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Subject: Five player game rss

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Dave Wilson
United States
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We still had time for all five of us to sit down for another game, so we started looking about. There were a number of suggestions, but Jim had an idea. He want to his game closet, and came out with Citadels.

With five players, we play with one role unchosen face down, which only king knows, and one role unchosen face up, which everyone knows. Everyone then chooses one of the remaining six characters, leaving one last one unchosen, which only the last player to choose knows. As it turned out, in five of the first six rounds, the bishop was not in the mix. This ended up being a bit of a bummer to Dave and Jim, who built religious districts early, but weren't able to cash in on that decision. The assassin, on the other hand, was busy. Carrie chose the assassin each of the first three rounds, killing the Merchant (Alice), King (not in), and Thief (Dave) respectively. Helen tried to get an early jump on things by taking the architect early and quickly building two one-point buildings. Time would prove this to be unwise, as in the next two rounds both buildings would fall to the warlord (Carrie, and then Jim).

During the game Dave had a lot of trouble with the chosen roles. For example, he took Thief once and robbed the Bishop, who wasn't a chosen role. Another time he took the assassin and killed the merchant, who again wasn't a chosen role. In contrast, he was robbed once as the merchant, and killed once as the thief.

The magician was a well-used role in the game. At one point Carrie used it to take Alice's hand of cards. Two turns later, Alice takes Dave's cards similarly. The next turn, Dave take's Carrie's cards. In all cases they were able to build on their next turn, so the exchanges worked to some degree.

Gradually the cities grew. Carrie was the first to seven districts, but had to wait a turn before building her eighth. That allowed both Dave and Helen to build out to their seventh as well. All three had four colors, though, and needed to build a fifth colored district to earn a three point bonus. Carrie, as Magician, exchanged her hand of three cards, discarding them and drawing three new ones. She was able to build her blue district, giving her the eighth district and her fifth color. Helen and Dave weren't as lucky. Helen drew cards and found cards she could build, but not in the red color she needed for the bonus. Still, she got to eight districts, and earned her 2 point bonus. Dave used one of his purple cards to draw three from the draw deck, but it didn't work. Not only were none of the cards red, they were all too expensive for him to build at all! So the game ended, and we tallied the scores:

d10-1 Carrie was the first to eight, and the only player with all five colors. That netted her a total of 7 bonus points. But all her districts were fairly small, totalling 18 points, giving her a grand total of 25 points.
d10-2 Dave and Alice both had reached seven districts, which wasn't enough for a two point bonus. Neither had five colors, so no bonus there, either. And remarkably, both had districts adding to the same number, which tied Carrie's score of 25.
d10-3 On the last round Jim managed to build his seventh district. It didn't get him a fifth color, so his final score came from just his districts. But he had a lot of bigger valued districts, and he ended up with a final score of 27.
d10-4 Helen, too, had some bigger valued districts. And she, too, earned 27 points from her districts. But since she built her eighth district on that last round, she earned a two point bonus, and a total of 29 points.
So even though she didn't get her fifth color, Helen still earned enough points to just eke out the victory!

I was getting a little annoyed with myself for choosing roles and then swinging and missing. Eventually I decided to just go with something else, and perhaps earn some money. As it turned out, my game came down to that last card draw, so I guess I didn't do too bad, even with the bad assassinations and thefts. I should say, though, that I've now played this with 2, 3, 5, and 7 players, and I think my preference is 3. The game just goes a bit faster with three, and so doesn't overstay its welcome.
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