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Subject: If you'll lie you'll steal and if you'll steal you'll kill. rss

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Benjamin Maggi
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"If you'll lie you'll steal and if you'll steal you'll kill." - African-American Proverb

Introduction

Amongst my non-gaming friends there are times when I have been able to successfully introduce them to new games and had them really enjoy them. Recent examples of this include Carcassonne, Survive, and Shadows over Camelot. To be fair, they are generally predisposed to play board games in general and own Settlers of Catan, which is considered by many to be one of the best "gateway games" is such things exist. Their interests would surely blossom more if they ever were to venture into a game store, but sadly their exposure is the typical Walmart or Target stores variety. By slowly bringing new games to their parties I have discovered that they too share a love for fun games as long as the rules are not too long, the competition light (I hate the dreaded "you are too competitive" cry) and the game length reasonable. No, Agricola will not hit their table anytime soon. Since our groups are somewhat large in number I have been looking for games that support more people and Citadels was on the top of my list.

My first exposure to this game was at a friend's house with my wife and we both loved it, and for her to take to a game is usually a good sign too. So, after searching online I found it used on the BGG Marketplace and soon it was headed our way. When it arrived, I tossed it on the shelf and waited for the right moment to introduce it. It turns out that this moment was a day when my wife had scheduled a party at our house but I had already committed to running a game at the local gaming club's monthly gathering. With my wife's blessing I headed out, but before doing so I left her a summation of the rules in case she wanted to try the game on her own with our friends. When I returned home I was told that the game lasted for three hours but everybody enjoyed themselves.

I later was asked to bring it to a different party with the same group of people and they practically begged me throughout the day to get it out and run it. I have never had people seem so interested in a game of mine before and gladly obliged them. This too went over well and lasted considerably shorter, which was a priority of mine. As a thank you gift, we bought another copy of the game for them and they were just as thrilled. With those memories fresh in my mind I shall try and review a game which has quickly become a favorite amongst my friends.

Game Components

How well a game is produced can make or break a game for me. Is that a fair standard? Probably not, but I don't enjoy playing games by myself which means I must convince others to play them as well. When board games are colorful and the components easy on the eyes I think the gaming experience is better and even casual gamers will be drawn in. Another consideration is how well the pieces aid in the play of the game or help a person remember rules, which to me is a big consideration because it is hard for many people to sit through long rules explanations and later remember them. With these considerations in mind Citadels is a great game.

The first thing you will notice about this game is that it comes in a small box and is usually priced around $20, though you can find it for less online or in a used game store. Compared to many games this price is cheap, but for people who don't like games $20 for some cards and a bunch of plastic pieces may be a lot of money. In my mind, I am surprised that it isn't available for much less used on EBay but even if I bought it at retail price I would be satisfied. This is not an expensive game and makes a great online purchase "filler" if you need "just one more" to qualify for free shipping or something like that.

Included in the box are a bunch of cards, which vary depending on the edition you buy. I own the third edition which comes with the "Dark City" expansion, which is a nice touch as it allows you to mix up the base game without having to purchase anything new. If you are buying it used check to see whether these cards are included, as I don't know if they are available separately. In the base came you receive 66 District Cards which represent buildings or sections of the city, that you can purchase and score points on. These cards are nice, thick, glossy, and have great artwork that just begs you to stare at them and look closely at the details. I have been told that a few pictures contain subjects that might be considered questionable (slavery, hell, etc.) but I have never noticed them. I think a different thread here on BGG goes into this a bit more but I wouldn't mind playing this game with children.

There are also eight character cards in the base game which are selected by each player each round to determine their roles and special abilities. These are also well drawn out. Finally, as far as cards go there are also 8 reference cards which are great for helping new players remember the rules. I will say a couple of things about these cards before going on. First, the Dark City expansion adds another 10 character cards and depending on your group you may wish to not use some of them based on their subject matter as it might offend certain people or scare children. Just a thought, and only a passing one at that.

Also, the cards will be handled regularly with the character cards taking the most abuse. Unfortunately once they are marked, either scuffed, creased, bent, etc, then regular players will recognize this and the game will be ruined. True, it takes a lot of regular careful use to have this happen but if you have one excited or young person who damages a card then you are out of luck. Thankfully, the game is cheap enough that you could always purchase a new game without much loss to the pocketbook but there are other options. I sleeved my cards using FFG "Green" sleeves and they work great though you need to purchase three packs at about $12 total to do it, which is exactly how much I paid for my copy of the game. But, I knew my game might go on camping trips, be played by sticky-fingered friends, or get dirty so I took the plunge and bought them. You could also just by penny sleeves for the character cards, or if your deck is damaged then photocopy the characters and paste them on regular playing cards. Or, just be careful and not take it to a bonfire or candy factory to play!

