchase that card, it is not only taken away from others but also lowers the price for other cards, if you move your colonist here, player B cannot go there, if you recover your cards into your hand, the other players must be aware that you can build houses again, etc. It is always important to watch your opponents and to consider what they can do at the moment. And last but not least there is a DIPLOMAT card that allows you to use the action recently executed by another player once again for your own purpose.

Variability
I can promise you: Every game of CONCORDIA is different. There are zillions of combinations how these 30 city tokens of 5 different types could be distributed on the game board, which is done randomly during the setup. There are also too many possibilities about the order in which new personality cards come into the game. Therefore each game requires a different approach. There are many decisions that players have to take, which means that variation alone from that is inevitable. Some games end when a player runs out of houses, other games end when the bank runs out of cards. And finally you can choose between two boards: IMPERIUM and ITALIA.

Build your own VP-engine
Each personality card is assigned to a certain ancient divinity that rewards you with Victory Points (VP). Take the PREFECT as an example: As an action, he lets a selected province produce. But at the same time he is assigned to SATURNUS, who awards your colonization efforts with 1 VP per province you have built inside. All cards count for VPs in different manners: Cash and value of stored goods, number of cities, number of provinces, number of different types of goods you produce, number of colonists on the board, and number of cities of a certain type you are hopefully specialized in. As the cards you purchase are different from the cards the other players purchase, each player has an incentive to follow a different strategy. But whatever strategy you pursue: you must colonize and build some houses otherwise you cannot win. Sometimes a player wins with many cards and fewer houses, and at other times a player wins the other way round.

On the whole, Concordia can be played fast due to its short individual turns, but at the same time always requires decisions. You should develop a strategy, but should as well be prepared to adapt it to new situations. Never forget the twin character of the personality cards, which give you actions and VPs at the same time, this can be a real challenge!

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Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro
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Had the opportunity to playtest it early this year and the game is great, simple but clever rules that result in a dense, rich strategic game. Another hit, for sure. The deck (hand) building mechanic is really smooth and works really well - Like a Swiss Rondel
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Jeff Patino
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Thanks for the concise, but nicely detailed explanation of the game and it's mechanisms. You have piqued my interest and cannot wait to learn how to obtain this game!
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Bruno Valerio
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Great general overview...

when can we expect to have the rules available?
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Filip Cam
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Sounds great! Especially the decision tree thing. Please don't sell out at Essen before I get there on Friday

I think I'll describe this as "Puerto Rico on a map" to get it on the table
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Marco Fregoso

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I just expect the best 2013 game. From you, just this, Mac.
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Bartosz Popow
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Wow, great overview! On the wantlist it comes.
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Stefaan Henderickx
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The theme and the good experiences with your other games (Imperial 2030, Hamburgum and Navegador) put this on my wishlist, this summary put it higher. Thanks.
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Caleb
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I've just gotten into Imperial 2030 and find it a fascinating game. This sounds even more like something I would enjoy - looking forward to having this hit the US (I think I'll add it to my Christmas wishlist).
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Arne
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Sentieiro wrote:
Had the opportunity to playtest it early this year and the game is great, simple but clever rules that result in a dense, rich strategic game. Another hit, for sure. The deck (hand) building mechanic is really smooth and works really well - Like a Swiss Rondel


+1

I playtested the game about a year ago, and it was a hit with our group! (even though Mac won and I lost badly in a game of four)
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Sheldon
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Thanks a lot for the update, this is easily my most anticipated game right now.

The idea of roll selection-deck building sounds really cool, seems like there's a bit of Princes of Machu Picchu DNA in there too the way the provinces work.
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John Brownsill
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polkeroo wrote:
seems like there's a bit of Princes of Machu Picchu DNA in there too


For a minute there you almost managed to put me off it
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Matt Tonks
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Pogle wrote:

For a minute there you almost managed to put me off it


Ditto. PoMP seems to be the odd one out of MacG's designs.

Concordia is looking good though
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Hardy
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The Tribune is new is it?
When playing the prototype in July, you just took back your cards without playing a card to do this, if I remember it right.
I would be interested if any more changes have been done to the prototyp version I know...
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Filip Cam
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actaion wrote:
The Tribune is new is it?
When playing the prototype in July, you just took back your cards without playing a card to do this

Assuming that you can take back the Tribune immediately when you play it, so that you always have it in your hand, this isn't a change in gameplay.
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Hardy
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krommenaas wrote:
actaion wrote:
The Tribune is new is it?
When playing the prototype in July, you just took back your cards without playing a card to do this

Assuming that you can take back the Tribune immediately when you play it, so that you always have it in your hand, this isn't a change in gameplay.


You would be right normally, but as I just read in the newly uploaded english rules, the Tribune lets you also buils one new colonist, so there is a significant change.
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Jimmy Okolica
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Interesting. Just red the rules. This is definitely now in my Top 5 Anticipated Essen games. With the variable setup, this may end up having more replayability than Navegador (which I thought was a great game but felt samey after a while).

Is it getting U.S. distribution?
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Adverb
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Interesting. Just red the rules. This is definitely now in my Top 5 Anticipated Essen games. With the variable setup, this may end up having more replayability than Navegador (which I thought was a great game but felt samey after a while).

Is it getting U.S. distribution?

I think I read in another thread that Rio Grande will be distributing it.

edit: linky

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Ben
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actaion wrote:
The Tribune is new is it?
When playing the prototype in July, you just took back your cards without playing a card to do this, if I remember it right.


Did it still count as an action? That would also be a significant change.
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Damien Seb. ●leoskyangel●
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I play games not to win, it's the gathering that's important - Thanks for the tip Cate108!
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What an interesting read. As usual I'm blown away with this preview. I've waited for this since last year and I need another Mac Gerdts fix. Hopefully this one plays well with two.
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Francesco Gasparetti
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Concordia seems to be another elegant and deep game. Must buy!

PS Any news about the release date of Antike's new edition?
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Andy Andersen
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dtroy_de_rapcore wrote:
Hopefully this one plays well with two.


Thoughts, anyone?
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Hardy
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Orangemoose wrote:
dtroy_de_rapcore wrote:
Hopefully this one plays well with two.


Thoughts, anyone?


Haven't tried, but think it will be ok with 2.
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Hardy
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gapsxever wrote:

PS Any news about the release date of Antike's new edition?


February 2014 is targeted.
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Filip Cam
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I've only played 3p so far, but I solo'd the beginning of a 2p game to learn the game and it works also. The game rewards spreading out over the map so you're going to encounter each other anyway. I suspect the game will be at its best with 4 and 5 on the big map, but 2 will still offer much the same experience.
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