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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > October 2019 (#35) > How we made Citadels

How we made Citadels

Bruno Faidutti drew on a love of Catan, Magic and Cosmic Encounter to create this sharp game of bluing and city-building. the designer reveals how a Marxist upbringing and being ‘too lazy to write a book’ led to his biggest hit

Released in 2000, card game Citadels is revered by its fans for its blend of careful planning and ruthless opportunism. It puts players in the shoes of medieval power brokers competing to recruit the services of a cast of characters – from thieves and assassins to monarchs and magicians – as they battle to build thriving cities.

In a tabletop hobby where thousands of new games land on shop shelves every year, it’s remained a firm favourite with players almost 20 years after its debut. We spoke to its creator, French designer Bruno Faidutti, about the inspiration behind the game and how it became a global hit.


Unlike many game makers, who trace their love of the hobby back to childhood, Bruno Faidutti didn’t discover tabletop gaming until he was an adult. “I didn’t play games very much as a kid,” he reveals.

“I had a mostly Marxist upbringing in which games were considered to be of little social utility. I only really discovered gaming when I was around 20, and almost at once I got into board games, roleplaying and poker.

“This was in the early ‘80s, and the few board games my group actually knew about were a mix of American-style games and the very first German games, which people hadn’t started calling ‘Eurogames’ yet.

“I was involved in what was probably the bestinformed and most eclectic French board-gaming group in the early ‘80s. My favourite game was Cosmic Encounter, but we also played games like Britannia or Junta regularly, and a few of the very frst Eurogames like Kuhhandel [You’re Bluinng!], Hare & Tortoise and Scotland Yard.”

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