Citadels wasn’t the first eurogame I played, but it was the first eurogame I owned. Previously I’d had plenty of experience when I was at school for my undergrad with the likes of Puerto Rico, Settlers, and I once looked at the box for Tigris and Euphrates. I read and heard about citadels when I was figuring out what boardgames to put on a wishlist for my wy wife to get me. Citadels stood out because it was playable with up to 8 players and all the reviews said that the game as whole didn’t drag. Luckily I got it from her and my friends and I have been playing it quite regularly ever since.
The objective in Citadels is to have the citadel worth the most value when the game ends (normally at the end of the round when one of the players builds their 8th district). To build these districts players assume various roles each turn, picking one from a randomly shuffled pile and passing the remaining roles to the next player on their left. On each turn a player can take 2 gold or 2 cards and discard 1 card,use their role’s ability, and build 1 district card. Complexity and strategy arises from the fact that turn order does not follow equally around the table but from the number on each role card and the some of the roles target other roles (and 1 can directly target another player). Some district cards grant their own abilities, but most simply sit there in front of you as victory points worth their value (1 or 2 are worth more than their build cost). Even the most mundane district card worth 1 gold can still have effects as each district card has a color associated with it and various role cards (warlord, merchant, priest, king) give you gold bonuses for having districts with their associated color when you play their role.
The game plays a nice amount of time: 30 minutes for smaller games, to just over an hour for a full 8 player game. Its a great game to play with new people (though they will probably take a whole game to really grasp the goals) and even better within a dedicated playgroup where individual preferences and game history can really stir up some mind games when it comes to picking roles and when it comes to targeting other roles in you hopes of stealing a player’s money with the thief or denying or denying them a turn with the assassin. Its also a really affordable game (30ish dollars), easy to transport since its basically a deck of cards and some chips and has so much replay value. 5 districts out of 5.
My first outing as a DM will be into the Dark Sun campaign setting for D&D. I’ve tired to run games before for Cyberpunk 126.96.36.199 and GURPS, but both times it never got beyond character creations due to my faint grasp on the rules and the role of the game master in those settings. I am by no means a heavily experience D&D player, but by being the rules lawyer, support DM and character optimization for my playgroup for the last year I’ve really gotten comfortable with the D&D rule set. Comfortable enough that I feel that venturing into the task of running a game is feasible.
I approached some online game buddies who had been party to my previous failings and convinced theme hat the third time would actually “be the charm” and things would in fact get off the ground this time. Regular D&D is nice but its all fantasy stereotypes and a bit too much like a magical item candy store for the kind of game I wanted to run. I did some research and it found Dark Sun and instantly fell in love.
The Dark Sun setting is a combination of Dune and your standard nuclear apocalypse wasteland with some magic flavor mixed it. It is a game
world built around the theme of tough choices, gritty combat, and overcoming oppression. It’s about doing some good, but only as much as you can while still making it out alive. My players seem excited and the dice start rolling next week. I’ll be giving recaps of my game sessions and my view on the mechanics as I slip into my new role as DM.
This blog is being created as part of a final class projects for my systems web development class. While that seems to have small connection to gaming, it is the catalyst for this blog and was a great motivation to actually put to text a lot of the ideas, thoughts, and discussions I have about gaming. This blog will feature board game reviews, my take on RPG games like D&D, as well musing on the larger gaming culture and how it affects the games I play.