Thursday, May 23, 2013

Extra Roles for Citadels: Dark City

I've never used a single card from the "Dark City" expansion included in my Silver Line edition of Citadels. After my big diatribe last time I was going to continue complaining about expansions, but after taking a hard look at these cards my opinion did a hard 180. What am I going to do with myself?

I really need to try some of these out.

Of particular interest:

The Wizard - The original role in this spot, The Magician, allowed you to swap your hand with another player's hand or discard your hand and draw the same number of new cards. The Wizard instead can steal a single card out of a player's hand and even allows you to build it immediately in addition to your normal building action (if you have the funds). This feels very powerful and also works to accelerate the game, since one player could potentially be 2 buildings ahead.

The Emperor - The Emperor changes the rules for assigning the first player crown. Instead of getting it with The King role, now you give it away when you use The Emperor role. And the receiving player has to pay you. In the base game the only way to directly affect players (instead of their roles) was the Magician and the Warlord. I like skimming a little money or a card off of another player, doesn't seem like it would hurt as bad as the first two situations.

The Diplomat - This was the hardest card for me to come to grips with. The Warlord in the base game is my very favorite role. I don't even mind my own building getting burned down (those taverns sure are flammable) as long as action is happening. Well, the Diplomat doesn't burn buildings down, he trades buildings with one of the other players. You pay the difference between costs. Imagine finally being able to attack one of your opponent's huge purple buildings, either one of the extra victory point ones or a powerful effect they've been using all game. With the Warlord it was cost prohibitive, but now every single building I can see being fair game.

I've been dismissive of the anti-Warlord crowd in the past. Being dismissive is fun, and it makes me feel superior. But after thinking hard about the Diplomat for a while, I'm ready to make the switch. Normally the Warlord hurts both players involved a little…you lose some of your gold while the player on the receiving end loses a building. The Diplomat, on the other hand, has the possibility to end games because you can effectively "buy" the exact building you need to win, hopefully with enough value behind it to sneak ahead of everyone else.

Of course, the Assassin will be there to make it hard for anyone who considers the victory "easy" and giving the Assassin another popular role beyond the Merchant or the Architect to inflict his nihilistic tendencies on is probably a plus, too. Usually there is someone in your game group who just loves killing people, they always pick the Assassin, now they have better stuff to go after.

The other roles…Tax Collector, Alchemist, etc…are kinda boring right now. They seem to just be different ways to earn extra cash. But maybe I need to try some of them too.

The biggest fault of Citadels is that it takes too long for what it is. Players sit around and collect gold, building up their buildings and drawing cards. I understand there is a popular variant, its only change reducing the number of buildings for victory from 8 to 7. If I can do that, then add a couple of roles that make the game go even faster, the future will be bright indeed for this gaming classic.

Come to think of it, if they make an expansion like this for Mission: Red Planet I would probably get that too. In a second. My head just expoloded!

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