Father and son review. A review written by my son followed by a few comments by his dad.
Citadels Fantasy Flight games (2000)
Playing time: 45 minutes plus
In Citadels players strive to achieve dominance over the city by building districts, e.g a church, each worth a number of points. Each turn a player selects a personality. Each personality has a special ability. For example, the architect allows players to build an additional district, and the Assassin can prevent another player from taking their turn. Each personality also has a priority number. Players take their turns in order of the priority number of their character.
The game is full of deception. You will only discover the other players' personalities when their turn is declared. The game requires much educated guessing for personalities such as the thief who may steal gold from another character. However, he must announce his target by personality and not by the player.
The game's components consist of many cards of two different sorts, personality and district, and twenty four counters representing gold pieces. The cards are beautifully designed. The gold pieces are simply shiny pieces of plastic but look rather good.
Each player begins the game with a number of district cards in his hand which he can build using gold. District cards have a colour representing their type. For example, the marketplace is green which symbolises commerce. Districts have varying building costs. Each turn a player will have an opportunity to either gain two gold or a district card. He may then build a district from his hand with gold.
This game is not very engaging overall; the cards in your hand do not feel like districts. They feel like cards even though they are aestheticly brilliant. The game has no feel to it and hence is not very enjoyable. It can also become quite bloody as players will get easily worked up about missing their turn for one round despite the fact it is not a huge deal. The game also takes at least forty five minutes which may not seem long, but feels forever with this particular game.
Rule Book: 7/10
Comments by father
Citadels is a card game rather than a board game. The game ends when someone has enough districts in their city. The winner is then determined by the value of these districts. The fundamental flaw of the game like many Euro games is that as a player you feel that you are collecting coloured cards rather than building a city. In this case, the shifting personalities exacerbate the lack of engagement.
The main intellectual engagement in the game arises from personality choice. Players take turns choosing and know what cards were left when they chose. Certain personalities are very attractive but more likely to be targetted by the thief or assassin. Thus the skill in the game arises from balancing the risks of choosing a powerful personality against the likelihood of assassination.
It is not a bad game when you have a spare 45 minutes but ultimately to be a better game, it needs more versimilitude.
- Last edited Sun Mar 27, 2016 6:19 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:37 am
Well I imagine that I'm the City authority responsible for building up my district, and I'm hiring other people to do my bidding. Sort of works.
Pascal Van Vlaenderen
I agree you don't feel the theme that much, but the game is far more than that.
It's one of the games I play to play against the players.
The game is at its best at 5-7 players I think. With 2 players it's indeed not that good.
The components are great and serve their purpose I think.
I've not had this game long and so far I've only played 2 player games so I can't comment on how well it plays at higher player counts but I have to say that I'm loving this game. If it's even better with more players, I can't wait!
I find it hard to understand many of the criticisms levied at the game by markjoshi.
The fundamental flaw of the game like many Euro games is that as a player you feel that you are collecting coloured cards rather than building a city.
So many people will criticise card games for lacking in theme but is that really fair? They are inherently abstract to a certain degree, the theme can only arise from what's depicted on the cards and will inevitably require some degree of imagination on the part of the players. But you could throw this criticism at 7 Wonders, San Juan or any number of other city building card games. If you don't like that, why play card games? Why play them and then criticise them for something that they're not trying to be?
In this case, the shifting personalities exacerbate the lack of engagement.
What? The very way you describe (and dismiss) the role selection element of this game shows (to me) that you're just not even getting the point of this game. It's all about the role selection. Choosing what role(s) you want, trying to anticipate what your opponent what might choose. Trying to avoid being to obvious in what you choose, trying to mislead and beguile your opponents. That's precisely what makes this game so engaging.
- Last edited Mon May 2, 2016 12:47 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Mon May 2, 2016 12:45 pm
I do say
"The main intellectual engagement in the game arises from personality choice."
That's the point, the engagement is purely intellectual in terms of trying to outthink your opponents on personality choice rather than thematic. If that's what you want fair enough but highlighting this aspect of the game is an important part of reviewing it.