Different versions of the game come with different plastic gold counters, which in my version resemble butterscotch candies. In my opinion they give you just enough pieces to play but if you have 7 or 8 players then one side of the table will have too many and the other will be short. It isn't a big deal and anything like pennies can be used to supplement your stash in a pinch but I like the pieces that are provided and don't mind pushing them around the table. If everybody hoards them then you might run out. Just make sure you warn everybody not to eat them, and if they give you strange looks just go with it. On more then one occasion I have seen people look at them as if they were food, and a cracked tooth isn't fun.

You also get one wooden counter which looks like a really plump king but it does help people remember who the King character was last round. I have thought of obtaining a Burger King crown to use instead but I would probably lose a lot of friends if I did. But for a party with kids I think it would go over well. Finally, you get a rule book that is well laid out, easy to understand, and thankfully brief. Since the game is so simple I wouldn't expect anything less, but it is nice to know some companies know how to draft clear rules (at least until you introduce the nuances of the Dark City expansion...)

Note: if you do receive the Dark City expansion you should receive an additional 14 district cards and 10 more characters that can be used to substitute for the base game ones.

Game Play

I have heard this game compared to Poker in that each player bluffs and tries to read others when it comes to character role selection. This is a fair analogy but it is also quite possible to play this game without any ability to read others and still do well. How do I know this? Because my casual gamers don't pay poker and also sometimes don’t have any strategy for what they do and still manage to have fun and win.

In Citadels, players choose a role granting them a special ability from the pile that is available and then collect money and build new districts if they can. In one sentence I summed up the entire game. Depending on the number of players the procedures for drawing character roles may change and players can assume multiple ones if only a few are playing. The game can support up to seven players if the expansion is not used, and eight or maybe nine if it is used. I have only played it with seven. In general this game takes about five minutes to teach but if the group is used to playing with one number of people and you change the size of the group (and change the setup rules accordingly) it might take an extra couple of minutes. Still, this game is easy to learn.

The object of the game is to have your city's prosperity (or victory point total) be the highest as the player with the most points worth of districts at the end of the game will win. Players first choose a character from the pool that is available based on who was the King last round and then working left around the table. Naturally, having the most options is a good thing and being last (or to the right of the King) isn't very much fun in this regard. Still, since not everyone is after the same role the one you want may be available when the pile gets to you. Depending on the number of players you have, one role may be randomly eliminated from the game or not available to the King at the start of the turn.

In the base game there are eight possible character roles you can choose depending on what is available when the pile reaches you, and they are (in numerical order):
1.) Assassin: Pick a character role (not a player) and that player loses his turn.
2.) Thief: Pick a character role (not a player) and that player loses his gold when his role is called.
3.) Magician: exchange cards with another player (not character role) or discard X amount and draw X new cards.
4.) King: pick the first character role during the next round. (also bonus for every yellow district card)
5.) Bishop: your districts may not be destroyed by the warlord (also bonus for every blue district card)
6.) Merchant: when you take an action you receive an additional gold (also bonus for every green district card)
7.) Architect: you may build up to three districts this turn.
8.) Warlord: destroy one district of your choice (also bonus for every red district card)

Role selection is really half of the game if not more, and this is where the strategy lies. Not only must you choose a role which helps your position but you also must be careful not the pick the obvious role as others may pick up on this and attack you for it! If you have a lot of money you should not pick the obvious role as whoever is the Thief will want to kill you and yet cannot do so unless he randomly guesses the role you chose. If you pick the easy to guess one, his choice won't have to be random. At the same time, if you have a bunch of money it is likely you will want to build multiple buildings so picking the Architect may be the obvious one. If you have a bunch of red, yellow, green or blue District Cards in play then picking the corresponding character that gives you bonus points might not be the smartest. And, when in doubt people always seem to assassinate the

Note: stress that players are assuming roles and aside from the magician which targets specific players most other cards like the Thief and Assassin only target other chosen roles. It may take a few rounds for this to sink in.

While I don't believe it is clearly stated in the rules there are a couple of etiquette considerations to make when playing the game. First, you shouldn't show your character card or say your character chosen to anyone unless your role is called. Not only will this help people to assassinate or rob you , but even worse to everyone it allows people to gain inside knowledge that isn't available to the rest. This is problematic if someone is losing and wants to assassinate or rob the leader but doesn't know who it is. For others to say "don't kill/rob me, I am the ___" seems unfair.

