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Subject: Review: Still fun after ten plays? My pros and cons rss

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Olaf Slomp
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Even though long extensive reviews seem te be the most popular reviews on BGG, I myself just don't have the time or the patience to read those.
I prefer quick overviews where I can get some insights into why this game may or may not be attractive to me.
My reviews are targeted at a similar audience, and just consist of my pros and cons coming from:
1) First impressions (before playing my first game)
2) Impressions after the first game
3) Current feelings (after at least 10 plays)

First impressions:
+ "Trading in the Mediterranean" is often mentioned as one of the most overused themes, but in truth, out of the 800 games I have played and/or bought there are only two other ones that involve this theme (Civilisation and Mare Nostrum), and both of those are actually more about conquest than about trading, so it's still fresh to me
+ I was surprised to see that a game that looked pretty complex had such a short rulebook
+ I like the look of the game; it's very "clean", no unnecessary details. Nice wooden playing pieces.

Impressions after the first game:
+ I think the use of action cards to determine your options for each turn is brilliant. I like the hand management aspect, but more than anything else I like that they avoided writing a thick rulebook by simply giving you a bunch of cards that contain all the details for the actions you can take (and each action is pretty straight forward, so the cards don't contain that much text either). This makes the game really easy to learn and to teach. Nobody has to ask "what were my options again?".
- As much as I like the cards and don't mind the theme, the names of some cards make no sense at all... An Architect makes me move colonists around?
+ It's got the streamlined play that makes it feel like a "classic", even though it's only five years old. So many games these days throw in everything but the kitchen sink. This game focuses on the core game play, and does that very well.

Current feelings (10 plays into it):
+ I have seen some people call it "multiplayer solitaire", but the advantage of that is that you can plan ahead pretty well, reducing the down time between turns considerably as everybody can do their thinking during the other players' turns (of course occasionally somebody will buy the cards you wanted, just before you get the chance to, but stuff like that doesn't happen a lot). Even with my AP-prone friends, this plays pretty quickly.
+ The game scales very well; I have played it at all player counts, and thought it worked well with all numbers.
- After ten games, it feels like there is not much to explore anymore. The number of valid strategies is very limited; it just comes down to picking some cards and aligning the cities you are building with those cards. I more and more feel like I am playing the exact same game every time, rather than exploring new options, new strategies, new ideas.
I played Scythe monthly with the same group of friends last year and we were still enjoying it. We switched to Concordia at the beginning of this year, but have all agreed we are ready to move on to something else already (Terraforming Mars next month).

End conclusion (well, for now):
I have enjoyed my first ten plays of this game, but I am not overexcited to play many more. Bit of a "been there, done that" kind of feeling.
I don't own the game (two of my friends own it, have been playing their copies) and I will not be buying it for myself. Still, I won't mind playing it if somebody else suggests it, but I won't be suggesting it myself any time soon.




If you'd like to read more of my reviews, check out Still fun after ten plays? - All reviews
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kos blaat
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Yes I agree. It's fun for about a dozen times, per map. The game has about 8 maps. If you are fed up with it please sell it to me.
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alan beaumont
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Olafslomp wrote:
I have seen some people call it "multiplayer solitaire", but the advantage of that is that you can plan ahead pretty well, reducing the down time between turns considerably as everybody can do their thinking during the other players' turns...
I've found it also pays to keep an eye on opponents' options (especially checking warehouses) and actions throughout the game. Anyone who is finding their Minerva cities being settled by others before they get to them soon realises how interaction can work!
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."
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Olaf Slomp
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kosterix wrote:
Yes I agree. It's fun for about a dozen times, per map. The game has about 8 maps. If you are fed up with it please sell it to me.


As stated: don't own it (so can't sell it)
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Olaf Slomp
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Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


Ah had googled Mercator but hadn't found that. I know the Architect let's you build a house, but it also lets you move your colonists plus architects dont build houses.
 
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Andrew B
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Olafslomp wrote:
Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


Ah had googled Mercator but hadn't found that. I know the Architect let's you build a house, but it also lets you move your colonists plus architects dont build houses.


Architects built roads and bridges back in the day too.
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Jae
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andrewbwm wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:
Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


Ah had googled Mercator but hadn't found that. I know the Architect let's you build a house, but it also lets you move your colonists plus architects dont build houses.


Architects built roads and bridges back in the day too.


