Citadels board game

by Chris Bowler

(Stockport, UK)

Click to buy Citadels board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!Citadels board game
Board game manufacturer:
Fantasy Flight Games
Number of players:
2-7 (8 with Expansion now included)

Quick verdict

Citadels is a fast paced game of city building and role selection, which will have you backstabbing your way to the top and having a lot of fun while you do it.

The game and gameplay

Citadels comes with: 66 District cards, 8 Character cards, 8 Reference cards, 30 gold coins, 1 wooden crown marker.

Bonus Dark City expansion includes: 10 Bonus character cards, 14 Bonus purple district cards. All the components are high quality and because the game is from Fantasy Flight’s Silverline range, the box will fit right in your pocket (disclaimer: pocket sizes may vary).

To win the Citadels board game, you must be the player with the most points after one player has built a city with 8 districts. Each turn you must select a role to play. The player who was the King in the previous turn (or the Oldest Player in the first turn) chooses first.Some cards are always removed each round to limit his choices. He then passes the remainder to the next player until each player has a character.

Each character has a Number and a Special Ability. The number relates to turn order. In turn the characters are called from 1-8 until each player has acted. On your turn you may either Draw Cards or Take Gold. Then you may build one District.

Click to buy Citadels board game from Amazon!Click to buy this item from Amazon!At any time during your turn you may use your special power. Repeat until one player has built 8 districts.

Once one player has built 8 districts the game is scored. Each District is worth the amount of Gold they cost to build and this is where the bulk of your points comes from, so getting to 8 Districts first is not guaranteed to win you the game.

The first player to 8 districts will score 4 bonus points, anyone who makes it to 8 Districts during the same round, scores a bonus 2 and anyone who has at least one of each of the 5 District colours will score a bonus 3 points.

What makes the Citadels board game interesting are the special powers. You can assassinate another character causing them to miss their turn, you can steal gold, swap cards with your opponent, build more than once per turn, generate gold based on the Districts in your city and more. In fact with the expansion there are a whopping 18 powers, which, if mixed and matched leads to fun new games every time.

Finally, the Citadels board game plays slightly differently with 2 & 3 players. In this case, each player has two characters and two turns per round. This makes for a tactically different but still very fun game, where working up a good synergy between your characters can be a game winning move.

Pros and cons

The Citadels board game is fast, plays in less than forty minutes even with slow players. Massive replayability and numerous paths to victory keep this game fun and engaging.

The components are all high quality, the coins are especially nice and the box is small enough to take almost anywhere.

The price is a little high for the components, but the game is so much fun it that I find that point almost moot. Some people will not like the amount of conflict and backstabbing this game can bring, however, bluffing and clever role selection can really help minimise the feeling that you are being picked on.

The character cards have black borders; after being shuffled a lot they will begin to show wear, which could lead to other players knowing which character you have chosen.

The verdict

As a last game of the night or a filler, the Citadels board game is superb. The player count means that you could easily bring this out with almost any group and just have a quick fun game. The short play time and small size makes this game perfect to play over your lunch hour at work, or to take with you on holiday. The components and gameplay are beautiful and except for the most pacifist gamers, this should be on your shelf.

Rating 4 Footprints

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