Also, don't announce what options you had to chose from at all until after the round is over because it lets others know secret information as well. If you accidently reveal yourself by going out of turn it won't kill the game but make sure to explain to people their character role should be hidden. Likewise, if you have a player who isn't really paying attention and a role is called and no one responds to it you may need to nudge this clueless player and ask him if he is indeed the missing role (of course, it could be the excluded or face-down cards). Regardless, the real interest in the game comes from the battle of wits and bluffing that is ever present in the role selection game and to take some of this mystique away cheapens Citadels and turns it into a boring experience.

After players choose their roles the next step is for the King (or Game Master in the beginning) to call out the roles in numerical order and for each person to step up when their roles is called and take their actions. Each player must either (a) take two gold from the bank, or (b) draw two district cards, keep one, and put the other on the bottom of the deck. While is seems foolish not to, there are times when having too much gold or district cards could make someone a target and they cannot forgo this reality by skipping the option to make them even more appealing to attack. Players then may build one district card if they can afford to, but never more then one unless they are the Architect, and never more then one of the exact same building (even if the costs are different). Finally, each player may use their special ability if desired which usually lets them earn extra gold or perform some additional action. Once everyone has taken their turn- unless they were assassinated, of course- the character roles are shuffled together and the new King starts the process over again.

When eight districts have been constructed the end game is triggered and after that round whoever has the most points is crowned the winner. Special scoring conditions based on diversity of buildings or total number of buildings are included, and everything is laid out on the player aid card provided. As a matter of course when someone builds their fifth building I usually stop the game and review the end scoring conditions just to make sure everyone is aware of them.

Games can take anywhere from an hour or so to several hours, depending on the number of players, the amount of time each player uses to take his or her turn, and whether you are playing up to eight districts or less.

What I like About This Game:

1.) Supports a large group: To me, this is a light party game and one which I would generally only pull out for groups of people more then four. I have read here on BGG that is scales down well but I have more interesting games for times when less people show up. Here, though, the game plays well with 7 or even 8 and aside from the downtime (addressed below) it doesn't break at a certain level.

2.) High Quality: The game is really well made and the pieces are top notch which is very important to me. I think my non-gaming friends and family would enjoy this too. It isn't "dripping with theme" as the tired cliché goes but not every game has to be. It is inexpensive but the producers didn't cut corners with thin cards, cardboard tokens for currency, or cardboard "King" markers. For the price I paid I think I got a great game that should last a long time (and even longer since I sleeved the cards), and the price is low enough that others have considered purchasing it too.

3.) Interactive: For me, interaction is what I love most about board games. While it is possible to try and play this game without talking to anyone or having your actions correspond with others, you WILL be robbed at some time, you WILL be killed at some time, and you WILL be forced to take a suboptimal character role at some time. But, you WILL also be given the opportunity for revenge which is up for you to determine if it helps you or not. Games like this usually have tables of people laughing, crying, cheering, or turning red with anger. This isn't a quiet game of Agricola.

4) Simple: If you are only using the base game then this game is dead easy to learn. Even if players don't get everything within the first few rounds they are not at a competitive disadvantage, which is really good. This game isn't so deep that your brain will hurt trying to figure out the optimal move, but new players may struggle with role selection if they have lots of options available. If you add new elements with the Dark City expansion the game may get more exciting but also a bit more confusing. I would suggest just starting with the base game until everyone is comfortable with that, and then slowly integrating in the expansion.

5.) Open: I like this game because at any time in the game people can easily calculate who is winning and who is losing. This takes away some excitement at the end but it allows players to assess who is the best target to prevent runaway leaders- which thankfully don't usually occur. And, I don't have to explain weird or hard to remember scoring rules at the end of the game.

6.) Luck: The game has a bit of randomness based on what character roles are available and what player's do with these roles, as well as what District cards come off the top of the deck. I have been told that Poker has no luck because every card can be calculated and every player analyzed. If that is true then this game has no luck, but considering no one I play with is a card counter or mathematician then this game has a lot of "luck". Whom you assassinate or rob is a matter of guessing- perhaps based on some strategy- but guessing nonetheless. I like randomness in games and this one has enough of an element to make the game unpredictable and interesting.

