Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game

The Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game has long been a staple in the gaming community, captivating players with its timeless appeal and strategic gameplay. With its origins dating back to the late 1990s, Citadels continues to captivate audiences of all ages, offering a balance of cunning strategy and skillful decision-making.

In this article, we will explore the basic premise and rules of Citadels, as well as examine the connection between strategy and skill that makes it such a compelling game.

At its core, Citadels is a game of city-building and careful planning. Players take on the role of powerful nobles vying for control over a vibrant medieval city. Each turn, they must strategically choose from a varied selection of character cards, each possessing unique abilities and advantages. These characters range from potent magicians to influential kings, each providing different paths to victory.

The key to success in Citadels lies in astute decision-making and foresight. Players must carefully select their characters based on their own objectives while also anticipating the choices of their opponents. Crafting an effective strategy requires balancing short-term gains with long-term goals. With multiple avenues to victory and ever-shifting dynamics, Citadels rewards players who can think several steps ahead while adapting to the unpredictable nature of their rivals’ moves.

Intriguingly complex yet accessible to both novice gamers and seasoned veterans alike, Citadels stands out as a test of strategic acumen that has stood the test of time in the gaming world. As we delve into the history, components, gameplay mechanics, strategies, player feedback, variants/expansions, and online adaptations in this article series, you will gain an in-depth understanding of why Citadels has remained beloved by so many avid board game enthusiasts throughout the years.

Put your skills to the test and discover what it takes to be victorious in this classic strategy board game.

History of Citadels

Citadels has a rich history that dates back to its original release in 2000. Designed by Bruno Faidutti, the game quickly gained popularity among board game enthusiasts and has since become a beloved classic in the gaming community. Its enduring appeal can be attributed to its unique blend of strategy, player interaction, and dynamic gameplay.

The origins of Citadels can be traced back to Faidutti’s earlier game, Ohne Furcht und Adel (known as “Cité” in English). The success of Cité laid the foundation for Citadels, which expanded upon the core mechanics and introduced new elements to enhance the overall gameplay experience. Since its initial release, Citadels has undergone several updates and expansions to keep it fresh and engaging for players.

One significant update to Citadels came in 2016 with the release of the revised edition. This version streamlined some of the rules and introduced new characters, adding more variety and strategic depth to the game. The revised edition also included updated artwork and improved components, enhancing both the visual appeal and tactile quality of the game.

In addition to updates, Citadels has seen various expansions over the years that have further expanded its gameplay options. One notable expansion is “Dark City,” which introduces new district cards and special abilities for characters, adding even more possibilities for players to explore. Other expansions like “The Dark City” and “The Sea Board Expansion” have also been released, each offering unique gameplay elements that further enrich the Citadels experience.

Despite being more than two decades old, Citadels continues to captivate board game enthusiasts around the world. Its enduring popularity can be attributed to its ability to stand the test of time by providing a challenging yet accessible gameplay experience that appeals to both casual gamers and strategy enthusiasts alike. With each update and expansion, Citadels demonstrates its commitment to staying relevant while maintaining its classic charm.

Version Year Released Description
Citadels (Original) 2000 The original version of the game that introduced the core mechanics and gameplay.
Citadels (Revised Edition) 2016 An updated version of the game with streamlined rules, new characters, and improved components.
Dark City Expansion 2005 An expansion that adds new district cards and special abilities for characters.
The Sea Board Expansion 2011 An expansion that introduces a new board featuring coastal regions and additional cards.

Game Components

Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game is known not only for its engaging gameplay but also for the high-quality game components that enhance the overall gaming experience. The game includes various elements that are carefully designed and constructed to provide players with a visually appealing and tactile experience.

One of the key components of Citadels is the deck of character cards. These cards feature unique characters, each with their own special abilities and roles within the game. The artwork on these cards is intricately detailed, immersing players into the medieval fantasy world of Citadels. Additionally, the card stock used for these character cards is sturdy and durable, ensuring that they can withstand repeated use.

In addition to the character cards, Citadels also includes player tokens. These tokens represent each player’s progress in building their city and acquiring resources. The player tokens are made from high-quality materials such as wood or plastic, giving them a satisfying weight and feel when handled during gameplay.

Furthermore, Citadels features gold coins as currency in the game. These coins are made from metal or heavy-duty cardboard, further adding to the immersive experience of handling physical objects during gameplay. The use of tangible coins adds a tactile element to gameplay and enhances the strategic decision-making process as players physically exchange coins for various actions.

