Card play is really interesting in Concordia. Each player starts with the same set of 7 personality cards. On their turn, players play any one of their cards and resolve its effect–that’s it! Or is it?
The effects usually involve managing a bunch of resources or expanding your influence on the map. However, three of the cards make the game great:
- The Tribune enables players to take all their cards back into hand. So, once you’ve played a card you don’t get to play it again until you spend a turn getting your cards back. As I’m sure you can imagine, the timing on this card is essential. Oh and by the way, the Tribune also gives players money based on how many cards they take back: the more you wait to play the Tribune, the more money you get. Last but not least, the Tribune is also the main way of getting units onto the board. More units will speed up your expansion dramatically but is it the right time to player your Tribune? The amount of tension that emerges from this one card is almost too much to handle—almost.
- The Diplomat enables a player to copy the last card played by any other player. You really need a Merchant but you played yours two turns ago: you no longer have it in hand. It’s too early to get your cards back with the Tribune: you haven’t played enough cards to get any money and you are missing 1 wheat to employ another unit. Luckily, one of your opponents played a Merchant on their last turn: relief!
- The Senator enables players to buy new personality cards from a selection and add them to their set. Cards are queued into the selection: the front of the queue is a lot cheaper than the back. So, the longer a card stays in the queue, the cheaper it gets. This enables you to expand you entourage of personalities so they better suit your strategy. However, don’t forget that the Diplomat can copy any personality. So, make sure other players don’t profit too much from your hard earned personality cards.
Additionally, as if thinking about the possibilities and combinations of all the different personalities wasn’t enough, the victory point system is tightly woven into the cards. Each personality card is related to an ancient god. For each individual card related to a given god in their set, players score points relative to the requirements of that god. For example, Mars—the god of war—requires units. So, for each card related to Mars, you score points relative to the number of units you have. It goes without saying that if you are running a strategy that involves employing a lot of units, then you want a lot of Mars related personalities to score lots of points.
The greatness doesn’t stop there. There is always some kind of conflict hidden in the requirements for each god. For example, Jupiter requires you to build a lot of houses in cities that don’t produce brick. So, if you are going for Jupiter, why ever would you build on a city that produces brick? Well to build a house that isn’t in a brick producing city, you need brick! This forces players to diversify their strategies. Also, at some point during the game players start buying cards just for the points; providing a satisfying switch in gear once the economical engines start running.
One thing I don’t like is that a lot of the cards players can buy are no different from the ones they have from the start. I think the base cards should remain base cards. The Merchant is an exception: you get 2 extra money from the Merchant cards you buy. Just that small difference is enough to add a lot of excitement because of the Diplomat. While you are playing, you are always on the lookout for the big merchant so you can copy it. I think it’s a shame the other base cards you can buy don’t give the same sort of small bonus. When it’s getting to the end of the game and you are still buying the same old Prefect card, it kind of dulls the game down.However, this is only a minor quibble.
Give Concordia a try if you get a chance. Let me know what you think of it.