7.) No "Catch up" mechanism needed: This game has the potential for specific players to get assassinated or robbed multiple times in a game, and very often that will put them at a competitive disadvantage. But, I have never played in or seen a game where a person was targeted so much that he could not win the game. Very often, it all balanced out over time and everyone was on a level playing field. Normally I lament a bit that there are no catch up mechanisms because it is very frustrating to get beat up on over and over with no chance to win, but since it isn't really needed here I guess it is a positive.

8.) Replayable: This game is able to be replayed over and over as long as the individual players enjoy it. There is no way to "master" or beat the system by finding an optimal strategy as conditions, dealt district cards, and other player's roles change every game and within each game every round. But, if you don't like poker or other similar games you won't like this game. Similarly, if you have people who get hurt feelings over this game then this game will not hit the table much. But, at $20 or less it isn't a bad investment and always a good option to keep on the shelf or in the trunk of your car.

What I Don't Like About This Game:

1.) Down Time: my first game with experienced gamers took about 2.5 hours to play to eight districts without too much down time or boredom. The second game my wife played took about three hours with lots of down time but she also didn't know to filter out the Dark City expansion District cards and used them too- which probably extended the game more then if the base cards alone had been used. Our third game lasted about two hours but we only played to six district points. Moral of the story: adjust your game according to your gaming group's tendencies.

I always stress when explaining the rules that as the character role cards go around each person should determine in advance their top two choices, and if these are not available when the cards get to them they should choose something else quickly. This sometimes happens, but not always. Regardless, as a game leader you must balance the consequences of picking roles quickly and not selecting the best ones over taking more time and boring everyone else in the process. If you know your group will go slowly then reduce the total number of Districts required to end the game down to six or seven, and try to encourage lively conversation during the selection process to keep people at the table. If all else fails, use a timer.

2.) Hurt Feelings: This game has robbers and murderers in it and there is the potential for hurt feelings. While it might not rise to the level of Diplomacy for people normally associating competitiveness with landing on someone else's hotel or pawn and sending them back to start, this game will be an eye opener. I always stress that this is just a game and shouldn't spill over into our real lives but still people take is personally. Especially affected are couples, because if one person (usually the male) robs or attacks the other (usually the female) then things will get bad real quick. At the same time, though, kids can giggle when they attack their parents and friends can enjoy stabbing their neighbor. Will this game go over well in your group?

3.) Bad Luck: this game is driven by random actions over everyone around you and there are times when you will get killed or robbed or otherwise be unable to do what you want. It may seem unfair and can cause players to "hole up" and decide to just ride the game out instead of actively try to win. My first game I was killed twice and robbed once in the first three turns but I did well through the rest of the game to place highly. However, for inexperienced gamers or children this could be a breaking point and while it is impossible to help people (as roles are hidden) it is always wise to encourage people and remind them that the game changes very quickly.

3.) Revenge doesn’t always pay: There are times when I have been attacked by another player and I want to get back at them, but I cannot. Even if I can, it frequently is a poor play. For consideration: if I use my turn to somehow block another person's turn, they are at a loss and I may be at a gain but the other players may be in a better position. This makes sense, but I like games where stabbing somehow always has a direct and tangible benefit to me. If you play with non-experienced gamers who don't look forward into the future enough a person can runaway with the lead while several others just go after each other instead of targeting the leader. It still makes for a fun game, but not so much a competitive one. This isn't really a knock against the game itself, however.

4.) Anti-Climatic: Since it is quite possible and highly likely that the player who triggers the end round by constructing the eighth district will have used the architect, games can end suddenly and without warning. True, you can prevent that by constantly killing the architect but frequently isn't the strategic move. The result is that usually end with somewhat surprise by everyone that it is over and there isn't a climatic moment of satisfaction (except for the winner!) If you play the game quickly it isn't a big deal, but sitting through a long three hour game to have it end like that can be very disappointing.

5.) Dark City adds complexity: I have not used this except to add one other character when we were playing with eight people (I used the "Artist"), but have seen the FAQ for certain situations when the optional characters like the Witch are substituted in. This adds more interesting options but also introduces complexity to what is a nice simple game. To others this may be a positive, but I think it isn't.

Final Reflections

I really enjoyed this game and think that for the money it is a bargain. I will admit that it won't appeal to everyone's tastes and especially if your group tends to bog down in heavy though this game can drag on for much too long. But, if your gaming group is looking for a light game and they enjoy randomness then this might be a good fit. It has a lot of interaction, isn't bogged down by a lot of rules, plays in about two hours but can be made shorter, supports up to eight players, and is well produced.