Overall, the quality and design of the game components in Citadels greatly contribute to its enduring popularity among board game enthusiasts. The attention to detail in both artwork and materials elevates the overall gaming experience, making it visually stunning while also providing a sense of immersion into the medieval world of Citadels.

Game Components Description
Character Cards Intricately designed cards featuring unique characters with special abilities.
Player Tokens High-quality tokens representing players’ progress in building their cities.
Gold Coins Metal or heavy-duty cardboard coins serving as the game’s currency.

Gameplay Mechanics

Gameplay Mechanics: Dive into the gameplay mechanics of Citadels, including turn structure, character selection, and building strategies. Discuss how each decision made impacts the player’s chances of winning. Give examples of different strategies and their pros and cons.

When playing Citadels, understanding its core gameplay mechanics is essential for success. The game follows a structured turn-based format that revolves around two main phases: action phase and income phase. During the action phase, players take turns choosing characters from a pool of available options. Each character has a unique ability that can affect the game in various ways.

Character selection is a critical aspect of the game as it influences the player’s ability to strategize effectively. Some characters allow players to accumulate more gold, while others provide advantages when constructing buildings or disrupting opponents’ plans. Choosing the right character at the right time can significantly impact a player’s chances of winning.

Another key element of gameplay is building strategies. Throughout the game, players have the opportunity to construct buildings using their accumulated gold. Buildings serve various purposes, such as providing income or granting special abilities. Developing an effective building strategy requires careful consideration of which structures to prioritize and how they align with your chosen character’s abilities.

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There are multiple viable strategies in Citadels, each with its own set of pros and cons. One common approach is focusing on early-game income generation by selecting characters like The Merchant or The Tax Collector to ensure a steady flow of gold. This allows players to quickly accumulate enough resources to construct higher-cost buildings later in the game.

Alternatively, some players prefer a more aggressive approach by selecting characters like The Thief or The Assassin to disrupt opponents’ plans and hinder their progress. While this tactic may provide immediate benefits in impeding other players’ growth, it can also draw attention and retaliation from other participants.

Adapting one’s strategy based on dynamic gameplay situations is crucial during Citadels. Observing the choices and actions of other players can inform decision-making and help players make educated guesses about how to stay ahead. For instance, if one player consistently opts for powerful characters, it may be advantageous to undermine their progress by selecting The Assassin or The Warlord.

In summary, understanding the gameplay mechanics of Citadels is pivotal for success in this classic strategy board game. Mastering character selection, devising effective building strategies, and adapting to opponents’ actions are all key components that impact a player’s chances of winning. By considering different approaches and their associated pros and cons, players can develop their own unique strategies in this engaging and competitive game.

Strategy Guide

Citadels is a game that requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. With the right strategies, players can greatly increase their chances of success. In this section, we will provide a comprehensive strategy guide to help players improve their gameplay and maximize their chances of winning.

1. Effective Character Selection:

One key aspect of Citadels is the selection of characters at the beginning of each round. Each character possesses unique abilities that can significantly impact the game. It is crucial to select characters that align with your overall strategy and take into account the actions of other players. For example, if other players are likely to target you or hinder your progress, consider selecting characters with defensive abilities or those that allow you to retaliate.

2. Card Drafting:

Card drafting is another important aspect of Citadels. Players must carefully choose which cards to draft each round in order to create a successful city and gain necessary resources or abilities. It is recommended to prioritize acquiring cards that generate income or provide additional actions as they can help you accumulate wealth and influence more quickly. Additionally, keep an eye on cards that enable you to disrupt opponents’ plans or protect yourself from potential attacks.

3. Building a Successful City:

Building a well-rounded and efficient city is essential for success in Citadels. Players should aim to construct a diverse range of district types in order to gain various advantages throughout the game. For instance, districts that generate additional income can help fuel further expansion, while districts with special abilities might offer unique advantages over opponents.

4. Adapting Strategies:

A key element of Citadels is being adaptable and responsive to the actions of other players. Pay close attention to what other players are doing and adjust your strategies accordingly. For example, if one player appears overly aggressive in targeting others’ districts, consider prioritizing defensive characters or district cards that provide protection. Similarly, if another player is accumulating a significant amount of wealth, consider strategies to hinder their progress or reduce their income.

By following these tips and tactics in character selection, card drafting, and city-building, players can greatly enhance their gameplay and increase their chances of victory in Citadels. Remember to adapt your strategies based on the actions of other players, as this will often determine the course of the game. Good luck and may your cities flourish.

