Concordia is a colonization board game set in ancient Rome. Ryan runs down how to play in this handy video:
(click to view transcript)

Hi! It’s Ryan from Nights Around a Table, and this is Concordia, a deck-building strategy game set in ancient Rome, starring Fran Drescher from TV’s The Nanny. Let me show you how to play. In Concordia, you play a Roman dynasty sending your colonists around the empire to build houses and trade goods, earning favour from the gods along the way. There’s a big map in the centre of the table. This is a double-sided game board. Empirium is recommended for 3-5 players, while Italia, on the flip side, has a tighter layout, and it’s recommended for 2-4 players. So we’re gonna go with Italia for this demo. Every player gets a storehouse with 10 slots where you store your… Muppets – no – where you store your 2 land colonists, and 2 sea colonists. Your remaining land and sea colonists start here, in Roma! Everyone else starts in-a Roma too! You also get a few resources to start the game: 2 food, 1 cloth, 1 wine, 1 brick, and 1 tool. The remaining 2 slots are empty. The arrangement of your stuff doesn’t matter. It could look like this, or this, or like this. You’ve also got 15 houses, and some sestertii – well that’s money. You’re trying to move your colonists around the Roman empire, building your houses in various cities, and buying and selling goods in order to do that faster and better than anyone else. Everyone has an identical hand of 7 Personality Cards, and each card does something different. On your turn, you play one card from your hand, and perform its actions. Up here at the top of the board is a deck of additional Personality Cards that cycles through this row. You can buy these cards throughout the game. Some of them are identical to the ones you start with, and some are similar but slightly more powerful, and some can only be found in this row. The end of the game is triggered when someone’s built all 15 of their houses, or buys the last Personality Card from this row. That player gets the Concordia card, which is worth 7 points. Everyone else gets one more turn, and then you count up the victory points. So how do you earn victory points? Well, we’re gonna come back to that later. All you really need to know is that in Concordia, there are a number of scoring buckets, and any action you take with these personality cards advances your standing in one of those buckets. But since the thrust of the game is these personality cards, let’s find out what you can do with them. Play the Architect card to move your colonists around the board. The number of movement points you get is equal to the number of colonists you have on the board. So, at the beginning of the game, you have 2 colonists. Well, that’s 2 movement points. This means you can move this guy once and this guy once, or you can move this guy twice, or you can move this guy twice. Later in the game, you might have all 6 of your colonists on the board. You can either move everybody 1 time, or you can move one colonists 6 times, or you can distribute those 6 movement points to your different colonists as you see fit. The very first time a colonist moves, you need to spend 1 movement point to leave its starting city. From there, colonists travel on the lines between cities, passing through any cities that they come across. Land colonists travel on brown lines, while sea colonists travel on blue lines. You can pass through a line that has another colonist on it, but you can’t end your movement there. It’s 1 colonist per line, at a max. After you’ve finished moving, the Architect gives you a chance to build houses. When your colonist comes to rest, it’ll have access to any cities along that line. This land colonist can build in these cities, while this sea colonist can build in these ones. You can build as many houses as you can afford. You have a sort of recipe card that lists the cost of building your house in a given city. Brick cities cost 1 food and 1 sestertius. Every other city needs 1 brick, plus a good that matches the city, and a certain amount of cash. If 1 or more of your opponents has already built a house in that city, your cost is multiplied by the number of the house that you put down. Ordinarily, building your blue house in this tool city would cost 3 sestertii, but these two jerks are already here! Since you’re building the third house, your cost is 3 TIMES 3. NINE sestertii. (Talk about gentrification!) The goods you pay remain the same. You can’t build more than one house in a single city, and you can’t build ANY houses in the starting city, Roma. You can only build after you’ve finished moving your colonists. Playing the Prefect card is one way to get more goods. The map is split up into coloured provinces. There’s a grid of goods tiles here, one for each province. The prefect card allows you to choose one of these provinces where someone has at least one house – it doesn’t even have to be YOUR house – and you flip the tile over. When you do that, YOU get the good that’s on the tile. Now, any city in that province with a house on it generates a good for its