Other Comments

Here are some rules that are in the rulebook or the FAQ but which players frequently forget:

- A player may take income from his districts due to a special ability at any time, but it must be all at once.
- The Assassin and the Thief are not compelled to use their special abilities in a turn.
- The Thief cannot rob the Assassin.
- The King can be assassinated but that player still chooses first next round.
- The Merchant's extra gold piece is not a district income and is also taken at the beginning of the turn.

EDIT: changed incorrect rule per comments below
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bruno faidutti
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Thanks for the review - and one correction : The Thief cannot steal from the Assassin, because the Assassin has already been revealed, but the Assassin can kill the Thief.
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Benjamin Maggi
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Correction noted. Thanks.
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Jason Weed
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faidutti wrote:
Thanks for the review - and one correction : The Thief cannot steal from the Assassin, because the Assassin has already been revealed, but the Assassin can kill the Thief.


Whether he ever should has been hotly debated in our group.
 
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Benjamin Maggi
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I would think that either party would extend the other a "professional courtesy," bit I am a lawyer... :whistle:
 
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weed131 wrote:
faidutti wrote:
Thanks for the review - and one correction : The Thief cannot steal from the Assassin, because the Assassin has already been revealed, but the Assassin can kill the Thief.


Whether he ever should has been hotly debated in our group.


'should'?

I smell group-think...gulp
 
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Patrick Riley
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markgravitygood wrote:
weed131 wrote:
Whether he ever should has been hotly debated in our group.


'should'?

I smell group-think...gulp


Well, since the Assassin is immune to the Thief, by killing the Thief, the Assassin is (potentially) helping someone else. And that's usually a bad thing. By not targeting the Thief, two players can be affected adversely (potentially) (one killed by the Assassin, one robbed by the Thief). But if you think the player who is doing best is currently the Thief, it's not a bad idea to kill him.
 
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Alex C
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Killing the Thief only makes sense if 1) Like previously stated you believe the person in the lead is the thief, which in that case its more like targeting the lead player instead of the role. 2) You are playing the three player game, in which case each person gets two roles.

My favorite is when I've played a couple of three player games and then the groups size increases and the other two are still using the assasin to kill the thief.
 
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Jim Marshall
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Insightful review. I like the pros and cons at the end - to me these are more interesting than a description of the rules.

I really enjoy Citadels. Your play time seems very long - I wouldn't exopect a hame to last more than 75 minutes, often less with less than 6 or 7 players. I usually play to 7 districts, as I don't think you lose much other than time.

I'm not convinced by the dark city, I think the characters in the base game are perfectly balanced and some combinations using the expansion characters lose that balance. I did once play a game with all the dark city dictricts in the deck (the owner of that copy of the game had shuffled all the cards together and couldn't be bothered to sort out the deck) - what a mess!

The only dark city district card I regularly add is the one where you have to thank the king for calling your turn otherwise you lose iot - genius!

The double-guessing, bluffing, assination, humour, thievery, luck of the draw and genral card sharping is for me what makes the game. It's not a game I'd table with players who only enjoy cerberal spreadsheet-like optimisation puzzles. They may turn their noses up at Citadels, but I certainly don't.
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Benjamin Maggi
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Jim Marshall wrote:
I really enjoy Citadels. Your play time seems very long - I wouldn't exopect a hame to last more than 75 minutes, often less with less than 6 or 7 players. I usually play to 7 districts, as I don't think you lose much other than time.


People never want to be rushed in a game, especially one they just learned. Unfortunately, what they don't see is that the apparent short-term benefit of spending more time to pick characters has a long-term cost of a longer game. Even with a player aid I printed out, players sometimes would take over a minute to choose roles.

Jim Marshall wrote:
I did once play a game with all the dark city dictricts in the deck (the owner of that copy of the game had shuffled all the cards together and couldn't be bothered to sort out the deck) - what a mess!


The game my wife taught without me that lasted three hours had this happen. With so many other cards mixed into the deck, the easy ones to build (and which help to trigger the end-game faster) were diluted.
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Aaron
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Great review for a great game. But I too would not play a game of citadels for that long.
 
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Benjamin Maggi
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Magrot wrote:
But I too would not play a game of citadels for that long.


My point is that you are probably an experienced gamer who can make quick decisions even when your optimal moves are already taken. I wouldn't want to play for that long either, but in a game where others are dragging it I can only rush them so much. Either they go faster or they don't. And since it is my friends I won't just walk away and quit... that isn't right either. Thus, a longer game.
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Jim Marshall wrote:
Insightful review. I like the pros and cons at the end - to me these are more interesting than a description of the rules.

