Concordia

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See aggregated Concordia reviews and ratings here.


Editor's note: We were in the beta testing group for this app and therefore received a free copy of the game prior to its public release.

 
Concordia mobile board game app

Overall Rating: 9/10


Concordia is a fun engine-building game, and the mobile implementation is a welcome addition to the board game app library. For a game with so much to keep track of, the developers have done an admirable job of providing all of the information you need. While there are still a couple things we would change, our overall review is a strong recommendation of Concordia.


What we like about this adaptation


For starters, Concordia checks all of my standard boxes for what a strong digital implementation should have: good undo functionality, a clear game log, and a running tally of every player's total score with a detailed score breakdown (though you can turn this off if you prefer the "I have no idea how anyone's doing" feel of the original game).


The map and display in general are a lot to take in, but once you learn where everything is and what it all means you'll have most of the information you need quickly at your fingertips.


Concordia's map | Concordia mobile board game app
Concordia's map (and evidence that I'm still new at this game in the top right...)

One of the cleverest pieces of design is the main button in the bottom right, which changes depending on the context.


Concordia's primary buttion | Concordia mobile board game app
Concordia's primary button adapts based on context

This is a smart use of limited screen real estate — rather than showing many buttons and activating or deactivating them, or using pop-ups or other menus, the app simply uses the same consistent spot (and if you want to undo or skip an action, those are both right next to the main button as well).


The app shows quite a bit of contextual information depending on the decision you're making — though it's not perfect, and as mentioned above it can take quite a while to learn where some things are. For example, the screenshot below shows the production interface, where it's clear what I'm getting (at the bottom and top right) but also shows what my opponents will receive (along the left).


Production interface | Concordia mobile board game app
Do you see the tiny green arrow under "Juniper"? That's showing my rival's gain from my production.

Concordia games go by quite quickly. I'm too new of a player to be sure about AI strength, but lets just say that I haven't yet lost to the Easy AIs and haven't yet beaten the Hard AIs (and yes, I have played both). With the game being newly released there also hasn't been much time for online play, but the game creation process is straightforward and play runs smoothly.


What could have been better


There's a lot to keep track of in Concordia, and while the app displays most of the needed information well I still found myself wanting more context for some decisions.


For example, it wasn't clear how certain cards would affect my score before choosing whether to draw them. (Drawing cards in Concordia is a higher stakes decision than in many other games, as it happens relatively infrequently, costs meaningful resources, and can have a big impact on your score.)


Card draw interface | Concordia mobile board game app
I can see that this card will give me three points per brick house, but I'd have to check the map for how many of those I have

It's possible to find the answer — you can zoom around the map to count your houses of a certain type, or could even take the action, observe its impact, and then undo it. It's just harder than it feels like it should be, especially for a game that is otherwise quick to play, and having to visually inspect the map on a small screen in particular is tedious.


For new players (I'm a "digital native" for this game), the in-app tutorial left me still feeling unprepared. I'd recommend watching one or two of the online tutorial videos (about the physical board game, from other creators) to learn the rules and basic strategy.


Given how much work it must be to make the in-app tutorials, I wonder if app developers in general should be more willing to "outsource" teaching the game to others (you can find great tutorials online for just about every board game out there) and should instead focus in-app tutorials solely on the app's interface? But that's probably a topic for a separate post.


Closing thoughts


Concordia has been one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and we think it lives up to the hype. We're excited for the upcoming expansions!

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