Player Feedback and Reviews

Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game has received widespread acclaim from the gaming community, with players praising its strategic depth and replay value. Many appreciate that it combines elements of role-playing, city-building, and deduction into a single immersive experience. The game’s emphasis on player interaction and unpredictable outcomes adds a layer of excitement that keeps players engaged throughout each session.

Positive feedback often centers around the game’s ability to foster intense decision-making moments that require foresight and adaptability. Players enjoy the challenge of outsmarting opponents through character selection, card drafting, and clever building strategies. They commend the game for rewarding both calculated risks and careful planning, making every playthrough unique.

Constructive criticism revolves around certain aspects of gameplay that some players find frustrating or unbalanced. For example, some feel that certain character cards are overpowered while others are underwhelming, which can lead to imbalanced gameplay if not addressed during setup or card drafting phases. However, there are various house rules available to mitigate these concerns and offer a more balanced experience.

Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game has managed to captivate a wide range of audiences due to its flexibility in accommodating different playstyles. Casual gamers appreciate its accessible ruleset and shorter playtime options, perfect for quick yet engaging sessions. On the other hand, more experienced strategy enthusiasts are drawn to its complex decision-making processes and opportunities for long-term planning.

Additionally, Citadels has proven to be an excellent choice for social gatherings and group events. Its interactive nature promotes lively discussions, alliances, betrayals, and unexpected twists that create memorable moments for all players involved.

Overall, Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game has garnered high praise from players who enjoy games that reward critical thinking, adaptability, and social interaction. Its enduring popularity within the gaming community can be attributed to its unique blend of mechanics and its ability to cater to a variety of player preferences and skill levels.

Whether you’re a veteran strategist or new to the world of board gaming, Citadels offers an immersive and rewarding experience that will keep you coming back for more.

Variants and Expansions

While the Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game is beloved in its original form, there are also a variety of variants and expansions available that add new layers of gameplay and enhance the overall experience. These variants and expansions provide players with a fresh and exciting take on Citadels, offering new characters, mechanics, and strategies to explore.

Variant 1: The Dark City Expansion

One popular expansion for Citadels is The Dark City Expansion. This expansion introduces a darker theme and adds several new character cards to the game. These new characters come with unique abilities that can shake up the strategies employed by players.

For example, the Witch allows players to swap their role card with another player’s role card, while the Tax Collector allows players to steal gold from other players. The Dark City Expansion adds more depth and unpredictability to the game, making it a favorite among experienced Citadels players looking for added challenge.


  • Introduces new character cards with unique abilities.
  • Adds more strategic options for players.
  • Creates an element of surprise and adaptation.


  • May be overwhelming for new players.
  • Increases complexity and may extend gameplay time.

Variant 2: The Sea Farers Expansion

Another notable expansion for Citadels is The Sea Farers Expansion. This expansion transforms the game into a nautical adventure by introducing ships as a new component. Players can now construct ships along with their buildings, allowing them to explore distant islands and expand their cities across the sea. This expansion adds a whole new layer of strategy, as players must navigate both land and sea to claim victory.


  • Introduces ships as a new component.
  • Expands gameplay beyond city building.
  • Enhances strategic decision-making by introducing navigation mechanics.
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  • Requires additional components (ships) not included in the base game.
  • Can significantly change the dynamics of gameplay.

For players looking for a more complete Citadels experience, it is highly recommended to combine both The Dark City Expansion and The Sea Farers Expansion. This combination allows for a rich and varied gameplay experience with even more options and possibilities. However, it is important to note that these expansions are not essential to enjoying Citadels, as the base game already offers a highly engaging and strategic experience on its own.

Overall, the variants and expansions available for Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game provide additional depth and variety to an already beloved game. Whether players prefer a darker theme with unique character abilities or an adventurous twist with nautical exploration, these expansions offer something for everyone. It is advisable for players to try different combinations of variants and expansions to find their preferred style of gameplay and enjoy Citadels in new and exciting ways.

Online and App Adaptations

With the rise of digital gaming, it is no surprise that Citadels has made its way into the online and app space. Various adaptations of the game are available, allowing players to enjoy Citadels without having to gather around a physical game board. These digital versions offer both advantages and disadvantages compared to playing the physical board game.

One major advantage of playing Citadels digitally is accessibility. Online adaptations of the game allow players to easily find opponents from all over the world, eliminating geographical barriers. This opens up opportunities for players to engage in competitive gameplay with a larger pool of individuals and test their strategies against players with different playstyles.

