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English language edition of Ohne Furcht und Adel; includes Dark City expansion

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20-60 minutes 2-7

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  • WARNING: Choking Hazard - Small Parts

Product Description

NOTE: This edition of Citadels comes with the materials available in the Dark City expansion.

Citadels is the award winning game by Bruno Faidutti in which players are attempting to complete their city first. Each turn, players choose a secret role from eight choices: bishop, thief, king, etc. Each role has a special ability and allows the player to attempt a different strategy. Players must always beware of the deadly assassin, however, and players must constantly seek to double guess their opponents. Each city is made up of different districts, some of which also provide special abilities to the players. When combined, the game is an interesting bluffing and tactical game. This card game provides a ton of enjoyment and can handle up to seven players!

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2001
Spiel des Jahres
Finalist, 2000
Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 2000

Product Information

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Product Reviews

David Kuznick
April 30, 1999

The game components are a deck of building cards, 8 character cards, gold pieces and a King marker. (The King is one of the characters and the marker just indicates who was that character in the previous turn.) The building cards come in five different colors (Blue -- Religious, Red -- Noble, Green -- Commercial, Grey -- Military, Purple -- Special), with varying subtypes and they have construction costs ranging from 1 to 6. These are also the points they provide at the end of the game; though at least one of the Special cards gives more victory points than it costs to build. In addition, the Purple buildings generally have some special power or feature. (There were those who claimed these may be too unbalancing, but I didn't think so. If it does turn out to be the case, you could easily play without the special powers.)

The main part of a player's turn consists of either taking two gold in income or one random building card and then constructing one building, the construction part being optional. Also, each turn, every player will be a different character and this gives them a special power or two that they may use (generally any time during their turn, but only once).

The game starts with each player being dealt X building cards (6?) and Y gold (3?). One person is chosen randomly to be the de-facto King for the first turn. The King takes the 8 character cards, shuffles them, and depending on the number of players takes some at random and turns them face down and possibly face-up (with 6 players, 1 goes face down; with 5 players 1 goes down, 1 goes up. The 5 player version may be slightly better as everyone knows at least one character that is not in the game this round). The King now looks through the remaining characters, secretly picks the one he wants and passes the rest to the next player. This goes all the way around until everyone has chosen a character. The last person to choose always has a choice of only two and the last unused character is placed face down. Notice that already there are some interesting mechanisms at work here. Only the King knows which one unknown character is out of play at the beginning and the last person to choose knows the other one.

In the order they take their turns, the characters and their special powers are as follows:

  • The Assassin chooses a character (not a player). When it is the victim's turn to act, they do nothing that turn. Being dead does that to a person.
  • The Thief chooses a character (not the Assassin or the victim). When it is the victim's turn to act, they give all their gold to the Thief (before they receive their income).
  • In the above two cases if a character not in play is chosen, there's no effect.
  • The Magician can either discard as many cards as desired and replace them from the stock of buildings, or choose a player and exchange hands with them (including a 0 for X swap).
  • The King chooses first character next round and receives 1 gold for every Noble/Red building in front of him. (You can take this income before or after you build). The King's other job is do call out the characters in order after they've been chosen, asking them to take their turn.
  • The Priest receives 1 gold for every Religious/Blue building in front of them and they can't be targeted by the Condotierre (see below).
  • The Merchant receives 1 extra gold and also receives 1 gold for every Green/Commercial building in front of them.
  • The Architect receives 2 extra building cards and can build up to three buildings.
  • The Condottiere receives 1 gold for each Grey/Military building in front of them and destroys one building by paying the construction cost minus 1 to the bank. (So yes, buildings which cost 1 to build can be destroyed for free). The Condotierre can not destroy a building in a completed city (a crucial rule.
If the King is one of the out-of-play cards, the same player remains king for purposes of choosing a character first next round.

The game ends on the round when one player builds the final building of their city. (The rules say 8 but we played 7 at The Gathering to make for a quicker game). The rest of the players who haven't gone yet that round, take their turns and then victory points are counted. You get a 4 point bonus for being the first to finish your city, 2 for finishing but not being first and 2 for having at least one of each type of building. Add the construction costs, and that's your score.

And that, as they say, is that. Playing to 7 buildings, it all played out in about an hour with 5 and 6 players, playing to 8 would perhaps be a half-hour more.

I found that the balance of the character powers was spot-on, with different characters being more or less powerful/desirable at different stages of the game. Their popularity as targets for assassination also depended on the stage of the game as well as on the threat posed by a particular player getting a particular character. For example, if you are two or three buildings away from completing your city and you pick the architect, you can almost be guaranteed not to be taking your turn.

I only saw one game where a person was out of the running. (They got stuck to the right of the King and the King card kept being out of play). But even then you are still likely to get a character that helps. There is a luck element in the game (as in all of Bruno's) but I found the luck/skill balance very well done.

Highest recommendation (as long as you don't mind some chaos in your gaming).

By the way, for those who are concerned with the obvious borrowing from Verräter, Bruno told me he had the building, scoring and character system for months, but didn't know how to distribute the characters in a clever and tactical way. When he saw Verräter, he thought it was exactly what was lacking and felt it fitted even better in Citadels and so acknowledges this credit for the character system.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Robin King
December 31, 2002

Build lucrative districts quickly to win by earning the most points. In a round, each player secretly selects a uniquely ranked character from a deck of nine characters. Everyone takes a turn in order of rank. On a turn, a player either takes two gold pieces or obtains a new district card for his hand. He may play one district card in front of him, paying its cost in gold. (More expensive districts earn more points at game's end.) The character he plays entitles him to a special action, such as building extra districts, obtaining more gold, or destroying someone else's district. The game ends when someone has built eight districts. It's the perfect game for those who enjoy character-building experiences.

Stephen Glenn
December 31, 2000

The designer acknowledges his debt to Verräter (a selection in last year's Games 100), a game he improved upon to create this finalist for Germany's prestigious Game of the Year award. You are a city planner trying to develop a prosperous metropolis with building cards representing five districts. Rounds begin with the starting player secretly selecting any of the eight character cards; the remainder are passed clockwise for others to choose. Characters, benign or malevolent, offer a vexing array of interactive services, and turn order depends on who you pick. When it's your turn, take two gold pieces or a building card. You may also construct a building by paying its cost (from one to eight gold pieces), and use your character's special power. When a player constructs his eighth edifice, the city with the highest total cost of construction wins. Faidutti has constructed a masterpiece on an excellent foundation.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Citadels:

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