Brief Overview – Coup

pic2016054_mdCoup is a social deduction, bluffing card game designed by Rikki Tahta and distributed by Indie Boards & Cards. It follows in the footsteps of One Night Ultimate Werewolf, but is more reliant on the cards and the various actions that a player may take than on the social aspects of the game like Werewolf. Much like Werewolf or even Love Letter players are eliminated until there is just one player left standing. It is a small game, but I wouldn’t categorize it as “micro”, and it plays in about 15 minutes with 2-6 players.

Brief Overview

Coup begins with each player taking two cards and two coins. Play begins with the start player taking an action, of which there are several options. A player may take a single coin from the bank. They may take two coins from the bank (this is called foreign aid) but this can be blocked if another player holds a Duke. A player may also take a Coup action in which they spend seven coins and choose another player who must discard one of the cards in their hand. If a player has ten or more coins, then they must perform the Coup action. In addition to these general actions, each card in the game has an action associated with it, and a player may take any of these actions, even if they are not holding the card. If a player takes an action without holding the card associated with that action and another player calls them on it, then they must reveal the card to prove that they have it. Then the card is discarded and a new card is drawn. The challenging player must then discard one of their cards as a penalty. If the challenging player was correct, then the active player chooses and discards one of their cards. Actions associated with the cards include taking three coins from the bank, stealing two coins from another player, assassinating a card in someone’s hand, blocking assassination attempts, and so on. When a player discards their last card then they are out for the round, and the last player standing is the winner.

Discussion

I’ll start by saying that while I enjoy these kinds of games, I am not very good at them. My bluffing sensors must be calibrated incorrectly because I always call people out when they are actually holding the card in question, and let them have the action when they really aren’t holding the card. I’ve attempted to make some determinations as to strategy in Coup, and in the end I find that it is probably best to just be very observant because you are essentially trying to determine when people are lying. If you are playing in a distracted environment then you will not pick up on the deceptions as easily, so stay focused. Additionally you want to keep note of which actions each player is taking. Throughout the game each player has only two cards so if they take three coins the first turn and then assassinate someone the second, we know that if they steal two coins on the third turn that one of those three actions was illegal, then we just have to determine which action it was and call them out the next time they take that action.

This is another of those games that can be played in a few minutes between game sessions and such, and it can accommodate a relatively large player count. Like Love Letter, given it’s small size, relatively low price, and quick, easy play I would recommend this game for any group to have on hand.

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