New South Wales
Originally posted here, do not replicate without permission or attribution:
Synopsis: You are an eminent person, the patron or matron of your most magnificent citadel. You will build your estate up to be the envy of all others. However, you must beware treachery and misdeed, for while you may call upon the aid of the most celebrated of public figures, there are many duplicitous characters that might take advantage of you should your plans be too obvious.
You win if you have the most valuable citadel the round when someone has built 7/8 districts, depending on how many players you have in play. Each building that you have built contributes its gold value to your score, and there are bonuses to be earned from diversifying your buildings and from special unique buildings.
Each round, you will have a chance to build a district from your hand, and utilise the skills of one of eight (or nine) characters in play. Each player in turn will have a chance pick one before passing the rest on, although one is set aside each round. Part of this means you have some ability to discern which characters have already been selected.
Once everyone has chosen, the eight roles will be called out in a given sequence. In that order, you will be able to use your character’s ability, gather resources, and put a district into play by paying its cost. Since several of the early roles have the ability to sabotage other roles, should your play be too obvious you become easy to target.
Commentary: Citadels has one of those enduring qualities, which finds mass appeal to a broad range of audiences. In some ways, it’s a precursor to the wave of popular social deduction games that began in the late 00s. There is a level of deceit and misdirection necessary that gives a nice layer to the straight forward resource management of building your various districts.
Far and away, the meat of this game is the selection of roles. When you are early to select, you want to take the best roles but this sets you up for a very easy hit as the next person only needs to make a deduction of fewer roles. At the same time, you also have to watch out for some of the other roles, that don’t need to guess your character but can target you all the same. There are multiple fronts of soft hostility and each of them requires a deft reaction.
I also am particularly fond of the two-player variant: its concise and much more directly competitive. The game shifts away from guessing who has a particular card into merely guessing which ones your opponent has collected. This moves it away from social deduction to a cat and mouse duel.
One of the relevant questions is whether to bother with the second edition if you already have the first edition, and the Dark City expansion. Dark City has been included in the later printings of Citadels, which provided a series of alternate roles that performed similar functions. They likewise included additional 9th roles, and more of the unique purple districts. These secondary roles have been incorporated into the new edition, along with a third set.
To be honest, many of these feel a tad redundant as the best part of the game play comes from the first set of roles. Maybe it might be nice to occasionally substitute out one or two for some of these alternate roles, but I think even though they are all variations on a theme there is a really good balance struck with the original set. However, the artwork of the new edition is gorgeous, and easily surpasses the artwork of the original.
The fact that Citadels classic is no longer including these additional cards is a hint at the new business model, treating the second edition as more of a deluxe version.
Verdict: Citadels is a great modern classic, good for two and good for up to around five players. The second edition should be considered a deluxe edition, so unless you really think the extra is worth it, stick to the standard (now classic) edition.
Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
The next Total Solar Eclipse holiday in 2024 in USA? See you there!
I have - actually for quite to my surprise - found that the 3 alternatives for each rank is markedly better than just 2.
Having 3 alternatives allows the game to be adapted to different groups and different moods, the rulebook even suggests various pre-set combinations of roles (and districts). You can easily adjust the amount of interaction by including different roles.
There are also new districts which promote different strategies than the base game, which should make the plays even more varied.
These secondary roles have been incorporated into the new edition, along with a third set.
Note that some of the dark city roles have been modified, including one changing to a different rank (Tax Collector is now 9 rather than 2).
I have the original but will probably only play the new version from now on. The improved artwork, the large crown token, the tokens laid on the table to remind everyone of the roles in play and the different card sizes, differentiating the roles from the buildings, make this a "must buy" for lovers of classic Citadels.