Some architects will supervise the construction of their buildings to ensure they are built aesthetically correct.
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Phil Hendrickson
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Olaf, I can agree with you. Concordia is one of my top three favorite games, and I am happy to play it any time it is suggested. But I wouldn't necessarily want to play it five times back-to-back. Playing only Concordia for a while might become too much of a good thing.

But hey, that's why we have a bunch of other great games to play also!
laugh
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Jimmy Hensel
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Bagherra wrote:
andrewbwm wrote:
Olafslomp wrote:
Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


Ah had googled Mercator but hadn't found that. I know the Architect let's you build a house, but it also lets you move your colonists plus architects dont build houses.


Architects built roads and bridges back in the day too.


Some architects will supervise the construction of their buildings to ensure they are built aesthetically correct.


Architects design structures to be built and supervise the building of them. Sometimes they would be in charge of designing and building entire cities. To me, the Architect is the perfect fit of a card title for the action. Off you go Mr. Architect plan and build this new city for our empire, and take these colonists with you to help with your efforts and then manage the constructed city (or portion thereof).

I like Concordia very much. I like the simple play a card and do what it says turns. I see it staying in my collection.
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Matthew Tadyshak
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The replayability for Concordia doesn't come from the different things you can do, but the competition. If you think the strategy is getting old, are you winning most of the time?
Anyone calling the game multiplayer solitaire clearly does not know the strategy of the game. Concordia is all about seeing what others are doing and making sure you can trigger the end game when you have the high score. You must pay attention to the cards other players are buying, you can't win if you let another player monopolize one of the card types.
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Scott Douglass
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DrumPhil wrote:
Olaf, I can agree with you. Concordia is one of my top three favorite games, and I am happy to play it any time it is suggested. But I wouldn't necessarily want to play it five times back-to-back. Playing only Concordia for a while might become too much of a good thing.

But hey, that's why we have a bunch of other great games to play also!
laugh


Now you're making me want to play 5 games of Concordia back to back...
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clovis chan
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Imo the theme in Concordia is quite weak, but at least it's there. If you also like clean games, I suggest trying Hansa teutonica. Another very clean game and unlike most euros, highly interactive. While there are broad strategies, a lot comes to "play the player" and continually adjusting your strategy (in a way that is not very AP prone).
 
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Kevin Garnica
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kosterix wrote:
Yes I agree. It's fun for about a dozen times, per map. The game has about 8 maps. If you are fed up with it please sell it to me.


I think there are presently 10 maps. If you get 80 play from a game, I'll consider that money well spent.
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Olaf Slomp
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pacman88k wrote:
kosterix wrote:
Yes I agree. It's fun for about a dozen times, per map. The game has about 8 maps. If you are fed up with it please sell it to me.


I think there are presently 10 maps. If you get 80 play from a game, I'll consider that money well spent.


The base game only has two. Twenty plays out of a game before needing expansions is not that great. (And I think I already would need them now, after 10 plays)
 
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Russ Williams
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Olafslomp wrote:
The base game only has two. Twenty plays out of a game before needing expansions is not that great. (And I think I already would need them now, after 10 plays)

FWIW I certainly wouldn't need expansions after only 10 or 20 plays with the base game maps. (We've currently got 44 logged plays; roughly half were on the base game map, and we still enjoy it fine.)
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NBAfan wrote:
The replayability for Concordia doesn't come from the different things you can do, but the competition. If you think the strategy is getting old, are you winning most of the time?
Anyone calling the game multiplayer solitaire clearly does not know the strategy of the game. Concordia is all about seeing what others are doing and making sure you can trigger the end game when you have the high score. You must pay attention to the cards other players are buying, you can't win if you let another player monopolize one of the card types.


Agreed. To expand, it is a carefully dealt with competition and your own resources that will net you an edge. Most people thinking it as a 'point salad' or 'solitaire' haven't gazed at this game's depths yet. It has a good kind of complexity, where there are a few building blocks (map, resources and player actions) that will create eventful interactions between players. For me, careful management of balance between all of these aspects is where it gets its strategy, tactics and replayability. The map is only one of the factors, and mind you that resource distribution and city count are more important than the underlying graph of the map. I think that using salsa's salt and its map is enough to have unlimited replayability.

I think that the game doesn't deliver when you have players not trying to win. You need everyone on board, and if every player will do the same strategy every time, then it is the players that are at fault, not the game. I agree that at 5 players count the game is a chaotic salad, and that at 2 there is no room for much strategic diversity. But at 3 and 4 players it delivers.

