Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time is a co-operative game where the players are attempting to steal valuable historical artifacts, but they’re actually the good guys as you’re taking them from the titular Professor Evil.
It’s light, fast and can cause screams of great annoyance (in the best possible way). It’s by Funforge, the team behind titles such as Tokaido and Warehouse 51, and can seat up to five players - although there are no problems with two player.
How To Play Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time
The game is played over a large board which illustrates one level of the Citadel of Time, with the middle being the giant clock you will move counters around. The level is divided into a series of rooms (like an even more dangerous Cluedo), and you start the game by randomly placing a ‘switch’ token in each room.
These switches operate the defence mechanisms of the citadel, including cameras, lasers and giant buzzsaws (although it’s worth noting that no one can die). Then the professor is placed in his room, and three treasure cards are randomly selected and placed in the rooms of the citadel.
Each player then becomes members of a crack team who need to enter the citadel and steal back these great treasures from history before the Professor locks them deep in a vault forever. You spend your actions moving through the citadel, opening doors and turning off switches. Each treasure has a required number of switches to be turned off (e.g. the datapad and both lasers), so you sneak through the citadel, into rooms that let you turn off the switches, then go to the room with the treasure and take it. When you’ve taken four treasures you’ve won. Actions cards are drawn, and allow special actions.
So what are you up against? The Professor moves randomly, as dictated by a roll of the dice, and he closes doors and turns on switches behind him as he goes. If he enters a room with a player, then the player flees and restarts outside. That would be tricky enough, but this is the citadel of time. Every treasure drawn has a marker placed on the clock in the middle, and every player has to roll a series of dice which decide what the hands of this clock do: normally move forward.
Players have cards with skills that can move the clock back, but the real enemy in this game is rescuing the treasures before the clock’s hands reach the markers, and that’s when the Professor vanishes the item. If you lose four, you lose the game.
Luck and Chaos
What this means is Professor Evil and the Citadel of Time is a fast paced and light game, all about rushing around the citadel, discussing with your fellow players what switches and treasures to aim for, and begging whichever gods of luck you follow to give you the right dice for the Professor and the clock.
Luck plays an enormous role in this game, and that’s going to annoy some people (usually me), but I see the good in this: there is nothing wrong with not being able to predict what the Professor does, because he is a lord of evil after all, and the clock mechanism, as fiendish and annoying as those dice can become, is what drives this forward and keeps the tension up. You will almost inevitably lose treasures, but can you get enough to win?
Build quality is good, but this comes from someone who’s happy with cardboard standees for the figures rather than miniatures, and it’s a visual treat, although it can take a few plays to instantly know what room is where. The game comes with a ready provided randomisation system via a deck of cards, and everything has been well thought through. It’s just that the luck is going to be very group dependent.