"What games are similar to Catan?" - First Impressions of Concordia and My Wife's Take
Some of you may remember that around late December, I shared that my wife and I played #Catan for the first time with her family during Thanksgiving. My wife absolutely enjoyed the experience and I immediately saw it as an opportunity to introduce her to modern board games. Since then, we've gone through maybe 10 different games together and we found many of our favorites such as #Viticulture: Essential Edition and #Clans of Caledonia.
Well, this post is about the latest addition to our collection, #Concordia. I've been eyeing on this since last year because (1) I love elegant midweight euros and (2) I watched several reviews and playthroughs and it seemed like it could potentially check off many of the parts that my wife likes in Catan. I'll list some resemblances below, as well as share some of our first impressions.
Overlaps between Catan and Concordia:
- Different areas on the map produce different goods
- You can produce goods during another player's turn
- You build to enhance/focus your production
- Building requires movement
- End of game trigger
What makes Concordia "similar to Catan but better" for me + why it goes into our top 3 games to play together:
- Very little luck involved and you don't end up with turns where you get to do nothing.
- Simple turns where you play just a single card, but it makes you feel pretty smart (or dumb, but in a good way). It makes you immediately realize "ohhhh why didn't I play it this way??" where you can immediately recognize there are layers of strategies you can appreciate in the game, but it'll take time to get there. And you don't feel horrible about making those mistakes repeatedly in your first game, because Concordia gives players "something" in just about every turn (money, goods, buildings, more cards, etc).
- In terms of direct interaction, I do like the trade in Catan because it gets people talking, but it can feel... unreasonable, "just cause," or sometimes too influenced by the relationship/dynamic between the players. Concordia doesn't have this type of strong interaction, but it has enough going for it that engages all of the players at the table.
- For Catan, number of builds is a win condition, whereas for Concordia, it just triggers the end of the game. Catan is a race game and it goes way too long because both luck and all other players can constantly put you down since it's way too easy to read the board and see how close a player is from winning.
- Along with the previous point, I like that you really can't tell who the winner is until the very end. You score points based on numerous different criteria, and each of them can be drastically multiplied in value based on the type of cards you focused on purchasing.
Here are some additional comments from my wife:
- Wish for better production quality: First, I'm a stickler for art in games (even if it doesn't impact my enjoyment of the game), but I realized my wife is even more critical. She commented that the name of the locations on the map appeared too low res haha. I do agree with her though that the resource tokens could have been better. I showed her the deluxe tokens and metal coins and she told me to order them! Oh and just one more... am I the only one who feels bothered by thin box material? Especially since the box size is so unusually large, it makes it feel extra flimsy.
- She likes how the card's power/action is clearly shown on the card. There's none of that needing to repeatedly reference the rulebook throughout the gameplay.
- She especially likes the Tribune card, which allows you to get all of the cards you played back into your hand. Rather than relying on luck and waiting for the right card to come by, she likes having control over this as well as the pacing of when you do it (you get more benefits by delaying the use of the Tribune).
The last point also makes me wonder if it's an indicator that she might like deck-building games. I guess I'll find out when we get #Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated to the table this week :)