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The Citadel of Chaos

(Fighting Fantasy #2)

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  692 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Who knows what monstrous creatures lie in wait in the Citadel of Chaos?

The Citadel holds a dark and dangerous peril for anyone foolhardy enough to venture through its gruesome gates. And yet venture you must, for your mission lies at the heart of the Citadel, with the dread sorceror, Balthus Dire!

Two dice, a pencil and an eraser are all you need to make your journey. YOU
Paperback, 208 pages
Published 1983 by Puffin
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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Jason Koivu
Assassination, sorcerer style, is the name of the game in The Citadel of Chaos!

Steve Jackson has been pumping out these gamebooks for decades. I believe there's something like 60 of them. In them you play an adventurer on a quest that involves a dungeon crawl, a term gamers use to describe an adventure in which your character is going room-to-room through some kind of controlled area, like a dungeon, crypt, catacombs, caves, etc. For the purpose of books like this, which are very much modeled
Leo .
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Balthus Dire! What a sinister character he is. The illustrations in these books are just amazing. Just like the books. I remember playing them as a teen. The warlock of firetop mountain, the forest of doom, the citadel of chaos, freeway fighter and starship traveller; not so good, the city of thieves; one of my favorites... I think I got to number twenty six before I discovered girls. The geek was coming of age. The fantasy genre took a back seat for many years. The angst of teenage years. Oh! ...more
Lady Entropy
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This grade is total, absolute nostalgia induced.
And that's okay.

This was the first Fighting Fantasy book I read, and I fell in love with it, the concept, the goal and the execution (especially because there were so many ways with which to actually defeat the final boss).

Also, I got to be a magic user!
Paul Christensen
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
A game of knifey-knifey and a bottle of two of wine;
A ghostly washerwoman hanging nothing on the line;

The Dog-Ape and the Ganjees and the Wheelies and the Miks;
If you want to get through this one, be prepared for dirty tricks.

Gianfranco Mancini
Aug 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, game-books

Just one of the shortest and toughest FF gamebooks... and an almost endless death count by the damned Gangees made me hate them for good!
David Nichols
Like its predecessor, CITADEL OF CHAOS follows the basic plan of a solitaire dungeon-crawl: break into the fortress-lair of an evil boss monster, defeat his lesser minions and traps, accumulate useful treasures, and kill the Big Bad Guy. CITADEL adds two twists to this narrative. First, players take the role of magic-users, who can cast up to eighteen spells per game from a list of twelve (rather generic) incantations, when and as specific gamebook entries prompt them. Second, rather than the ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my teenage years favourites!
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I always kinda saw this as a cheap imitation of the first book The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, but it is actually a bit different. You get to play around with spells and it has an absurd almost Labyrinth like aesthetic.
I felt like this one gave me a lot of second chances too which was appreciated.
Shane Jeffery
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Okay, so not long ago I read The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, after many years of not touching the Fighting Fantasy books I enjoyed during my youth. I’ve decided to keep going with the series. The follow, The Citadel of Chaos, came out a year later (along with books 3 – 5). As surprised as I was to find how much I enjoyed Firetop after all these years, I was equally surprised to find that Citadel didn’t even begin to live up to expectation.

This one was written by Jackson alone (without
More nostalgia as I dug out this follow-up to THE WARLOCK OF FIRETOP MOUNTAIN to see how it's held up all these years. These are the books I absolutely loved as a kid (and ones which gave me a life-long love of fantasy).

CITADEL is short but effective. The plot is virtually the same as in WARLOCK, except this time you need to infiltrate a citadel instead of a mountain. Once again the aim is assassination, with the excellently-named 'Balthus Dire' your main target.

There are a few differences,
Melissa **Just Really Loves Musicals**
I used to love fighting fantasy books as a child, so when I visited my old childhood home and was perusing a cupboard with lots of my old things, I was very excited to find these books.

This was a quick, fun adventure book and it has so many different paths and choices so you can read it multiple times. I don't read it and play properly with dice, so maybe I'm a cheater. But either way I really enjoyed going back and doing this again. I will definitely be playing/reading the rest too.
David Sarkies
Jun 10, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gamer Geeks
Recommended to David by: Initially my primary school bookclub, and then I just kept buying them
Shelves: gamebook
An apprentice wizard goes off to assassinate some powerful sorcerer
10 June 2012

This is the second of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and it seems to have been designed differently to the first one. The most noticeable difference is that I do not think that this book is designed to be mapped. The reason that I say this is that the book seems to be more of a collection of encounters inside a citadel rather than actually being able to explore the citadel. In fact, mapping this particular gamebook
May 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young adults, gamers, choose-your-own-adventure fans
Having greatly enjoyed re-living my old Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks as I went through them for goodreads reviews, I decided to go ahead and fill in the gaps by picking up new copies of the ones I never played as a kid. This, being the earliest one, was the first I tackled.

