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Flashback Friday - Citadels - Love it or Hate It? Do you Still Play It?

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Citadels

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There Will Be Games

Citadels, by Bruno Faidutti , is one of the earliest role selection games. Although we don't have a single review or discussion of it here on the site other than Ken. B's mini review on the game's directory page , I know it is one that many of you have played. Back in the day, it was recommend to new gamers almost as frequently as Lost Cities.

So what ever happened to it? It is still in print, so people must still be buying it and playing it. How about you?  Do you love it or hate it? Do you still play it?  

There Will Be Games Citadels

Citadels
Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie

Citadels
Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie

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Jexik's Avatar
Jexik replied the topic: #281247 07 Sep 2018 09:47
Still love it. I've played within the last month or so.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #281249 07 Sep 2018 09:57
I haven't played Citadels in about a decade. I liked it whenever we played, but I never felt any great enthusiasm for playing it when it wasn't on the table. The role selection is clever, especially the sequence of the resolution and the interaction between the roles. But it creates a thematic disconnect, so that players can't identify with characters. And yet players tend to gravitate towards selecting the same two characters each game. Not that everybody wants the same two characters, so much as each player tends to alternate between their own favorite pair of characters.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #281250 07 Sep 2018 09:59
Went from hating it to just disliking it. In fact I can't say I've ever really liked any of Bruno Faidutti's games.
Matt Thrower's Avatar
Matt Thrower replied the topic: #281251 07 Sep 2018 10:05
Ooh, this is a good pick for a flashback. Haven't played my copy in ages but I have fun memories of it, just because it can be so nasty. But it's quite possible it's been superceded by more recent titles and I simply haven't noticed.

It's in my locker at work: some people expressed an interest in a lunchtime game club and it seemed a good candidate. But we're always too busy. Not managed a single lunchtime game.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #281254 07 Sep 2018 10:15
After a few more flashback fridays, it might be interesting to discuss whether boardgames in general have advanced to a higher level of quality in the last decade.
GoTeamVenture's Avatar
GoTeamVenture replied the topic: #281255 07 Sep 2018 10:44
I started playing board games more regularly about 10 years ago and Citadels was one of about 20 games my then girlfriend (and now wife) owned so we played it pretty regularly for a while. I really liked it at that time. It's a game I have definitely had less fun playing over time though. I think I would still like playing Citadels if it always wrapped up in 20-30 minutes. Most games of Citadels I have played in the past few years ran about 45-60 minutes and that is way too long. If I am going to play a chaotic hidden role game that lasts about an hour I prefer Mission Red Planet.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #281260 07 Sep 2018 11:43
Citadels if to role selection as Dominion is to deck building.

It's like you teach newbie Citadels and then your like "Okay, got that. Good. Now let's play TI3."
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #281262 07 Sep 2018 12:15
Citadels is part of the lost generation of German games, that no longer suit the modern boardgaming crowd. I enjoyed it, but never felt I had significant control of what was happening around me. When I concluded that that's part of the game's running gear I was fine with it. I don't think gamers now would be as understanding about it.

Good game. Should pull it out again.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #281269 07 Sep 2018 14:42

ChristopherMD wrote: Went from hating it to just disliking it. In fact I can't say I've ever really liked any of Bruno Faidutti's games.


Valley of the Mammoths is his best game -- in fact, I don't even think it's close
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #281270 07 Sep 2018 15:09
Role selection is a mechanic that I’m pretty much always going to find fun, so yes, I like Citadels. It’s been ages since I’ve played it, but I’ve always had fun when I do.

For me personally, what hurt my playing of Citadels is that my wife did the art for Dread Curse by Smirk and Dagger, which, bias aside, is a really great role selection game with lots of fun take that and dicking each other over. Plus, I’m in it. So is my brother, my wife, and my father in law. If we’re going to play a role selection game at our house, it has to be Dread Curse by default.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #281271 07 Sep 2018 15:40
I like Citadels, but many in my group don't, and I understand it. I'd personally rather play Mission Red Planet.
ChristopherMD's Avatar
ChristopherMD replied the topic: #281272 07 Sep 2018 16:08
I really like Witch's Brew as an alternative.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #281274 07 Sep 2018 17:31
I still play it (although I'm not an "old" gamer, so wasn't playing it 10 years ago - I turned my nose up at it then but once my tastes settled down I got hold of it).