Another advantage of online and app adaptations is convenience. Players can enjoy Citadels anytime and anywhere without needing to set up a physical game board or carry around bulky components. This makes it perfect for on-the-go gaming or when players want a quick match during breaks or downtime.

However, there are also some drawbacks to playing Citadels digitally. One notable disadvantage is the lack of physical interaction and presence. The social aspect of gathering around a table with friends, revealing character cards, and watching each other’s reactions adds another layer of immersion that may be lost in digital adaptations.

Furthermore, some players may prefer the tactile experience provided by physical components such as handling cards or moving tokens on a real board. Playing digitally removes these sensory elements, which can impact the overall gaming experience for those who appreciate them.

For those interested in trying out digital adaptations of Citadels, there are several options available. Asmodee Digital has developed an official version called “Citadels Classic” available on various platforms such as Steam (for PC), iOS, and Android. This adaptation faithfully recreates the gameplay and offers multiplayer options for both casual and competitive play.

Other platforms like BoardGameArena and Tabletop Simulator also host online versions of Citadels, allowing players to join virtual rooms and play with friends or strangers. These platforms provide a wider range of features, such as AI opponents, customizable game setups, and chat functions to enhance the online gaming experience.


In conclusion, Citadels Classic Strategy Board Game has proven its enduring popularity in the gaming community for good reason. With its engaging gameplay mechanics, strategic depth, and high replayability, it continues to captivate board game enthusiasts of all levels. The game’s basic premise and rules are easy to grasp, yet the connection between strategy and skill adds a layer of complexity that keeps players coming back for more.

Throughout its history, Citadels has remained a beloved choice among gamers. Its ability to withstand the test of time is a testament to its timeless appeal. Over the years, the game has seen significant updates and expansions that have added new layers of gameplay and enhanced the overall experience. These additions ensure that even seasoned players can continue to find fresh challenges and strategies to explore.

The game components of Citadels further elevate the gaming experience. The high-quality design of the cards, player tokens, and other elements contribute to the immersive nature of the game. Each component serves a purpose in both visual aesthetics and functional gameplay mechanics.

With its comprehensive strategy guide, Citadels empowers players to improve their gameplay and make strategic decisions with confidence. The guide offers tips and tactics for effective character selection, card drafting, and building a successful city. Additionally, it provides insights on how to adapt strategies based on others’ actions-an essential skill for any aspiring Citadels champion.

Feedback from the gaming community consistently praises Citadels for its engaging and enjoyable gameplay. Players appreciate how it resonates with different types of gamers while providing a unique experience every time it hits the table. Constructive criticism also helps reinforce areas where further tweaks or adjustments could enhance the overall gaming experience.

For those looking for even more variety in gameplay, there are notable variants and expansions available for Citadels. These additions introduce new elements that add freshness without betraying the core mechanics that make Citadels so beloved.

Finally, while playing Citadels in its physical form is a delight, there are also online and mobile app adaptations available for those who prefer digital gaming. While each format has its advantages and disadvantages, the availability of Citadels through various platforms ensures that no matter the player’s preference, they can still experience the strategic depth and enduring appeal of this classic board game.

Frequently Asked Questions

When did the Citadels board game come out?

The Citadels board game was originally released in 2000 by the German game publisher, Hans im Glück. It was designed by Bruno Faidutti, a renowned French game designer known for his work in creating innovative and engaging tabletop games.

Since its initial release, Citadels has gained popularity and has been reprinted several times with revised editions to refine gameplay mechanics and components.

How many people can play Citadels board game?

Citadels is a game that can accommodate a range of player counts, making it flexible and suitable for various group sizes. The base game itself is designed to be played by 2 to 8 players, which allows for both intimate duels or large gatherings of friends and family.

This flexibility enables players to adjust the dynamics of their gaming sessions based on the number of participants available. Moreover, the ability to adapt the player count makes Citadels accessible to diverse groups of individuals, fostering inclusivity within tabletop gaming communities.

What type of game is Citadels?

Citadels can be categorized as a strategic card-based role-selection game set in a medieval city-state setting. Players take on the roles of influential characters within the city who seek to erect impressive buildings while politically maneuvering for power and resources. The core gameplay revolves around players selecting character cards each round, representing different roles with unique abilities or actions available.

From thieves to kings, each role presents different strategic opportunities and potential advantages depending on the overall objectives of the player at hand. While there is an element of luck involved due to card draws, Citadels predominantly emphasizes strategic decision-making, resource management, diplomacy, and deduction as players navigate their way towards victory.

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