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Subject: Can a game this simple be this good? Yes! rss

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Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
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2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
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Ever see the film The Princes Bride? It has one of my favorite scenes of all time in it where The Man in Black and genius Vizzini compete in a battle of wits over two goblets, one with poison. As the scene progresses, Vizzini tells us of his logic back and forth in deciding which goblet contains the poison. He goes on "...so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me. But you would have known I would know that and counted on it! So I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you". Round and round Vizzini goes with his logic in endless circles, trying to decide which wine goblet to drink from. That scene is what it is like to play Citadels!

Citadels is one of the most simple games to be this great I have ever seen. The goal is simple. Build 8 city districts. The districts vary in cost from the cheapo one gold Tavern to things like the rather pricey Wizards Academy. You have many choices to choose from. However choosing what to build and when to build it while on the surface may seem to be the most important part of the game, it is deciding who to be rather than what to build that will decide if you win or lose.

You do this by playing one of 8 (or 9 if you use the expansions) characters. Each character has different attributes that can help you, but which to pick? You could pick the King and get an extra gold piece and first choice of characters next round but your opponent might suspect that you would do that so perhaps you take the assassin and go after your King. In that case you should perhaps take the assassin yourself assuming he will take the King but then he might realize you'd do that so you need to pick the..... Soon you find yourself in the same trap as Vizzini.

Figuring out what to choose and what to do with him when you get them is really what drives this game and what makes it so wonderful because you are doing this every round of play. Even after deciding on your character it doesn't stop there. Each round begins with the previous round's King taking the cards. He lays one face down and 2 face up (if you are playing with 4 players). He then chooses secretly one of the remaining cards and passes them onto the next player who takes one and then passes it on until the last player has two characters to choose and places the final one face down.

Here is where the game is won or lost. If you pick the assassin you must try and decide who might be who as not all characters are in play every round. You may decide to kill the Thief only to find he was the card that nobody chose. It's this endless circle of trying to guess which character your opponent will pick and which were not picked at all that drives this game to be what it is.

Ok, enough of that, how easy does this game play? Rather easy actually. The rules are not much more than 2 or 3 pages and since there is no such thing like combat it's easy to pick the rules up and be playing in 15 minutes with an inexperienced group. I played it first time with 3 experienced gmae players and we quickly got into it with a first game that was mazing in how fun it was considering we were all brand new to the game.

My only complaint about this game is the quality of the components. This is a Silver Line game from Fantasy Flight and as such the qualtiy of the card stock is not the best and in fact for the character cards which get a lot of handeling it's definately not up to the constant handeling these cards will get in this game. I have learned however that the Citadel cards fit very nicely in the card protectors for the CCG Yu-Gi-Oh. So if you decide to pick this game up (and I do recomment it highly) make sure to pick up a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh card protectors. They only cost $3 or so and they will greatly help you preserve the condition of your cards.

I rate this game a 9
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Dave R
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Your openning comparison cought me by surprise. Just yesterday (before reading your review) I went through a mind-wrenching role selection which resulted in my own assassination... That movie scene instantly popped into my head, as I tossed in my rolecard I said "never get into a land war in asia or go up against a Cicilian when death is on the line (gag,toss in rolecard)". Unfortunately, I don't think anybody knew what I was talking about, but it's good to know that I'm not the only one that sees a connection. I enjoyed your review, thanks.
 
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Gabriel Zurita
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That is my favorite movie, I also know what you are speaking of
 
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Will
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mrbeankc wrote:
My only complaint about this game is the quality of the components. This is a Silver Line game from Fantasy Flight and as such the qualtiy of the card stock is not the best and in fact for the character cards which get a lot of handeling it's definately not up to the constant handeling these cards will get in this game. I have learned however that the Citadel cards fit very nicely in the card protectors for the CCG Yu-Gi-Oh. So if you decide to pick this game up (and I do recomment it highly) make sure to pick up a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh card protectors. They only cost $3 or so and they will greatly help you preserve the condition of your cards.
I rate this game a 9

Its my understanding that the newest edition of the game has much improved quality cards as well as coming with the expansion. I'll be getting it hopefully this week and find out
 
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