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Go to the Citadels page
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Go to the Valley of the Kings page
21 out of 21 gamers thought this was helpful

You know those gamers, the ones that scoff at you when you bring up Dominion and say the same thing they’ve seen on the internet over and over: “It’s multiplayer solitaire – there’s no player interaction!!1!1!” I know them too…

Now we have a game to whip at their head.

Comparisons to Dominion are inevitable, but they build upon principles Dominion had already put down. The goal of Valley Of The Kings (VOTK) is to have the most victory points by the end of the game. You do this by placing cards in your tomb – which you’re able to do this only once per turn unless you have a card that gives you other chances to do so. You score points by having unique sets of cards and having cards that have point value on them.

The setup for VOTK is simple. Each player gets certain starting cards and the draw pile is split with level II cards and level III cards. Once both the II and III decks are shuffled, II cards go on top of III to form the draw pile. Then you form the Pyramid, the stock cards from which people can buy from. Cards are put from the deck in a pyramid, 1 on top to 3 on the bottom. Players can only buy from the bottom row of cards. When they buy cards from the bottom row, the pyramid “crumbles” and cards slide down accordingly. So it is slightly more thematic than Dominion’s stock piles. Each player draws five cards from their deck to form their hand, and play begins.

Players on their turn can do a couple things. You can buy cards using the gold printed on cards in your hand, use one of your cards’ actions, and you may put one card into your tomb. However, unlike Dominion, you may only do one of the these things per card. For example, I would not be able to use a card for gold value and use its action – I have to choose one or the other. This gives an interesting dynamic and provides a nice give and take.

Which is what a lot of this game is about: a give and take between not just the players, but between the player and his deck. Never has a deck builder had me playing so efficiently in order to win. Most times, by the end of the game, I’m down to five cards total. Entombing cards gets extremely important; especially by the end when players are scrambling to get a few more points. The theme in this case fits the mechanics so well – because you literally can’t take it with you.
It’s also nice that there is a definite end to this game, unlike Dominion where it is set upon who can buy the most. The game ends when there are no more cards in the deck, in the pyramid, and everyone has taken the same amount of turns. Not only does the game end in this finite amount of time (40 min, give or take), but it makes it so whoever has played the best is the winner.

On the downside, this game is a bit heavier than people anticipate it to be (even I was surprised). Newer players may be put off by a learning curve, especially if you aren’t a gamer. Being an efficient deck builder means you run into situations where you might not have gotten some cards you needed and cannot buy the more expensive cards. This can lead to some frustration and sitting around at the end of the game wondering what to do.
If you are prone to analysis paralysis (taking a long time on your turn to think of the right move) this game can stress you out and drag the game out longer. I’ve seen experienced players take their time to figure out what they should. The game presents itself with so many risks/choices that it can make it difficult to move things along with thinking you’ve made a mistake.
Lastly, (and this is a small lastly) the theme in this game can turn some people off. I love this game and I think it could use a little more color than the colors denoting sets. IF you’re like me and don’t mind some of the “ancient” aesthetic the game, has than it’s no problem.

– Deep Game in a small box
– Lots of Choices
– Builds upon Dominion knowledge and improves

– Lots of Choices
– Harder, especially for newer gamers
– Theme can be somewhat dull

Recommended to:

Family: Maybe, if you’re family is looking for that next step from Dominion.
Strategy: Yes. The game lends itself to players who know how to play it.
Social: No. This is a little more serious, less party gameish.
Avid: Yes. Easy to transport to your game groups and doesn’t take up room on your shelf.
Casual: No. Little too heavy.
Power: Maybe. There won’t be tournaments of this, but there are times when you can pound people into the ground with this one.

VERDICT: 8/10 A gamers’ Dominion. At $20, you couldn’t ask for better value.

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55 out of 62 gamers thought this was helpful

I won’t get into the rules of the game, other reviewers have and the review already gave is spot on. Just to get right to it: 🙂

First off, I’ve known gamers who have said this game has been “beaten” by other games by now. Right off the bat, it throws some people there is sometimes waiting between turns (especially if you are assassinated), picking wrong and not have anything really happen on your turn, and a slight snowball effect. It’s here that some of these elements help make Citadels a unique experience.

If you’re playing with people who are a little experienced (i.e. played a game or two) than waiting for your turn does not take so long. Granted, with more than five players, this game can drag a tad bit. Picking the wrong person (e.g. with the thief or the assassin) is half the fun of picking them. And as for a snowball effect, experience will really help solve this.

The game is simple enough that anyone could really learn it in a round or two. There is some knowledge needed of the cards so you aren’t ruining your turn, but this is basic and minimal.
For such a small game with few components, this really does pack depth in its social interaction. Did that person take the thief and plan to steal everything all the gold I’ve gained? Or are they playing it safe and using the merchant to gain a ton of gold this round? The stakes can get pretty high, and it only gets better the more you play it.
One of the areas I think this game shines in truly is its replay ability. Playing with newer people is exciting and unpredictable, but its when playing with people who know the game is where things can get tricky. You’ll find yourself expecting what the other person is expecting so you have to do the unexpected…the game will regularly make you think like this. Not only this, but the base game now comes with a built-in expansion; giving more characters and districts to turn the game around.

This is also an amazing two player game. Spouses: get it for each other.

On the downside, by biggest grief is the quality of the cards. Now, these cards aren’t bad per se, it really depends on the how you and your group play. I know for me people will slap and flick these cards all over the table; and in a game where hidden roles are key, you don’t want the one card that gets used a lot to get jacked up so everyone knows what you’ve taken. Especially when you have expansion cards that don’t see a lot of table time.
For some gamers, getting knocked out of the round because of the assassin is a big deal. Knockouts in rounds happen and you can find yourself sitting there while everyone else takes a turn. I find this fun, but some might see this as annoying.
Although this rule can be tweaked for shorter games, I’ve had some games run a little longer than what it felt it should. To end the game, someone must build eight districts and everyone else gets a turn. What usually happens, whoever has the Warlord will have stopped you from building seven or eight, prolonging the games’ end. It isn’t a huge issue, but sometimes it can be a point for some who are looking for something shorter than this.

-Small game, cheap
-Easy to Learn
-Surprising Depth
-Amazing Two Player Game

-May overstay its welcome
-Cards can’t be too damaged

Verdict: I would recommend this for the two player alone, but it does well with families and some groups. Light and sometimes infuriating in the best ways.

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