Citadels is a game of medieval intrigue, nobles, and cities. Players must carefully balance their choice of role and their flow of gold and districts to build the best city, fastest!
From two to seven players.
In the four through seven player game, each player will select a single role each turn. In the two or three player game, each player will take two roles each turn.
At the beginning of each round, the role cards will be shuffled together and a number of them will be randomly removed from play (the exact details of these procedures vary with the number of players in the game). Then the King takes the pile of role cards, chooses one for himself, and passes the rest to the next player in line, who chooses one and passes the rest on, and so on. Once every player has chosen a role, the remaining card is discarded.
The various roles all have a variety of powerful effects on the game. From the Assassin's ability to murder a character (and potentially deny an opponent their turn) to the incredible income boost of the Merchant, each character will be desireable in its own right at various points in the game, depending on your cards and your city. Be wary of choosing the same character too often, though - if you become predictable, you make yourself a target for the Assassin and the Thief!
Beginning with the Assassin and moving in order to the Warlord, the King calls on each character to take his turn. Once their role has been called, players may choose to gather an income of either cards or gold, activate their special character power, and may build one district card from their hand by spending its cost in gold. After the Warlord, the last character, is called, the character cards are returned to the King to be shuffled and a new round begins. Because each round a player may have selected a different role, each turn will be different, and the successful player will have to be both forward-thinking and flexible in her strategy.
As play progresses, each player will build a city comprised of district cards. These cards all have a given value (which is also their cost) and a color - gold buildings represent nobility, green districts have to do with commerce, blue districts are affiliated with the Church, and red buildings are part of the military. Each of the colors of districts interact with characters such as the King, the Merchant, the Bishop, and the Warlord, so the makeup of your city can make those characters more or less attractive. Finally, there are purple districts, which each have their own special power.
Although focusing on a single color can yield impressive income benefits if you are able to select the right character, there is a significant boost in score at the end of the game if you have all five colors represented
When a player builds his eighth district card into his city, the end of the game is nigh. The game continues to the end of the round, and once the Warlord has completed his turn, the game is over. All players total up the value of the districts in their city and receive a bonus for being the first to eight districts, having all five colors represented, and for achieving eight districts before the end of the game. The high-scoring player is the winner!