Citadels is a card game by Bruno Faidutti that puts players in a position to build districts to a city using bluffing and intrigue. Published in 2000, Citadels can be a quick game going no more than an hour in the early games and as short as about 20-30 minutes once the players are familiar with the characters. To further the game's possibilities, Fantasy Flight Game printed the newest edition with an expanded set of characters to use as alternates as well as new characters for eight-player play.
The object of the game is to score the most points based on the value of your districts built and bonuses for variable building types as well as finishing eight districts. The game ends at the completion of any round when someone finishes his or her eighth district. Most districts have a cost of 1-5 gold to build while some also come with special abilities to aid the builder. Each building also has one of five types (as described in the characters below).
The game is played in rounds with two phases. First, a stack of eight unique characters is passed around and, in secret, each player chooses a character to use that round and gain the special abilities of. Second, each player takes their turn by drawing either two gold or two cards (keeping one) and then building one district. The intrigue and bluffing come into play by your character selection. In the basic set there are eight characters to choose from each round:
: Causes another character to lose their turn but the chooser must name the player by character without seeing what everyone chose. This choice could be an unpicked character making it worthless but the assassinated character, if picked, will lose their entire turn.
: Same concept as Assassin except the Thief steals all the gold from the chosen character.
: Allows the player to either exchange their hand with another player or from the deck.
: Steals the Crown
thus allowing that player to go first next round (picking characters). Also pays the player one gold per noble
: Protects your districts from the Warlord this round (see Warlord). Also pays the player one gold per religious
: Pays one bonus gold after actions are taken. Also pays the player one gold per trade
: Allows you two extra cards plus the ability to build up to three districts this round.
: Gives the ability to destroy any one district by paying one less gold than the cost of that district. Also pays the player one gold per military
Citadels has worked well for my gaming group. We love the shifty eye looks as people select their characters. The game invokes a lot of second-guessing, metagame plotting, and simple planning. A mid-sized group, four to six players, is ideal for this game though not required.
Three companies have published Citadels: Fantasy Flight Games, MultiSim, and Han im Glück. During this time it has gone by other names: Ohne Furcht und Adel, Citadelles, and Machiavelli. This current incarnation can easily be picked up for around $20 and makes a great addition to almost any board game collection.