Type Set Collecting Card Game
Difficulty Moderate
Setting Fantasy, Historical
Year Published 2000
Suggested Players 2-7
Publisher Fantasy Flight
Expansions The Dark City


In Citadels, each player leads a city and seeks to increase its prosperity by building new city districts. The game ends after one player has built his eighth district, after which a winner is determined by how many points his completed city is worth.

Building the most impressive city, however, is not an easy task. Only by influencing nobles, merchants, and other powerful characters of the realm will you achieve success.


  • 18 character cards
  • 80 district cards
  • 8 reference cards
  • 30 gold counters
  • 1 wooden Crown marker
  • This rulebook

District CardsEdit

These cards represent the various districts that you can add to your city. Each district card has a cost, represented by a number of gold coins along the card's left edge. In order to put a district card into play, you must pay its cost in gold.

Each district card also exhibits a coloured circle on its bottom left-hand corner, which tells you what type of district it is:

Types of District and Their Colour

Colour Type
Yellow Noble (King's Income)
Blue Religious (Bishop's Income)
Green Trade (Merchant's Income)
Red Military (Warlord's Income)
Purple Special (special benefits described on the card itself)

Fourteen of the purple district cards are bonus cards marked by a white star. Before you play your first game, remove these cards. Rules for how to use the bonus district cards are found later.

Character CardsEdit

These cards represent the characters that players seek to influence during every game round. There are eight basic characters in Citadels, but in the most recent edition you will also find 10 additional bonus character cards marked by a white star. These bonus characters are not used in the basic game. Before you play your first game, remove these cards. We will teach you how to use them later.

In addition to a special ability, each character card has a rank number between one and nine. This number is printed on the upper left-hand side of the card.

Reference CardsEdit

Each player takes one of these cards at the beginning of the game. They are useful for gameplay, especially during your first few games.

Gold CountersEdit

These represent the gold needed to build district cards. Place them on the table in a central "bank" at the beginning of the game.

The Wooden Crown MarkerEdit

The player with the Crown is the first player to choose a character card during the next round. The Crown switches owners whenever another player chooses the King character.

Setting Up The Basic GameEdit

To prepare Citadels for play, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the bonus character and district cards (marked by a white star).
  2. Shuffle the eight remaining character cards together into one deck. this is called the Character Deck.
  3. Shuffle the remaining district cards together into one deck. This is called the District Deck.
  4. Each player is then dealt four random district cards from the District Deck.
  5. Each player receives two gold from the bank.
  6. The oldest player receives the Crown.

Playing the GameEdit

Playing the game with 4-6 players is described below. If you are playing with 2, 3 or 7 players, see the special rules. Citadels is played over a series of rounds; each round has four steps.

Step One: Remove CharactersEdit

First draw one random card from the Character Deck and set it facedown in the center of the table without looking at it. this card will not be used this round.

Then draw a second set of cards from the Character Deck and set them faceup in the middle of the table (the number of such faceup cards depends on the number of players, see following table). These faceup cards will not be used this round.

Special Rule: If you draw the King character to be faceup, immediately replace it with another random card from the Character Deck, and then shuffle the King back into the Character Deck.

Faceup Cards for 4-7 Players

Number of players Number of faceup cards
4 2
5 1
6-7 0

Step Two: Choose CharactersEdit

The player who currently possesses the Crown now takes the Character Deck, looks at the cards, and secretly chooses a character from those available. He then passes the remaining character cards to the player on his left, who also secretly chooses a card and passes the remaining cards to the left, etc. This process continues until each player has chosen one card from the Character Deck. After the last player has chosen, the single remaining unchosen card is placed facedown in the center of the table. (What does this mean? Do you keep drawing cards until they run out? How do you get a single remaining card?) 

Step Three: Player TurnsEdit

Once all players have chosen a character card, the player who has the Crown now calls out the name of each character one-at-a-time in the order of numerical rank. In this way, he first calls out the "Assassin" (#1), then the "Thief" (#2), etc. If no player reveals that character when called, simply call out the next character in rank order.

When the name of your character card is called, you must reveal your character card, place it faceup in front of you, and take your turn. When your turn is over, the player with the Crown calls the name of the next character card. In this manner, play proceeds to every character in order of their rank number, giving all players one turn (unless murdered by the Assassin, of course)

On Your Turn

On your turn, you must take an action, after which you may build a district card.

1 ) Take an Action: At the beginning of your turn, you must do one of the following:

  • Take two gold from the bank, or
  • Draw two district cards from the District Deck, choose one card to put in your hand, and place the other card on the bottom of the District Deck.

2 ) Build a District Card: After you have taken an action, you may build one district card in your city (that is, play it from your hand onto the table in front of you). In order to do so, you must pay the cost of the district, in gold, to the bank. You may choose not to build a district card if you wish.

The gold cost of building a district card is equal to the number of gold coins printed on the upper left-hand side of the card.

You may not build a district such that you have two identical districts (two "Castle" cards, two "Market" cards, etc.) in your city.

Characters and Their Special Abilities

Each character has a special ability, also called its power. You may use your character's power once during your turn. Each character's special power is summarised on its respective card and explained in detail at the end of these rules. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the detailed powers before playing your first game. 

Step Four: End of RoundEdit

After all the characters have been called, each player returns his character card to the Character Deck, which is shuffled, and a new round begins.

Game EndEdit

When a player builds his eighth district, the game ends after the current round is completed. Use this scoring process to determine how many points each player receives:

A player receieves 

Other RulesEdit

Two or Three Player GamesEdit

The Two-Player GameEdit

The Three-Player GameEdit

The Seven-Player GameEdit

Shorter GameEdit

Bonus CardsEdit

Bonus CharactersEdit

Bonus DistrictsEdit

District CardsEdit

Bell TowerEdit

Observatory & LibraryEdit

Quarry Edit


The CharactersEdit

Bonus Characters