- Publisher - Fantasy Flight (2006), with Dark City Expansion
- Designer - Bruno Faidutti
- Players - 2 to 7
- Play Time - 20 to 60 minutes, per the box
- Ages - 10 years and up
|Out of the box.|
- 66 District Cards
- 8 Character Cards
- 8 Reference Cards
- 30 Plastic Gold Coins
- A Nifty "King-Shaped" Wooden Pawn
- 10 Bonus Character Cards (Dark City Expansion)
- 14 Bonus District Cards (Dark City Expansion)
The Quick Rundown:
The goal in Citadels is to have the most points when you or some one else builds eight districts, triggering the last round of the game. You start with a hand of four district cards and two gold. Each turn, you take an action of either a) taking two gold or b) drawing two district cards, adding one of them to your hand. To build a district, you must pay the cost indicated on the card, which is also how many points that district is worth at the end of the game. You can score bonus points by being the first to build eight districts, completing eight districts in the last round of the game, building at least one of the five different kinds of districts (military, royal, religious, economic, and special), and finally with certain special district cards.
|A starting hand.|
|A completed city worth 34 points.|
E for Everyone:
Is a character-selection game in which half the roles can mess with you in some fashion good for kids? I'm going to go out on a limb and say, "Yes," although it could be borderline for some. And I actually add that caveat not because of the spite factor, but rather because of the subtlety of the psychology involved. The beauty of this game is in balancing your role selections. Do you simply choose the role needed for an immediate task? Do you grab one that you think another player is after, in order to deny it to them? Do you pick one of the "attacking" roles just to be ruthless and cruel or set someone down a notch? Do you nab one because you think another player that's after you won't think you would select that character, hoping they will choose the wrong character to kill or steal from? This mental head-game makes Citadels tick with intrigue and tension. Most of the time, my kids seems to understand the psychology of this role selection and play it well - you can almost see the gears turning inside their brains. Every now and then, they miss a subtlety that an adult would not, especially after seventh districts are built. At that point, as the game could end in any round, there is a slightly different dynamic to the nuances of role selection.
The direct interaction could always pose some tears among children. After all, I've read reviews from adults that don't play this game because they're put off by that mechanic. However, I would argue it should not be a problem for the majority of kids for two reasons. One, it isn't too personal. The Assassin and the Thief must pick a character to kill and steal from, not a specific player. While the Magician can "steal" your hand, it's not as common and can even help you sometimes. The Warlord can be a pain because he can destroy one of your districts, but you take some solace in the fact that it costs him gold (incidentally that means it's usually of lower point value so he does not have to pay as much to burn it). All in all, this minimizes the ability to "gang up" on some one. And two, the jabs are not constant. This is no war game, so generally the spite is not coming relentlessly like a UFC beatdown. You will have just as much opportunity to use the "attacking" roles as any other. And revenge is sweet indeed!
|Beware these shady looking characters.|
Okay, I'll Shut Up Now:
On the Board Game Geek rating scale, I give this game a 10 (Outstanding. Always want to play and expect this will never change). So far, the only 10 of our, as now, small collection. Because of the nasty side and the mind games, it may not be the first game you'll use to introduce this hobby to kids and non-gamers, but it could easily be a second.