Citadels Board Game Review
Board game remakes and reprints are on the rise, and Citadels is one of those titles that has received a glossy coat of paint, included all previous expansions, and has been relaunched for public consumption. As someone who owned the original in that tiny box, it’s nice to have a complete set of the game to enjoy, and I think it’s a worthwhile upgrade to make.
What I like about Citadels is that it takes the hidden character deduction game to another level with a city building mechanic, and for the most part it works really well. Having all the expansions included – which means you have more than just the original 8 characters to choose from – makes the game more playable as you don’t feel like you are doing the same thing game after game. When comparing this version next to my original version, the cards are better quality, the plastic coins are a step-up to the cardboard coins in my original, and the 3D printed crown is a nice touch for the first player token.
In Citadels, you are building a city by purchasing cards from the centre of the table. And while there is a great role-playing game buried in here, ultimately you need to build city districts so that you can earn points to win the game. On your turn you can either take two gold form the supply for purchase a new card. Cards will have different points attached to them, and having a good variety of cards – some of which have additional benefits – will be key to victory.
The secondary aspect here is the hidden roles you will play. You might have the assassin, allowing you to take someone out. You might be the thief, allowing you to steal someone’s gold. There are over 20 different characters you can be – numbered 1 – 9 – and only a set number will be used each game. You will select a role and pass along the remaining cards to the people around you, until everyone has a role. Not knowing what role people have adds to the intrigue, but when you use a role to derail the plans of an opponent, it is very satisfying.
The reason why I enjoy this game so much is that it balances the two aspects well. In practice, I hate role playing deduction games. Experiences like Coup and Werewolf are terrible, and I have no desire to play them. This hits a bit differently for me, and I enjoy the city building aspect that is arguably more important than the roles you pick, except when they directly help you. Derailing others is great, but you win by building a better city than others, not how many times you ruin someone else’s plan. And because of that, I think people do choose roles that are more beneficial to themselves, as opposed to detrimental to others. There is a great balance.
Citadels is a pretty old game, all things considered, but this new release has brought it back to the table for our weekly board game night. It’s been a few years since my last game of Citadels, but having this upgraded version with the expansions has brought it back to relevancy. Even if you own an older copy of Citadels, this is an excellent upgrade and one worth purchasing. It might just revitalize this game for you!