Citadels Review


Citadels is a very popular role-selection game in which players seek to build the best and most expensive city. It is simple to learn and involves a great level of social interaction amongst its players.  I was very pleased when it was chosen as the Hypermind BoardGamers Game of the Month! for July, both because I have enjoyed the game in the past and because I wanted an opportunity to explore both the expansion characters as well as some basic strategy.  Overall, I still enjoy the game quite a bit, but have come to see some flaws that kept my personal opinion of the game from increasing appreciably.  

Components and Setup

Personally, I own the second US edition, printed in 2005, which includes the Dark City expansion.  The cards are perhaps a bit on the flimsy side, but the gorgeous artwork covering them front and back more than makes up for any slight cardstock weakness (the character cards are used so much that Bruno Faidutti himself recommends placing them in sleeves).  It also includes several plastic “butterscotch candy” looking pieces that are used to represent gold in the game, as well as a simple wooden crown piece to indicate which player is the current king.  The rules are well-written and illustrated, and for the basic game are very clear and easy to understand.    

Dark City expansion.  Through the month, we finally had the chance to try out all the characters and a few of the districts from Dark City.  Overall, using them dramatically increased the number of rules questions that we had.  In some cases, it was worth it, in most it was not.  By the end of the month, we had decided that our “favorite” character mix was to replace the Assassin with the Witch (because her ability to bewitch an opponent was not as brutal to the target as pure assassination while it also gave an additional ability to the Witch player) and the Magician with the Wizard (because we liked his ability to steal a card and then immediately build it).  We also frequently used the Queen, which is initiative 9 and can be added to the regular cards with little difficulty (you just need to turn one additional card face-up at the begining of each round).   

The Verdict!

Rules: The rules are simple and easy to understand, and with the base characters the abilities are pretty simple to get as well.
Downtime: Once players know the abilities well, very little.  Some people can be prone to analysis paralysis, however, and take forever.  Once roles are chosen, the rest of the round goes very quickly. 
Length: Our average play time was about 73 minutes for 5-6 players.  Play time goes up dramatically with the more people that play. 
Player Interaction: I’ve already talked a lot about this, but generally it has tons of interaction in pretty unique ways. 
Weight: Simple rules + moderate strategy + significant luck and chaos = Medium Light 
GamerChris’ Rating: Despite its weaknesses, it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to play, so I give it an 8.


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  1. After the new King takes their turn, they take over calling out the rest of the characters that round (unless there is no new king because it was not chosen or was assassinated, in which case the “old” king keeps the crown).

    Not entirely true; an assassinated King still gets the crown at the end of the round (as an “heir”).

  2. GamerChris

    So right!  I stand corrected (and frankly, I’m not sure that I was really ever aware of that rule, even though it’s clearly written out in the King’s description).

  3. razer

    Thank you for this tutorial. Now I understand much more about this game. I’ve found several similar at , but they didn’t help me much. Your article was of more help to me )

  4. Why are EPL players somtimes brought in the last minute of the game?

  5. I like to play role play games.These games have numerous other cool mechanics as well, and plays in an hour (less for experienced players). I have skilled Citadels game to perhaps a dozen people and everyone always enjoys it.

  6. My first review is of Citadels (2-7 players, 20-60min playing time), orginally German but now available in English from

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