Last time I played with my daughter she meta'd me a few times and I was very proud.

I agree with those who say it's just that bit too long.

But I love the meta stuff. I'm sure there are better ones out there but it does its job in our house.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #281275 07 Sep 2018 18:45
I’ve had the same copy of this game since...I dunno, FFG first released it? Actually, I’ve owned it three times...I had Ohne Furcht und Tadel, then the original FFG one, then the slim box one with the expansion.

It’s a good one, but like others here, it’s not something that really gets played any more. I feel like a lot of what it does has been surpassed...even though I don’t like all the social deduction stuff like Coup and all that, I believe most folks would pick up one of those over Citadels these days.
san il defanso's Avatar
san il defanso replied the topic: #281279 07 Sep 2018 20:41
I've had my copy for over a decade now. Like many games from that time I don't play super often, but I don't regret when I do play. I still suggest it from time to time.

The game seems really punitive and random to new players, but experience made the game better for me. Tired of being assassinated and robbed? Then take the assassin and the thief more often. Don't take the architect or the merchant too often. Playing "efficiently" is rarely the right move. Once the table realizes that it makes a big difference, though some groups never figure it out.

Like Bohnanza, it does run a shade too long. Faidutti never equalled this one until Mascarade, which is probably my new favorite game of his now.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #281292 08 Sep 2018 15:17
I've still got my copy from the early 2000s, the original Ohne Furcht und Adel, when I got back into boardgames and most of the games around were the good German games from the 90s and early 00s (before they became soul-less euro poin fests). It used to get played a bit back then as our collections were smaller, it was pretty good in comparison with its peers and I had larger groups then (it's better with five or more) but not these days for the exact opposite of those three reasons. My notes show I played it twice in 2014 but never since.
It is a fun game that can sometimes go a bit long, some days you play to win and other days you play to have fun being a nuisance (prick) picking the Assassin or Thief.
mads b.'s Avatar
mads b. replied the topic: #281294 08 Sep 2018 15:49
I haven't played it in maybe 12 years, but I remember it being fun. I want to teach it to my nine year-old and some of her friends, but they have yet to agree. I remembered it as a short game, but if it runs to 45 minutes I'm not sure it's the right choice.
Erik Twice's Avatar
Erik Twice replied the topic: #281295 08 Sep 2018 16:39
I think it's a great game and I've yet to play any game of its kind that is better. I also like that it's sharp and a bit mean.

It being long sometimes is often a player problem, I think. It's common for a new player at the table or someone who hasn't played in a while to gaze at the cards and "not know what to play", which is the worst kind of analisis paralisis that you can have in a hidden role game.

san il defanso wrote: The game seems really punitive and random to new players, but experience made the game better for me. Tired of being assassinated and robbed? Then take the assassin and the thief more often. Don't take the architect or the merchant too often. Playing "efficiently" is rarely the right move. Once the table realizes that it makes a big difference, though some groups never figure it out.

This is true. As the game developes the should be obviously riskier (more money) and less risky (less money) choices and it's up to you to balance that. I see too many groups just picking up either what is great for them or the obvious "second" choice. They also tend to overpick Assassin because they pick it up not knowing who or what they want to target.
wadenels's Avatar
wadenels replied the topic: #281299 08 Sep 2018 18:54
Love it and still play it. I appreciate games that do one thing and do it well. Citadels does that. It gets out of your way enough that you play the other players as much as the districts you've got.

It can run long with players that don't immediately "get it". It's more about keeping the other players in check than having the perfect tableau, and it's the tableau part that makes most people take too long to choose a role.
birdman37's Avatar
birdman37 replied the topic: #281409 10 Sep 2018 18:18
Still play it regularly, about once every 2 months. Great game.
NeonPeon's Avatar
NeonPeon replied the topic: #281413 10 Sep 2018 19:37
I got my group to try it about twice, years ago...I don't think it was a hit.