owner. So here in Italia, the red player gets 1 wine from this city, and 1 food from this city, while the green player gets 1 food from this city. If all the slots in your storehouse are full when you receive goods, you can’t take them. You’re not allowed to clear room in your storehouse, either. You’re kind of stuck with what’s there. If you get a big pile of stuff, and you only have room to store some of it, you DO get to pick and choose what to keep, and what to throw away. Each slot in your storehouse can hold a single unit of a good. You can’t stack goods by their type. On the reverse side of these tiles, you’ll see coins. When you play the Prefect card, instead of flipping over a tile and taking a good, you can decide to take the cash. You flip all the coin tiles back to their goods side, and rrrrake in the dough! When you play the Mercator card, you get 3 sestertii! Optionally, you can buy or sell 2 TYPES of goods. The values of the goods are listed up here on your storehouse. So let’s say the 2 types of good you choose are food and cloth. Maybe you sell 3 food for 12 sestertii, and you buy 2 cloth for 14 sestertii. Or maybe you choose brick and wine? You buy 1 brick for 3 sestertii, and buy 1 wine for 6 sestertii. Or you choose food and tools. You sell 1 food for 4 sestertii, and sell zero tools for zero sestertii. As before, you’re limited by the number of slots in your storehouse. Well playing the Senator card gives you a shot at buying up to 2 new cards for your hand. The available cards are in this row. You have to pay the good on the card, plus any goods depicted BENEATH the cards. So this Prefect card costs 1 wine. This Architect card costs 1 tool, plus 1 of … whatever you want. At the expensive end of the scale, this Farmer card costs a brick and a food, AND 2 cloth. Any cards you buy go directly into your hand, and you can use them on your next turn. After you buy 1 or 2 cards, the cards slide left to fill in the gaps, and new cards pop off the stack. If you buy the last remaining card, you trigger the end of the game. Let’s take a look at the cards you can buy from this row. Many of them are duplicates of the cards that you start the game with, but it’s nice to have extras, just to keep your options open. The Mercator cards that you can buy from this row sweeten the deal by giving you 5 sestertii instead of just 3 when you play them. The Consul card is like the Senator card, except it only lets you buy 1 card from this row, BUT you can ignore the price below the card when you buy. Playing the Colonist card lets you pay 1 food and 1 tool per colonist to move a colonist out of your storehouse and onto the map. You can add as many colonists as you can afford, and colonists can be place in either the start city, or in one of the cities where you own a house. But, obviously, you can’t place a sea colonist in a land-locked city. Remember that when you play the Architect card later, a colonist’s first move has to be spent moving out of its starting city. Alternately, you can play the Colonist card to get 5 sestertii, and 1 sestertius for each colonist you have on the map. There’s 1 specialist card per good type. When you play a specialist card, you activate every house you own in a city that produces that good. So if you slam down the Vintner specialist, all of your houses in wine-producing cities give you 1 wine each. The Diplomat is a mimic. The card lets you use the most recent card one of your opponents has used. So, if Joe across the table most recently played his Architect card, you can play Diplomat, and declare that YOU’RE playing Architect. You can’t Diplomat another Diplomat (ixnay on the wishing for more wishes!) and you can’t use the Diplomat to copy a Tribune card, which is the next card we’ll talk about. This is the greatest and best card in the world: Tribune. As you play your cards, you slowly run out of options. Playing the Tribune card allows you to take all your cards back into your hand and start fresh. Every card that you take back over 3, including the Tribune card, earns you 1 sestertius. So if you take 5 cards back, you earn 2 sestertii. You can also buy 1 colonist by paying 1 food and 1 tool when you play your Tribune card, but unlike the special Colonist card, you can only buy 1 colonist, and the colonist HAS to start in Roma. Finally, there’s this special card floating around the table called the Præfectvs Magnvs. “Do you find it risible… when i say… the name… Biggus…” (squeak) “… D” It starts with the last player, and travels around the table counter-clockwise as it gets used, while turn order goes clockwise. If you have the Præfectvs Magnvs card, when you play your Prefect card (or when you play your Diplomat to copy a Prefect card), then you double the bonus that you get on the tile when you flip it over. So instead of getting 1 cloth for flipping this tile, you’d get 2. The Præfectvs Magnvs doesn’t double the goods that cities produce when you flip the tile. Using the Præfectvs Magnvs card is automatic. You can’t hang onto it for a later turn… unless you’re taking the cash bonus. The Præfectvs Magnvs doesn’t double the cash bonus, and if you take the cash, you CAN hang on to the card until later. When someone builds their 15th house, or someone buys the last Personality Card, that player gets the 7-point bonus Concordia card. Everyone else gets one last turn, and the game ends. Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, let’s talk about scoring. You may have noticed that all of the Personality Cards have a different Roman god’s name on them. Those gods give you points, and those points are multiplied by the number of cards you have with those gods on them. Watch: Vesta lets you cash in all of the goods left in your storehouse at the end of the game. Then, you divide all your cash on-hand by 10, and round down to earn some points. So these foods are worth 4 each for 8 bucks, and then this tool is another 5 bucks, for a total of 13. Add that to your 12 bucks in unspent cash, and you wind up with 25. 25 divided by 10, rounded down, is 2. So 2 points for scoring Vesta. Jupiter gives you 1 point for each house in a non-brick city. Here are your 4 non-brick houses. That’s 4 points, times 2 Jupiter cards. 8 points for scoring Jupiter. Saturnus awards you 1 point for each province that contains at least 1 of your houses. Here, you’ve got houses in 4 different provinces. Well, that’s 4 points. Times 3 Saturnus cards – that’s 12 points for scoring Saturnus. Mercurius gives you 2 points for each TYPE of good your houses can produce. Let’s say that you can produce all 5 types of goods by the end of the game. That’s 10 points, times 2 Mercurius cards… 20 points for scoring Mercurius. Mars gives you 2 points per colonist on the board. You’ve got 4 colonists… that gives you 8 points, times 3 Mars cards… 24 points for scoring Mars. Finally, Minerva awards you points from these specialist cards. If you have the Farmer card, you count up your food cities, and multiply them by the number on the card. So 3 food cities, times 3 points, equals 9. You repeat that for any other specialist cards you own to finish scoring Minerva. For your first few plays, the instruction manual recommends doing an intermediate scoring as each player plays their Tribune card for the first time. You tally up the points, and hand out a cash bonus for the score leaders. That’s so everyone sort of gets an idea of what they’re doing and how it contributes to their score at the end of the game. But if everyone knows how to play Concordia (hopefully by watching this video), you can completely skip the intermediate scoring. To set up the game, chuck out all these city tiles face-down, and then match the letters at random with the letters on the map. Then, flip them all over. Look at each province one by one, and identify the most valuable good that’s produced in that province. That’s the good that goes on the grid. The most valuable good in Germania is food, so Germania gets a food token. Give each player an identical starting deck of Personality Cards. Take the common deck of Personality Cards, and sort them by Roman numeral. Then, cut the deck down according to how many players you have. So for a 3-player game, you’d use the I, II, and III stacks. Shuffle each Roman numeral stack separately, and then pile them with the highest-numbered stack on the bottom. Deal the top 7 cards out on the board. Every player picks a colour, and fills their storehouse with their starting goods and surplus colonists. Everyone takes 15 houses in their colour. Randomly pick a starting player, who gets 5 sestertii to start. Every other player going clockwise around the table gets 1 additional sestertius to start. . Put your score marker on the outside track, and your remaining 2 colonists in Roma. The last player gets the Præfectvs Magnvs card. And now, you’re ready to play Concordia! (attempted nomming noises) This is so much easier when i hold them myself! Did you just watch that whole thing? (computerized blip) Oh- hey! 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For some board game fans, Concordia has replaced perennial favourite The Settlers of Catan as their go-to “colonize a map” game. Whether or not you own Catan, if you shop for your own copy of Concordia using this Amazon link, we’ll earn a small commission.

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2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire ruled the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. With peace at the borders, harmony inside the provinces, uniform law and a common currency, the economy thrived and gave rise to mighty Roman dynasties as they expanded throughout the numerous cities. Guide one of these dynasties and send colonists to the remote realms of the Empire; develop your trade network; and appease the ancient gods for their favor – all to gain the chance to emerge victorious!  CONCORDIA is a peaceful strategy game of economic development in Roman times for 2 to 5 players age 13 and up. Instead of luck of dice or cards, players must rely on their strategic abilities. Be sure to watch your rivals to determine which goals they are pursuing and where you can outpace them!

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