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Subject: So I don't like Coup, but I wanted to. rss

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Nic Lewis
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Brighton and Hove
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So after a nice evening of party games including Resistance, a few members of the group head of home and I'm left with myself, my girlfriend and two friends. I bring out Coup eagerly anticipating a good smaller party game. But to my dismay after getting the first game slightly wrong rules wise and then playing a few proper round, we all unanimously agreed that Coup wasn't a good game.

So we all love Resistance, Avalon, Masquerade, Citadels and others, but Coup just didn't bring the enjoyment the other games did. We scoured over the rules, double checked them, then tried to discuss strategies for the game. All we came up with is that as soon as you lose a card, you are doomed to lose. Having the Duke and Ambassador seemed necessary to win, the assassin would never actually kill someone as you either had the Contessa or would have to call the Assassin player's bluff as you knew you would lose anyway.

As the Duke cannot be blocked, it seems that just taxing for a few turns guaranteed that you could knock out another strong player with a Coup.

Another problem was the Challenges, they're just not fun. Unlike other games we've played were being wrong at challenging, such as Masquerade, was a small point loss that doesn't drastically set you back. The fact that in Coup that you are halfway to losing and in no position to regain any chance of being in a commandeering position outweighed the reward of trying to call another's bluff.

My group is all an experienced gaming group, with myself and one of my other friends being very invested in gaming strategy and discussion, we found it to be not frustrating but disappointing that this game with all it's good review and praise doesn't seem to click with our group.

We may just be missing some fundamental part of the game, but after 5 or so goes at it, we left it disappointed and unfulfilled as a "good" party game.

Maybe we're too cautious with challenging, maybe we're too truthful with our hidden characters. Any insights would be appreciated onto anything we're missing about this game? Because I want to like it, but just can't seem to find anything overly fun about it.
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Etienne Pageau
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Gatineau
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Some points I've learned after/trough playing the game:

- Does everyone start with 2 coins as instructed? This allows for an assasination on the second turn, way before the duke has enough coins to make a Coup.

- The Captain should try to always target dukes with his steal action, this way the duke will never/rarelly get enough to do anything useful.

- Do a couple of exchange to go trough the cards in the deck that way you'll know if anyone is lying.

- Always lie on the first round, people are generally too afraid to challenge on the first round.

- Don't be afraid to challenge, worst case you lose and the next game starts earlier.

- Don't overthink anything... I've seen people take this game seriously to the point of analyzing the odds of someone having a specific card. This is a filler game and should be treated as such. In general if anyone takes longer than a couple of seconds per turn they're playing the wrong game.
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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Gameboss wrote:
All we came up with is that as soon as you lose a card, you are doomed to lose.


You should never kill off a 1-card player when you can instead weaken a 2-card player. Part of this is to not be a jerk and remove someone from the game early just because you can, but mostly it's because a living player is another target that other people can attack instead of you.

Quote:
Having the Duke and Ambassador seemed necessary to win, the assassin would never actually kill someone as you either had the Contessa or would have to call the Assassin player's bluff as you knew you would lose anyway.


If someone claims to be a Duke, you should be trying to kill them. Especially other Dukes.

We play with the Inquisitor rather than Ambassador, and it's much more enjoyable. Getting to see someone else's card is great. It's not necessary to have, though, as it only stops someone from stealing from you. With 3 Captains and 3 Inquisitors (or 4 and 4 if you have enough players), there are a LOT of ways to block stealing, so Captains don't typically reveal themselves until late in the game, when many of the defensive roles have been killed already.

We also find that when someone claims Assassin, the defending player will falsely claim to be a Contessa more often than challenging the Assassin. People don't often lie about being an Assassin -- it makes you the top priority target to the entire table.

Now, here are my two problems with Coup.
1: Player elimination and games can take a LONG time if only one player is dead. I hate player elimination.

