What: A devious social game about building a city whilst stabbing your friends
Players: 2 – 8
Time: 40-60 minutes
People: People that love a strategy whilst trying to read their friends
Available: Support Best Play and get the Classic edition of Citadels here or the new bigger box version here from Amazon.

The Gist

Why we recommend it

Citadels was my first modern board game and you never forget your first. It’s recently been re-released and I thought that made it the perfect time to talk about this often over looked modern classic.

At it’s simplest this is a game about building a city but what makes it so different to almost any other game is that every turn you get to be someone new.

Maybe you’ll be the Merchant raking up loads of cash this time.

Maybe you’ll be the Architect who can build more quickly

Or maybe you’ll be the Thief and steal all of someones cash.

The thing is there is only one of each character and you take it in turns to choose in secret from an ever shrinking selection. So if you don’t go first, you might not have much a choice.

Let’s say you do get that Thief you coveted, it’s not as simple as just picking your mate with the most cash and taking it off him. That would be far too easy. No if you want to steal from your mate with the most cash you have to guess which character he has chosen.

What makes this game so interesting to me is that decision of who you want to be. Let’s say you are choosing first, you can be anyone you want. Your first instinct is to look at your situation and go with what you need, if you need cash be the Merchant, if you have lots to build be the Architect. Next though your mate gets to choose a character, he’s going to know what’s missing and maybe he just chooses the thief and steals from you before you get a chance to do anything! So maybe call him at his own game, what does he want? He needs cash…send the merchant his way and take that Assassin card to kill him before he gets the chance.

Hang on though, what if he guesses you are going to do that and does something else? ahhhh!

See you want to push your city forward but you need to do as much as possible to avoid the attention of everyone else. Keep a low profile, don’t annoy anyone but can you? Can you really pass up that cash your friend is hoarding. Or maybe you’ve had last pick so many times it’s hard to do what you need, so you need to become the King and get first pick next time.

Eventually you’ll remember actually what you’re supposed to be doing is building your city. Bonus points for variety of course, but that’s just how you win, it’s not the bit you’re going to fall in love with.

For what at first looks to be a very simple game of spending coins to build a city starts to become a game about bluffing and deception it becomes a real social game. Which is what we at Best Play love the most and why despite buying it almost a decade ago it still hits the table regularly..

So if you like something that easy to pick up, with lots of interaction and a decent amount of depth we think Citadels is for you. Oh also if you buy the sparkling new edition it comes with all kinds of new characters to play as, so it will never get dull. Let us know your favourite mix of rogues.

Support Best Play and get the Classic edition of Citadels here or the new bigger box version here from Amazon.