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Subject: We built this city...on rock and roll! rss

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Mike
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Citadels » Forums » Reviews
We built this city...on rock and roll!
There are certain games that I feel people new to the hobby should discover. For actual boardgames it might be Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne. If a newbie is looking for a gateway card game, I believe the best place to point them to is Citadels.

Components

Citadels is a card game and it’s published by Fantasy Flight Games. You get a deck of standard sized cards (66 district cards and 8 character cards) which have a nice glossy matte finish.



They have also provided you with a small stash of plastic gold coins which sort of look like tasty butterscotch candy. Finally you have a yellow wooden crown which indicates which player is the king.



If you purchase the game now you will also get the Dark City expansion which includes 10 extra character cards and 14 purple district cards. It gets the job done, nothing fancy, but then again it’s a card game. I do wish the game had a card that listed the roles in order. When you first start playing it’s a pain to remember the correct order without referencing the rules.

Theme

What you have here is a standard medieval theme, mixed in with a pinch of fantasy. The theme is loosely pasted on, but Fantasy Flight does a good job of selling it. The artwork on the cards is really good, and it certainly helps set the mood.



Luckily, the fantasy elements are fairly limited so if you’re worried about scaring people away, assure theme that it’s more of a medieval theme. However, Fantasy Flight could have easily tossed in any other theme and it would have worked just as well.

Rules

I’m not going to explain how to play the game…many others have already done so…probably better than I ever could.

The tiny box contains a tiny booklet that is in full color. The rules are laid out to let you know exactly how to play based on how many people you have in your group (the game changes slightly depending on how many are playing). The flow of the rules is nice since it explains the game, how to win and then it breaks down the roles of each character you will be selecting. While you might have some questions on the special abilities of the roles, the rulebook does a fine job of teaching you the basic game…that’s all you can really ask for.

Gameplay

Do you like games that involve selecting characters with different abilities? How about mind games and bluffing? Do you have a good poker face? Will your girlfriend forgive you if you assassinate her? Are you sure your best bud won’t steal all your coins…?

Citadels is fairly interactive card game where you and your friends are all vying to build their city to 8 districts first. To do this you will need the aid of certain characters that can assist you in a myriad of ways. Each round you will select one of the characters secretly. The catch is that you will have always have some idea as to what people after you have in their hands. This is where the bluffing and mind games come into play. Based on what you know and what you need everyone will try and outwit one another. This leads to your friends pilfering your gold from you with the thief role…or even killing you with the assassin. If you’re in the lead perhaps someone will take the warlord and knock your city down a notch. Maybe you’re a little nervous that the warlord is out to get you and you attempt to assassinate him…the possibilities are endless.

This is a fast paced and fun game. If you like interactive games with lots of table talk and friendly banter, Citadels will please. As the game gets closer to completion the rounds get more and more tense. However since finishing your city first doesn’t guarantee victory it pays off to play smart. A quickly built city of 1-2 gold point districts will end the game quicker…but it’s an easier target to get destroy by the warlord. Plus it won’t net you a lot of points. The game involves some luck as to drawing the districts, but the roles help balance that out. In fact the roles really balance everything out really nicely. For every strategy or lead there is a character and ability to even out the odds. Its great fun once everybody “gets” it and the game gets even more cutthroat.



Verdict

I highly recommend Citadels to any gamers that are new to this hobby. It’s easy to play, the theme isn’t intimidating and its probably different than what your friends are used to. The game is just undeniably fun. You can really rack your brain trying figure out the best role for that specific moment. At times, Citadels can feel like a party game (that’s a good thing!), a strategy game or negotiating/pleading game. Its fairly cheap, has an expansion included to give it some legs and plays well with almost any size group. I would make this one of the first gateway games I purchase.


Images provided by BGG and Fantasy Flight Games
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Jan
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Nice review
 
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Miguel
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Good review!

BonesJackson wrote:
They have also provided you with a small stash of plastic gold coins which sort of look like tasty butterscotch candy. Finally you have a yellow wooden crown which indicates which player is the king.

I had already seen this picture and I thought it was from someone that had customized his game! You are lucky, the French edition, at least the one they are selling now, has very poor components (left of the picture):
I had to spend some extra money replacing components (on the right), the thin plastic chips are ugly, difficult to see how many others have, and really hard to handle...
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Mihai R
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Very nice review, thanks.
 
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Francisco Colmenares
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mihair wrote:
I do wish the game had a card that listed the roles in order. When you first start playing it’s a pain to remember the correct order without referencing the rules.


I must not understand what you're getting at, the card themselves have their ordinal number printed on them. Roles go from lower numbered cards to higher numbered cards. When you receive the available characters to choose for the current round you KNOW which one will go first.
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Stephen Cappello
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Its the kings job to "call out" each character to take their turns.

In the beginning, you ususally say numbers; ok, #1, its your turn, #2, #3, etc.

After you learn the roles and what order they come into play, then you start calling them by name: "Assassin, who are you killing?", "Thief, your turn, who's money are you going to snach?", "Magician, you're up!"

Having a cheat card with the roles in order would have been a nice inclusion into the game.
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Miguel
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Well, then the French version is not so poor, because it has such a card (the Spanish one too):
And one card per player. Or are you talking about something else?
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Simon Harris
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Sippi wrote:
Its the kings job to "call out" each character to take their turns.

In the beginning, you ususally say numbers; ok, #1, its your turn, #2, #3, etc.

After you learn the roles and what order they come into play, then you start calling them by name: "Assassin, who are you killing?", "Thief, your turn, who's money are you going to snach?", "Magician, you're up!"

Having a cheat card with the roles in order would have been a nice inclusion into the game.

In fact, there are several 'cheat sheets' in the files section for this fine game (!) - we use this one.
Ignore the fact that the #8 role says 'Overlord' rather than 'Warlord'

Simon
 
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Clement Tey
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harris_family wrote:
Ignore the fact that the #8 role says 'Overlord' rather than 'Warlord'

Aye, Dark Overlord!
 
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Stephen Cappello
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I was just making a clarification for the poster above me.. I've played enough to have the roles memorized.. I even add a bit of a RP flair to rolecalling when I am king
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Mike
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Sippi wrote:
Its the kings job to "call out" each character to take their turns.

In the beginning, you ususally say numbers; ok, #1, its your turn, #2, #3, etc.

After you learn the roles and what order they come into play, then you start calling them by name: "Assassin, who are you killing?", "Thief, your turn, who's money are you going to snach?", "Magician, you're up!"

Having a cheat card with the roles in order would have been a nice inclusion into the game.



Yes this is what I meant in my review. Its not really that big of a deal, just something that would have been nice. In the grand scheme of things it didn't have any impact on my score...just nitpicking really.


Also I would like to thank everyone for the kind words and thumbs.
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