So, for everyone, give it a try with the salsa expansion and:
-Use the Salsa expansion
-3 players use the Spain or Italy map.
-4 players use the Constantinople or Mediterranean map.
-A 3 player game is superior to 4 player game.
-Use the salt resource
-Do not use the tribune rewards or starting with tribune reward tiles.
-Every player needs to have played at least once. It is very different to play with confused players (every first timer is a confused player) and someone who has an idea of what they are doing.
-It gets better the more experience the players have, and the more willingness to be very competitive.
-Tips for encouraging diversity:
Every action card (minus tribune) is a viable first action.
You can focus on one or more scoring objectives
Each Minerva is a different scoring objective, and as viable as each regular objective
If everyone just grabs a different part of the map and stay there you are doing it wrong.
Your downtime between turns is very important.
Think like a business person, you need to actively look for opportunities and threats.
Action order is important, because some opportunities are gone fast, and some threats take too little time to come to fruition. You shouldn't let players freely grab 10-20 points with a single card, and you should also fight for a 10-20 points turn.
Count your points per objective, try to estimate enemy points. This will let you make better decisions.
Everyone should be fighting hard for the Consul
It is very important to have the diplomat available to copy, and you should know whether enemies have a diplomat available.
Besides the building blocks described above, and diplomat availability, you should also pay attention to card buying availability (via Senator, Consul or Diplomat), who has the prefect magnus, region harvest availability.
It is possible to pay attention to everything in a 3 player game.
While I can't pay attention to everything in a 4p game, there are still strategies available that aren't available when people pay attention to everything, and I think it would be too hard for someone to pay attention to everything in a 4p game.
You should have a strategy but your tactical action order is important. You should know what you should be doing next turn.
If after reading this you can't formulate at least 10 different strategies for a 3 player game, you are being too lazy, and your games won't have that bleeding edge competition.

You can check my review at https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/239087
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Matthew Tadyshak
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That's a nice strategy post. I'm not sure what I think of the forum tiles in Salsa. Most of my plays have been with them, and I like them. But I'm not sure if they are balanced.

This discussion brings out a distinction in what people are looking for in games. Do you enjoy seeing what you can do with a game, or seeing how to respond to other players win the game?
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Benjamin Kadish
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Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


What about Senator & Tribune?
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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Treesrule14 wrote:
Carthoris wrote:
The card names really do make sense. The Architect has that name because it's the card that allows you to build in cities. "Mercator" is Latin for "merchant."


What about Senator & Tribune?

Those are a little more recondite, I guess.

Senators seem to be generic politicians in the game, capable of assigning the allegiance of professionals represented in the other personality cards.

There were many different civil and military offices with the title "tribune" in the Roman Empire. Generally, however, the civil tribunes embodied a constraining power, allowing for such mechanisms as vetoes and removal of derelict officials. This makes a certain amount of sense, since the title devolved from the tribal heads within the federated government of the proto-Republic. As the position of a limiter, then, it suits the card.
 
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Phillip Gonzalez
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Tribune card CAN be a good first play as well because it allows you to have 3 colonists to get efficient Architect actions early.
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philgonzoles wrote:
Tribune card CAN be a good first play as well because it allows you to have 3 colonists to get efficient Architect actions early.

Huh. Never thought of that before. I often play first, and I rather like the idea of saying: "You go ahead. I'll Diplomat your Architect, with an extra Colonist for the purpose." I think I'll give it a try.
 
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kos blaat
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+ no unnecessary details? How about the scoring board?

- The number of valid strategies is very limited; it just comes down to picking some cards and aligning the cities you are building with those cards.

I would appreciate if others could comment how this changes with other maps, i get the impression there are loads of different maps, like egypt, crete, sicily, england and such. The above reasons keep me from running to the shop.. played it twice and i loved both times, btw. TIA!
 
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kosterix wrote:
The number of valid strategies is very limited; it just comes down to picking some cards and aligning the cities you are building with those cards.

I would disagree with this. What you're describing only scores for 1 of the 6 deities. It's certainly the most obvious path to score, but is by no means the only one.
 
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kos blaat
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cafin8d wrote:
kosterix wrote:
The number of valid strategies is very limited; it just comes down to picking some cards and aligning the cities you are building with those cards.

I would disagree with this. What you're describing only scores for 1 of the 6 deities. It's certainly the most obvious path to score, but is by no means the only one.

Not the only one, does not disagree with above quote, which isn't mine, I was just quoting the original poster. I have no opinion yet, but suspect that spreading out like the plague every time in Concordia could get old fast. Care to point other paths?
 
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