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Coup: Rebellion G54» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Coup 2.0 rss

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Matt Steski
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I am a big fan of Coup, with the original game making it to many, many game nights as well as having become a permanent fixture in my office. I've been following Coup: Guatemala 1954 for a little while, and I knew that if I imported any game from Essen, it would have to be this one. With such huge shoes to fill, let's see how this new version stacks up.

Overview:

Coup: Guatemala 1954 is a light bluffing game that plays 3-6 players. Just like the original, players start with two influence cards, each depicting a role and an action they can take. On their turn, players can claim to be any of the 5 roles available and take that action, or they can take one of two "general" actions available to all players.

Actions typically involve gaining money, killing another player or exchanging your cards with some of the unused role cards in the center deck. However, if a player claims to be a certain role, other players may call them out - forcing them to reveal that they have the claimed role, or lose an influence card. Unsuccessfully challenging a player results in losing an influence card of your own, so calling a player out without enough information is quite risky. The last player with influence cards is the winner.

New to Coup: Guatemala 1954 is a variable pool of potential roles. Rather than the fixed 5 roles of Coup, 5 roles will be selected from a pool of 25 possibilities before play. Roles are broken into 4 categories - Finance (get money), Force (kill players), Communications (exchange cards) and Special Interests (wild cards). This allows for variability while still preserving the basic gameplay and balance of the original game.

Components:

The game comes with 3 copies of 25 different roles, some rules explanation cards for detailed explanations, reference cards for each of the roles, "accessory" cards for tracking different effects and a pile of plastic coins.



The card stock is fairly thick, although I sleeved mine immediately so I can't comment on how well they stand up to use. The plastic coins aren't anything fancy, but they sure do make a satisfying "clink" when tossing them in the center for a Coup!



If you're used to the Indie Boards and Cards version of Coup, the art style will be quite a change. I've heard some mixed opinions, but personally I think the watercolor aesthetic is nice and gives the game a distinctive look. My one minor complaint is I wish the action description from the reference cards was also printed on the individual role cards. Overall, there's a lot of stuff in this box, and the components do a fine job.

Score: 8/10


Gameplay:

As mentioned previously, the structure of gameplay has not changed from the original Coup - each player has two influence cards and takes one action on their turn. Players then have the option to challenge that player, or in some cases, claim a counter-action. Last person standing is the victor.

However, the new roles dramatically change how the game is played. The rotating pool of roles does a lot to stop a metagame from forming. After hundreds of plays of the original Coup, the groups I have played with have settled into a somewhat stale set of plays. With constantly shifting combinations of roles, you have to think on your feet and adapt in every game.

Bluffing also becomes more important, for two big reasons.
1) The "Foreign Aid" action from base Coup is no longer present, so you don't want to get stuck without the ability to take any money outside of taking Income.
2) Roles in Guatemala are only blocked by themselves and there are many powerful roles like the Church or the Army that you definitely don't want to be hit by.



One negative aspect I will mention is that Guatemala is somewhat more prone to ending in a stalemate than the original Coup. For example, two players with the "Organized Crime" role both at 5 coins could end up in a situation where their only options are to take 2 coins from the other player, or lose.

However, these situations are fairly rare and the game is so fun and quick that it is easy to overlook this. In the month that I've owned it, this game has skyrocketed to be one of my most played games and has completely revitalized my love for Coup.

Score: 9/10

Theme:

There's a running joke in my groups that this game is "Coup: Disturbing History Lesson edition." Coup: Guatemala 1954 is not a storytelling game, but it is a game where you can say something like "I use the CIA to fund Organized Crime and kill your Missionary." And then you pause and consider the implications of what you just said.

Theme isn't a major focus of Guatemala, but it does come through surprisingly strongly. Some of the roles do a great job of matching gameplay to flavor, like the United Fruit Company (who takes lots of money, but then has to pay out dividends to its shareholders) or the Lawyer (who seizes money from dead players).

Sometimes, you can be surprised by the kinds of stories that turn up. In one recent game, we saw the formation of a "Farmer's Mafia," who first killed the hated Customs Officers who were taxing us, then eliminated anyone who wasn't paying their farming dues, before turning on one another.

In the end, I have to give kudos to Coup: Guatemala 1954 for telling a story with little to work with.

Score: 8/10

Final Opinion:

If you can't tell already, I love this game. It's fast, it's fun, it's everything you loved about the original Coup but it plays differently every time. If you enjoyed the original, I don't think you'll have any regrets about picking this one up.

Pros:
- Tons of replayability
- Forces you to adapt in every round
- Light, fun bluffing game that makes excellent filler

Cons:
- Occasionally prone to stalemate
- Caps at 6 players


Final Score: 9/10
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Robin B
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Great write-up. I'm a big fan of this game and it needs more attention. I thought Coup was pretty good, but this one is fantastic.
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Karl Fast
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I don't see the 6 player limit at a negative. While people often want the game to play with more, that just makes the game take longer than it should. At fifteen minutes this is a good game, and often a great game. At 30 minutes it suffers, in my view, to the point where I don't want to play it. I think it's best with 5-6, and pretty good with 4.
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Karl Fast
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Eggers wrote:
Great write-up. I'm a big fan of this game and it needs more attention. I thought Coup was pretty good, but this one is fantastic.


It should get that attention. The reason it doesn't have more attention is because it had a limited print run for Essen 2014. Given the success of Coup, I expect it will get picked up and reprinted with new artwork for various markets. I, however, am quite glad to have this first printing and the somewhat whimsical artwork, which reminds me of the original.
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Matt Steski
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karlfast wrote:
I don't see the 6 player limit at a negative. While people often want the game to play with more, that just makes the game take longer than it should. At fifteen minutes this is a good game, and often a great game. At 30 minutes it suffers, in my view, to the point where I don't want to play it. I think it's best with 5-6, and pretty good with 4.


I agree that the game plays best with 5-6, but I figured I would mention it for people that were coming from Coup + Reformation, which can play 10.
 
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I'd agree it is best at 5-6, but can't see a real reason it would be unplayable at 8 or even 10? There would just be more downtime (which for a light and pub-friendly game is sometimes a good thing).
 
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Timothy Hunt
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This, along with your earlier comment makes me believe you're playing the game incorrectly.

You will have a deck of 15 cards. With 6 players, you will have 3 cards left in the deck. You cannot play this game with 8 or 10 players.
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Clyde W
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He's probably adding in additional roles at 7-10...
 
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Timothy Hunt
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I was actually wondering if he was playing with the full deck.
 
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Karl Fast
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Playing with more than 6 requires more than 3 copies of each role. With basic coup you would do that by getting two copies of the game. Then you could play with 7-10 people. The same would hold for CG54.

However, the game is designed to play quickly. It is not intended to take more than 15 minutes. Playing with more than 6 players just makes the game take longer. And if you're eliminated quickly you have to wait longer to play again. People always ask about more players, but in my opinion it makes for a bad play experience.

If you have 8 or more you're better off splitting off into groups and playing multiple rounds, with some added rule for moving winners and losers between groups. That is much better than playing one game with 8 people.

This doesn't work with 7 because then you need a group of 3 and another group of 4, and I don't like the game with 3 at all.
 
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All good points, I was just doing terrible maths. For some crazy reason I thought the deck had 25 cards in it.
 
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Karl Fast
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The game includes 25 different roles divided into four categories: force, finance, communications, and special interests. You randomly choose one role from each of the first three, and then randomly choose two from special interests. And then, like Coup, there are three cards in the game for each role.
 
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House Rules
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Looking forward to this!
 
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