Citadels Deluxe Review:
Bruno Faidutti’s Citadels relaunched as Citadels Deluxe edition late in 2016. Winrider Games decided to include the Dark City expansion and a whole lot of extras into one Deluxe box with the base game, all for less than you would have to spend on them separately (A$45 vs. A$55). And the results, are amazing.
As compared to the 2000 ‘creepier’, more dour Classic version, Winrider Games have produced a lighter, more vibrant and noble theme for Citadels Deluxe. They redesigned the art on the box and cards, upped their graphics, integrated borderless artwork on all the cards, fine tuned the mechanics, rewrote the rulebook, threw out some broken (not designed by Bruno) cards, and brought it all back together into one beautiful package.
This new edition comes with 27 characters, rather than just the original 8, hugely improving replayability. There is now a lot more room for players to tweak the game to their personal preferences. When we sit down to play, everyone starts by insisting on particular characters they want included in the game. This replayability is further enhanced by the 30 unique districts found in Deluxe version, a huge bonus over the original 14 (our gaming group has sometimes included all the unique districts, instead of just 14 – to spice things up a little).
The key brilliance to Citadels is the interaction between players. When characters such as the thief can take your gold, or a magician can target a player hoarding districts, there can be no doubt as to the “take that” element rife within the game mechanics – particularly when the social deduction aspect comes into play. However, this can cause the game to take a turn for the petty, when revenge seekers come a calling. Gamers who prefer to play without this element should probably avoid Citadels as a whole.
I really enjoyed this version of Citadels. It is far more streamlined than the original. However, the one flaw that the Deluxe version has yet to overcome, is the long drafting phase. Contracting analysis paralysis during these moments is fairly common, as the character you choose could be the difference between a good or bad turn. Many a player who has finished their draft can be found staring at their smartphone screens in zombie-like trances while they wait. On the other hand, overall game time has sped up. This is most likely as a result of the changeover from some of the more gimmicky cards (ballroom district), to districts that help you build faster or more efficiently (framework district).
Citadels Deluxe Components:
Citadels is a city-building game, in which you are able to use different characters to help you achieve your goal – having the best city. The game ends when someone has built 7/8 districts, and the person with the fanciest (highest scoring) city wins.
Simply put, score the most points to win. There are 2 phases to Citadels. The first is the drafting phase, in which each player chooses a character to use, starting with the Crowned player. Once everyone has chosen a character (or 2 characters each in 2-3 player games), we move on to the turn phase. Everyone starts the game with 2 gold and 4 districts in hand. On your turn, you first choose to either grab 2 more gold, or draw 2 districts and keep 1. After gathering your resources, you get to build 1 district. You also get to use your character ability as specified on your card.
There are a few different ways to score in Citadels. The first is your districts. Building a low cost district can seem tempting at the start of the game when you are low on gold, but a district that costs 2 gold to build, is only worth 2 points at the end of the game. Similarly, build a 6 gold district, and you have 6 end game points waiting for you. Pretty simple math. Then, there is set collection. Build one of every type of district (noble, religious, trade, military and unique) for 3 points, or be the first to finish your city for 4 points (2 points for coming in second). Lastly, every unique card in the game has a special ability, ranging from giving you extra points for building odd numbered districts, to helping you build at a reduced cost. Use the unique buildings to score big.
If you have your eye on the long game, and someone looks close to finishing their city and bringing about the end game turn, choose Rank 8 characters to possibly destroy one of their districts. Another option is to steal all their district cards with the magician, or their gold with the thief. The possibilities abound with the different characters.
For a more in-depth understanding of how to play, check out our handy links section for the pdf of the rulebook.