Players seek to build a collection of districts worth from one to eight points. Once someone has built eight districts, the game is over after that round ends and the player with the highest total value wins. However to facilitate the process (and make the game interesting), players sequentially choose a character from a rapidly dwindling pool of eight each turn. The characters give players special abilities for the turn.
Citadels had a separate expansion, Citadels: The Dark City Expansion, but the new (3rd Edition) Fantasy Flight editions come with the expansion included (the Hans im Glück tin box also included it). With the newer version that includes Dark City, or the Dark City expansion purchased separately, this game can take 2 to 8 players.
A second edition of the German version of the game came in a tin box and included the Dark City expansion as well as three additional cards. It is separately listed at Ohne Furcht und Adel - inkl. Die dunklen Lande - Special Edition Tin Box.
Citadels is a role-based card game where players are racing to be the most prosperous city by building districts into your own city and possibly sabotaging the efforts of your rivals. There are 8 different roles in the game, each offering a different power including, causing another role to lose its turn, stealing money from another role, swap hands with another player, get first pick of roles, protection, earn extra gold, build 2 districts in one turn, and destroy a rival's district. Each turn the King shuffles the roles, discards 1-3 roles at random (one face down), then chooses from the remainder; each player then chooses a role from the remaining roles. Each player acts in the order of their role which are numbered 1-8, with the lowest number going first. In addition to acting on their special powers players must decide to either collect 2 gold or draw cards on their turn, then they have the option to spend their gold to build a new district. The game ends when a player has built their 8th district at which time the value of each district is calculated and the player with the most points wins.
Citadels is a lighter strategy game and once all the players know what each role does the game plays fast. The hardest choice players have is choosing which role they want from those available. The roles are varied enough in power that no one role is superior to another in the long run. Player interaction is limited to affecting another role (not player), with the notable exception of the ability to pay gold to destroy rival's district. The distinction between stealing from a role and a player keeps the game from having a "take that" attitude, as you don't know who picked which roles until it is that role's turn to act.