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In 3 player Citadels, each player chooses 2 characters. I've found I liked picking 2 characters so much that I've modified the game to be able to do it with any number of players. All I had to do was sleeve the all the characters and add my own in with the others. Picking 2 characters makes the game a little quicker, adds more strategy, and makes the game more interesting in general. I'm curious about how some of the characters from the Dark City expansion would work when combined with the characters from the original game instead of substituted. Cards with a star go after cards without, making the wizard kind of like a 3.5 while the magician is just a 3.


Here's what I've got so far for my analysis of the combinations:

Witch and Assassin: No problems that I've found, but this is one combination I'm not 100% sure about. Players get more options to attack their opponents, which keeps everyone on their toes. The assassin goes before the witch, who can't steal his power, so if the witch can always be assassinated if one player is afraid of having their power stolen.

Tax Collector and Thief: No problems, although I never play with the tax collector. Its a fairly good character, but it just adds a drag to the whole game and takes away the fun and intensity.

Wizard and Magician: The wizard is nice because you can steal a card without having to give up whatever is in your hand, but the magician lets you steal more and get rid of those districts you don't want. They don't tend to conflict much, and its interesting to watch the wizard steal back cards the magician took. Do they tend to balance well?

King and Emperor: literally can't be done due to the crown conflict.

Abbot and Bishop: This is where things start to really change. Having 2 blue characters makes blue districts more valuable, especially since there aren't 2 green or 2 yellow characters. I'm a little hesitant to combine them as it throws off the balance of districts. The abbot's actually pretty weak as well. Are there any issues with using both of these?

Alchemist and Merchant: No conflicts, but since the alchemist doesn't get money from green districts it will throw the balance off if you use both blue characters or both red characters. Its pretty interesting to play with both.

Architect and Navigator: No problems at all, fairly different characters that combine well.

Diplomat and Warlord: This was another big one. The diplomat tends to be a bit better than the warlord, even with the house rule that the Warlord gets to take the destroyed district into his hand. The warlord's only good if you don't mind wasting your gold to deter someone else instead of actually helping yourself. Do these combine well?


Would any of these combination have a detrimental affect on the game? How greatly would they change the game? Are my ideas anywhere near accurate?

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2 Answers 2

I think that your statement concerning the combination of the cards is fairly accurate. If I had to do it, I think I would come up with the same result (except the last point that I will develop). But as it has been said, this variant has some drawbacks :

  • Increasing the chances of an attack by adding 3 offensive cards (Witch, Magician, Diplomat) out of 7. In my experience, I love Citadels for everyone want to avoid the dreaded attack at the wrong time that will ruin your game. Increasing the number of offensive cards is not a good point. Again, this is only my opinion, and I have never tried this variant. You may argue that this could be slightly compensated by adding the Artist and the Queen, but you then have to decide how you know that the Queen is next to the King (placement of characters in a player's own courtyard).

  • Modifying the balance between colors. Of course, if you have 4 red buildings, it will be very risky to choose the red characters, but if several players manage to focus on one of the two new "unbalanced" colors, the game will simply shift towards a game of luck : whoever manages to get a huge amount of coins then take the "cards" characters. This is like in the normal game, but will become slightly more hectic (which is not bad per se) and lose some balance in the colors.

  • The King/Emperor, according to me, loses all interest because of the combos for the other two colors (and the fact there are more green buidings). It may depend on the rule for distributing the characters on the next turn of course. As I see it, you have two options : you make players choose a first time for their first character and then a second time. What you can do to reinforce the power of the King is make players choose both characters at the same time, but I'm concerned about the general balance of this method.

  • To avoid the conflict with the King, one could propose that the Emperor picks in Second whatever place he's at. It would also help solving point 1 by adding a non-agressive card.

In conclusion, I would say this variant is certainly interesting but would create some minor balance issues that can be solved by some tricks that I mentionned. But it would be interesting to hear from people that actually have tried something like that.

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It's an interesting idea. I haven't tried this myself, but I'm not certain I'd personally want to. I agree with your assessment that having two characters that benefit blue and red districts but only one that benefit green or yellow could be problematic, mostly because all card draws are random (well, unless you've got a good memory and Magician frequently). However, if you don't use those extra cards, you're disproportionately increasing the percentage of "attack" characters, which seems like it would slow the game down (though, as you say, selecting two characters each turn would speed the game up, so I guess maybe it would even out).

As far as being detrimental, I suppose it depends on what you like about Citadels. I personally think the attacks are at just the right frequency already and wouldn't want to introduce much more chaos into the game than already exists in the design. Then again, if you like the wild swing aspects and your group plays this primarily as a "take that" style game, I'd imagine this would work well.

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