I really enjoy Citadels. Your play time seems very long - I wouldn't exopect a hame to last more than 75 minutes, often less with less than 6 or 7 players. I usually play to 7 districts, as I don't think you lose much other than time.


building 7 districts vs 8 districts makes ALL the difference in the world. In a 7p game, the time difference is easly up to 2 hours vs up to 1.5 hours. If people really do not want a long game, then I'd push for a 6 district finish for 7p to 8p games, and a 7 district finish for 5p to 6p games.
 
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Branko K.
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Benjamin Maggi wrote:

1.) Down Time: my first game with experienced gamers took about 2.5 hours to play to eight districts without too much down time or boredom.
...
If all else fails, use a timer.


This is the absolute biggest drawback of Citadels - if only one person out of six or seven likes to take his/her own sweet time choosing a role, the game will drag. If two do that,the gameplay time easily doubles. More, and everyone will hate both you and the game afterwards. The additional problem is that a player hasn't got a lot to do while the role selection process is going on; you can stare at your cards and look at other people's districts, you can try to guess what other people might choose, but usually you just sit and wait for the cards to get passed around.

My suggestion for the first game - ALWAYS remove extra district cards, ALWAYS play with seven (or even six) districts end-trigger and definitely introduce a timer right away (possibly after the first round) if there is any chance that some of the players will get struck with the AP affliction.

Citadels is 1-1.5h game. Two hours is pushing it. Anything over that would be painful.

Btw one game whose name I see tossed around when the talk is Citadels is Witch's Brew. It has a lot of things in common with Citadels, but it basically fixes one of its main "flaws" - the sequential role selection process. On the other hand it's double the price, double the complexity and the theme might be either too silly or too esoteric for plenty of non-gamers. Still, I'd perhaps recommend it over Citadels in certain scenarios; I feel it's often much more fair and much more fun.
 
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John McKelvy
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Too much down time + randomness = not very satisfying. Most of the game is waiting for other people to do things, and a good percentage of the time, you will get robbed or assasinated, making it impossible to do anything in your own turn. In a 30 minute game - great. Anything over 40 (which will happen with larger groups) is too long. It's entirely possible that one person - through the miscalculations of others - will get locked out of the game without any shot of succeeding. Not fun.

It would be great if someone could figure out a way to make the drafting simultaneous - like 7 wonders. That would be a huge improvement.
 
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Kingbreaker wrote:
Too much down time + randomness = not very satisfying. Most of the game is waiting for other people to do things, and a good percentage of the time, you will get robbed or assasinated, making it impossible to do anything in your own turn. In a 30 minute game - great. Anything over 40 (which will happen with larger groups) is too long. It's entirely possible that one person - through the miscalculations of others - will get locked out of the game without any shot of succeeding. Not fun.

It would be great if someone could figure out a way to make the drafting simultaneous - like 7 wonders. That would be a huge improvement.


Well, not everyone can get robbed or assassinated "a good percentage of the time", so all you need to make sure is the "love" gets spread around and that it's not you Otherwise, it still doesn't help b/c it is customary to complain how badly you got hit by the Thief and/or the Ass.



7 Wonders may be quicker, as even a long game of 7 Wonders does NOT last past an hour 15 minutes (or so. I haven't timed these yet), but it can still feel as relatively long. AFAIK, a quick 7p game of 7W can be as short as half an hour?. It still has the same issue as Citadels since one person who needs longer to think will tie up the game. If 6 of the players know what they want to build and how they're gonna do it, but one player needs 2 minutes to think things through, then everyone else still needs to wait up on that one person.

It's those "speed games" like Bananagrams, Boggle, Zig Zag, and Galaxy Trucker where players who think slowly are punished and the rest of us benefit... without slowing down the game.
 
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Kingbreaker wrote:
Too much down time + randomness = not very satisfying. Most of the game is waiting for other people to do things, and a good percentage of the time, you will get robbed or assasinated...


I'm all for criticizing a game's flaws, but exaggerating is really unnecessary. If you play with a group that chooses roles relatively quickly, and everyone at least tries to use a resemblance of strategy, the game isn't half-bad. Especially for non-gamers.

And as I said, for simultaneous drafting I would definitely recommend Witch's Brew over 7 Wonders. The latter one has a pretty dry theme and low levels of interaction which probably isn't for the crowd Citadels is aiming for.

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