Citadels is a modern game. At the lead of medieval cities, each player has to build the most beautiful quarters possibles. The game ends when a player has managed to build a fixed number of quarters, generally 8.
To be successful, strategy, ruse and bluff have to be used in order to become rich and thwart enemy's plans. One thing that makes the game original ammong others is its turn system.
Cards of the game are called quarters. Each quarter represents a building, which a player can construct in his city. There exist 5 types of them:
The first four yield money when you play with the adequate character. Quarters of the prestige type don't make you earn any money but often give additional points or special powers that you can use at your turn. IF there is a power, it is in principle usable once per turn, as long as the quarter stays built; if the quarter is destroyed, the brought power is lost in the same time.
Build a quarter in your city costs between 1 and 6 gold coins. You can only build one quarter per turn (except with the architect).
You can read the cost and the power (if there is one) of a given card by pressing the D key when it is selected in the menus of the game.
At each turn, each player chooses to play one of the available characters. Each character gives a specific power, which the player will be able to use when his turn comes.
Some of the characters are ideal to become rich and build quickly; some others are perfect to make up a new hand; and still some others are the best to prevent your opponents from progressing towards the victory.
A complete turn of the game is played in two phases:
- First, each player chooses which character he's going to play this turn.
- Then, each player plays their chosen character; the characters are always played in a fixed predefined order.
The player who owns the crown, initially a player designated at random, begins.
He discards a certain number of conciled characters at random, then draws and shows one of the characters to everybody; this later one won't be played this turn.
He takes the character cards that haven't been discarded in his hand, chooses one of them, keeps the corresponding card, then pass the remaining characters to the next player.
The last player has always a choice between two options, so that no one can exactly know with certainty who tooks which character.
The original characters of the 1st edition of the game, in the order in which they are played, are the following:
- The murderer: at his turn, he can choose to kill another character, who will have his turn completely skipped.
- The thief: he can steal another character; that later will have to give him all his gold when his turn arrives.
- The wizard: he can exchange his cards with those of another player or with the draw pile.
- The king: at the beginning of his turn, he takes the crown, so becoming the first player to choose his character at next turn. Each of his noble quarter built yields gold.
- The bishop: the warlor can't attack him; each reiligious quarter of his city gives him gold.
- The merchant: he automatically earn one gold, as well as each of his commercial quarters.
- The architect: he draws two additional cards and can build up to 3 quarters at his turn.
- The warlor: He can destroy a quarter in the cities of his opponents; each military quarters yields money.
The different characters play in the above order. When come the turn of your character:
- You start your turn by taking either one card or two gold. IF you decide to draw a card, you can in fact choose between the two first at the top of the draw pile, the one you don't pick is discarded.
- You can then use the power of your character, the one of a prestige card previously built, or build a new quarter; none, one or several of these actions, in any order, depending on your possibilities and will.
It is very important to not reveal to other players which character you have chosen before it is actually played. By choosing always the same character, you have chances to become rich and win faster (with the character corresponding to the quarters you have built), but it will be much easier for the others to prevent you from playing (by killing or stealing you).
One of the keys to win, beside trying to guess what your opponents are going to do and break their strategy, is effectively to show as unpredictable as possible.
You can get a quick reminder of the characters and their respective powers by pressing the D key when one of them is selected in the menus.
Victory and end of the game
The game ends when a player has reached the number of built quarters fixed at the beginning of the game, in principle 8; 6 or 7 for quicker games, up to 12 or even 14 for longer games or with less players.
The round currently in progress is run to its end and points are then counted. The warlor can't destroy a building in a completed city and thus can't postpone the end of the game.
Each built quarter is worth as many points as the number of gold coins needed to construct it. Some of the prestige quarters give extra points.
The first player to reach the victory obtains a bonus, as well as the one who has built at least one building of each of the 5 types.
The winner is the player with the greatest number of points and thus the one who built the richest quarters, not necessarily the one who built the greatest number of quarters.
Keyboard shortcuts summary
- D: read the description of a quarter or a character when it is selected in the menus
- C: look at the cards you have in hand
- V: look at the quarters you have built
- Shift+V: see the quarters built by other players
- S: read your score and your current statistics
- Shift+S: read scores and statistics of other players
- E: get other game information (discarded characters, number of cards in the draw pile, etc.)
- T: know whose turn it is