How To Play: Citadel

In Citadels, master character selection, manage resources, and perfect your bluffing skills. Follow a guide covering setup, gameplay, and winning strategies to outwit opponents. Enjoy strategic play, laughter, and clever deception with friends. Includes detailed rules and game components for an informed gaming experience.


Are you ready to master Citadels like a pro? This guide contains an outline of the game rules and the best strategies for winning. After many intense game nights with my friends, I’ve cracked the code to dominating in Citadels. Buckle up as we explore character selection, resource management, and the art of bluffing. Get ready to outwit and outplay everyone at the table!

What’s in the box

  • 66 District cards
  • 7 Character cards
  • 18 Character tokens
  • 30 Gold coins
  • 1 Crown marker
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play Citadel: Rules Summary


Pretend it’s your first board game night. Gather your friends around and follow these steps:

  1. Place the character cards in the center.
  2. Shuffle the district cards and deal four to each player.
  3. Give each player two gold coins to start.
  4. Pick a starting player to be the king.


Each round unfolds in phases, like a well-planned heist:

  1. Character selection: Players draft characters for the round. The king goes first.
  2. Character abilities: Players take turns in the order their characters specify.
  3. Action options: On your turn, either draw cards or take gold.
  4. District building: Spend gold to build districts in your city.


Victory isn’t just sweet; it’s strategic. Follow these criteria:

  1. First, finish your city by building 8 districts.
  2. Then, sum up the value of your districts.
  3. The player with the highest total score wins.

Special Rules & Conditions

Pay attention to these special rules, or face the wrath of the board game gods:

  1. Character abilities: Powers vary and can change the game!
  2. Assassin: Beware! This character can skip someone’s turn.
  3. Thief: Permanently steals gold from other players during the round.

Best Citadel Strategies

Mastering Character Selection in Citadel

Choosing the right character can make or break your game in Citadel. They say, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Well, with great characters come great wins! Here are the keys to mastering character selection:

1. Know Your Role

Understand what each character offers. Are you the type to go for gold or take down foes?

  1. Study each character’s abilities.
  2. Match your choice with your strategy.
  3. Be ready to switch roles as the game evolves.
2. Counter Opponents

Pick characters that disrupt your opponents’ plans. You can turn the tide with the right choice!

  1. Identify opponents’ strengths.
  2. Choose characters that can exploit their weaknesses.
  3. Adapt based on opponents’ character selection.
3. Balance Your Strategy

Mix it up! Don’t stick to one character every round. Keeping your strategy flexible keeps opponents guessing.

  1. Rotate your character choices.
  2. Balance between offense and defense.
  3. Use bluffing to your advantage.

Master Resource Management to Win Citadels

Managing resources efficiently is key to winning Citadels. Here’s how to get it right:

Set Priorities

  1. First, decide what buildings to focus on early.
  2. Second, gather resources that match your strategy.

Keep an Eye on Opponents

  1. Watch their resource pile.
  2. Adjust your strategy based on their actions.

Balance Income and Spending

  1. Save enough for important buildings.
  2. Don’t overspend on low-value assets.

Leverage Character Abilities

  1. Use characters to gain extra resources.
  2. Plan character use to disrupt opponents.

With these tips, you’ll master resource management and claim victory!

Mastering the Art of Bluffing and Deception

Bluffing and deception can make or break your game in Citadel. Here’s how you can outsmart your friends:

Confuse Your Opponents

  1. Switch your play style often. One game aggressive, the next conservative.

  2. Misinformation is key. Drop hints that lead them astray.

Hide Your True Intentions

  1. Pick characters that don’t align with your real strategy.

  2. Build districts that seem out of sync with your goal.

Observe and Adapt

  1. Always watch your opponents closely.

  2. Change tactics based on their actions.

Master the Art of Citadels

So there you have it, all the juicy secrets to outwit your friends in Citadels! Whether you’re carefully selecting characters, managing resources like a pro, or bluffing your way to victory, keep your strategy sharp and your laughter loud. Remember, it’s not just about winning; it’s about having a blast while you’re at it. Now, shuffle those cards and show no mercy—or at least act like it. Happy gaming!

Want to know what we think of Citadel? Read our detailed review of Citadel here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.