2: Kingmaking. Lots of Kingmaking. When you have three players left, one will often find themself in a position where it is mathematically impossible for them to win, and all they can do is decide who the winner will be. Then there's "challenging an Assassin" when your last character is being killed by one. If you challenge and succeed, then that's great. Again, we find that people don't lie about having an Assassin because the victim so often challenges the claim. But why not just not challenge it and let that player keep the Assassin? When you eliminate a player from the game, they don't have a stake in who wins anymore, so what do they care if their killer stays powerful? This opens the "honorable players" sort of crap that any discussion about Kingmaking will get to, but it is undeniably part of Coup. If we each have 10 coins and one card, and it's my turn, I know I can't win. There are a lot times like this where there is no way around "I get to pick who wins."

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Jeffrey
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I'd say Coup is a more slow, strategic game than you'll want to play it at first. For instance, I like to gather 1 coin at a time until some blood has been spilled. No reason to make aggressive actions or call people's bluffs early game.

Also, there is some opportunity for some fun out-thinking. If you start with the Captain, take Foreign Aid or Income the first two rounds, and then steal with the Captain. The person you are targeting will be tempted to "call your bluff" since you didn't seem to have Captain on those first two turns.

If you don't like what you have, claim Ambassador on turn one. People don't tend to call that, since they have no reason to disbelieve you.

OR, combine those two ideas. Claim Ambassador, keep or get an Ambassador, but hold on to it for a few turns. Then claim Ambassador again.

But yeah, in general, this is a game where the person with the most cards and money will be targeted, so don't be the target if you don't have to.
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Christian K
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It is okay, there are plenty of games, you don't have to like it i highly enjoy it though, but it is not similar to the resistance or werewolf imo.
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Volker Hirscher
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Same here - we played for the first time yesterday, and played about 10 times. We did not really hate it, but just found it to be not so good...

So, Nic, if you found something out what could have went wrong, I would be interested too
 
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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There's a reddit thread about games that should always and only be played with expansions. Coup's expansion that includes team play is probably pretty high on that list. The team part is really interesting.
 
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Ben Collins
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I'd imagine the team thing would fix a lot of the problems we'd have. Pretty much every game I've played goes the same way:

- Everyone plays Duke / Captain.
- Someone tries to assassinate someone. That person claims Contessa. The Assassin stands down.
- Someone gets enough money to coup, they pick a target at random because there's not enough info to go off as far as who's actually a threat.
- Someone claims inquisitor on the person who just got knocked off. That person is now basically screwed.
- Eventually you get to three people left. The first person who gets enough money to Coup has also basically just lost, because regardless of who they knock off the other person is bound to hit them next turn.

I definitely agree with the comment that as soon as you lose your first card you've basically lost - it also doesn't help that the first coup is basically randomly chosen because nobody has anything to go off. If someone hits you with an Inquisitor at this point you're then completely unable to bluff for the rest of the game.

My takeaway from playing Coup was basically "I think I can see why Mascarade is considered to be a better game."
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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Don't Coup randomly. If someone is calling duke, kill them off. Also, don't kill a weak player -- you need more targets for your enemies to go after (plus being eliminated for no rational reason will make sure people never play again).
 
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I'm far from a Coup expert, but in my experience it qualifies as a "fragile" game. That is, it is highly group dependent and extremely easy to break with suboptimal or frustrated play or a groupthink rut.

Personally I find that the doublethink and triplethink depth of Coup is not worth the time investment or number of "throw away" games you have to slog through to actually have fun. YMMV of course.
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Travis Morton
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Group dependant is true of Love Letter, Werewolf, Bang!, etc.

Coup fails when people leave the intent of the game: fast, light, and mildly thought provoking. If people act randomly, the game will not succeed. We ha e an issue with a girlfriend constantly attacking the boyfriend first. One of them usually dies early because of it.

Also, Twins Variant is rather decent versus random a coups.
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whiskey tango foxtrot
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It's nice to put Love Letter in this group but really, each round lasts about 5-10 minutes and once someone has the lead, everyone should be going after the leader, so there's a decent rubber-banding mechanic built in. We've had coup games last 40 minutes just for the last three to get into a stalemate of "if I act first, I only get to choose who to lose to."
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Travis Morton
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Seldom does anyone of our people choose Income. So they are at the manditory Coup at some point
 
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