It seems to me to have some weaknesses compared to later installments in the series, which is perhaps not surprising for a sophomore effort. The main thing I noticed is that it relies more heavily on good die rolls than most of
Nicholas Smith
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To say I was obsessed with gamebooks as a lad is something of an understatement but I have only rarely picked one as an adult. As a consequence, it is many years since I had attempted this book but it is a belter. The art is great, the writing precise and lots of twists and turns. I failed a few times but was enjoying enough to persevere and hit the magic section 400. For those with fond memories but little time, skip firetop mountain and start here. Highly recommended.
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
Another great one, circa 1985!
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Part story, part game, this Is a book with a difference, one in which YOU become the hero!
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, comics
I love these type of books.
Rob P.
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
God I loved these as a child. Hell, I'd probably still love them now..
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Full playthrough and review at

This book is the second in the Fighting Fantasy series after The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Again we have a classic plot, albeit one which is more fleshed out than TWoFM’s. This time we have a believable backstory, a real villain, and a potential hero with a real motivation for taking said villain down (well, a motivation beyond ‘ooh shinies’). The environment itself made more sense, with rooms appearing to have a purpose rather than
Michael Kelly
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Fighting Fantasy gamebook I ever got, over 25 years ago, and I was hooked.

It took me several attempts to complete it back then and it took me several attempts again this time. Those damned Ganjees kept stumping me back in the day, and I couldn't remember this time round how to deal with them until I finally found an object that would do the trick.

There are a lot of branching paths, but there are a couple of places you have to visit and a couple of items you have to obtain in
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Retrofantasy from the 80's. This is a classic dungeon crawl in the old style with a simple story and not much plot. Kill the evil sorceror who lives at the end of the dungeon. Still it's mildly entertaining and reminds me of old style text adventures games like Zork.

Plus: Very good illustrations (besides the cover which look an 5 year old has drawn it, and it was changed in later editions).
Some funny deaths. Strangled by a curtain, really?
You can choose to join the evil side.
The combination that
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally had to tap out and let Balthus Dire do his thing. I hate these books because they are a challenge where you have to find that sweet spot of good choice combinations and die rolls to make it to the end, but I also like them for the same reasons. I gave this adventure several runs, but in the end I think frustration finally bested me (it took so long to make it past those damn Gangess and then there was getting past the Hydra and then that combination lock and I just decided that my ...more
Alexander Draganov
A little bit too similar to "Warlock of the Firetop Mountain", but with some exciting new rules. Very hard - new readers as well as old ones might be shocked to find that even cheating with the rules is a no guarantee for victory.
Review in Bulgarian here:
It's a Garrawilla thing!
Oct 12, 2009 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Dug this out of my basement after a friend of mine mentioned using a similar sort of game idea/mechanic for his Nanowrimo project this year. Really interesting game/book hybrid - like a mix of Choose Your Own Adventure and D&D.
Mar 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk-food-lit
Another Steve Jackson classic reprint. I don't know if others would enjoy this one as much as I did - for me it's now mostly nostalgia factor of the Woonsocket Public Library of the mid-to-late-1980s.
Dane Barrett
This was the first Fighting Fantasy book to includes spells as a character feature. Choosing the right spells was part of the fun trial and error of the book.

Far more instant death/failure possibilities than The Warlock of Firetop Mountain. If you know the best path through the Citadel you can actually make it through the entire book with the worst stats possible.

The main story element sees you on an assassination mission rather than searching for treasure or performing another type of mission.
Paul Gibbons
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Met some nasty deaths in this one. My ass royally stomped by some weird ass creatures. Liked the idea of using spells but this one was very hard to beat. Spider with a man face ? - Ganjees ? wtf? - I liked it but found it a bit brutal. You'll get bored of re-rolling your character sheet before you finish it.
Looking back at this book brings back a lot of memories.This was the
first Fighting Fantasy book I read when I was a kid(way back in 1984)
It took me three attempts to complete it,still enjoyed though.
I enjoyed this book. It is not my favorite fighting fantasy, but it is not bad. I feel like it is slightly shorter than the rest of the books from the series, but that did not bother me, since I was actually looking for something short.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

British game designer, often confused with the American game designer of the same name.

Along with Ian Livingstone, creator of the Fighting Fantasy books.

Other books in the series

Fighting Fantasy (1 - 10 of 60 books)
  • The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy: Reissues 1, #1)
  • Forest of Doom (Fighting Fantasy: Reissues 1, #8)
  • Starship Traveller (Fighting Fantasy, Reissues 1, #4)
  • City of Thieves (Fighting Fantasy, #5)
  • Deathtrap Dungeon (Fighting Fantasy, #6)
  • Island of the Lizard King (Fighting Fantasy, #7)
  • Scorpion Swamp (Fighting Fantasy, #8)
  • Caverns of the Snow Witch (Fighting Fantasy, #9)
  • House of Hell (Fighting Fantasy, #10)
  • Talisman of Death (Fighting Fantasy: Reissues 1, #24)