Coup is a bluffing game where the object is to eliminate your political opponents. It is very simple, but lots of fun.
To play the game, you only need the deck of cards and the ISKs (money).
Each card has a different character on it. These are, the Duke, the Contessa, the Captain, the Assassin, the Ambassador, and the Inquisitor. Each character has individual actions they can take on their turn or any character can take one of the general actions. The general actions are taking income, taking foreign aid, or paying seven ISKs and staging a coup against another player.
Coups cause a player to discard one of the two character cards in their hand. You win by being the last player with character cards.
Assassins can also eliminate others cards by paying 3 ISKs to assassinate them, but an assassination can be blocked by the Contessa card.
On your turn you say what you are going to do. If you want to perform the action of a specific character, you have to claim that you have the character. This is where bluffing comes in. The other players don’t know what characters you have in your hand, so you could be lying about having that character or not.
If another player thinks you are lying, they can call you out. If they were right, you have to discard one of your cards. However, if they were wrong, they have to discard one of their cards.
For my first round, I was afraid of being called out on bluffing, so I didn’t lie about what I had.
I had the Captain and the Assassin.
I was quite nervous because I was playing with two other players, Aidan, Alice, and Emmett, who were both experienced players.
Luckily, they focused on eliminating each other at first and ignored me.
My plan for the first round was to collect ISKs and attempt to coup the others. I was worried about my assassination attempts being blocked.
Aidan, Alice was the first to be eliminated, so it was down to Emmett and myself.
Emmett couped my assassin, so I was left with the guard. Emmett claimed to have the Duke, and I was too scared of calling them out and being wrong, so we spent a few turns with them collecting three ISKs and me stealing two.
It turned into a race to seven. Because of my Captain, I reached seven before Emmett did and was able to coup them to win my first game.
Unfortunately, I didn’t win any of the rounds after that.
The second round took longer, because Emmett and Aidan, Alice were now no longer just focusing on eliminating each other.
I was dealt the Contessa and the Assassin, which I thought would be a powerful combination. However, my Assassin was couped first and I thought Aidan, Alice was lying about having the Duke and lost my Contessa shortly after.
One of my favorite things about this game is how beautiful the art is. Each character is elaborate and really gives you the feel for the world the game is set in.
However, it seems as though the game has a problem that near the end of a round, it becomes clear who is going to win and it is almost impossible to stop them from winning. I would say that in every round we played, it was easy to predict the winner within five turns of the end.
This made the game a little less fun. We started to lose interest near the end of the round when it was clear who was going to win. There was no point to even finishing the rounds. We did finish them, but the end never differed from what was predicted.
In all, it was a fun game with just one problem that I noticed.
You need to learn how to bluff...
Also, when you are couped YOU get to choose what card you turn up not your opponent. So if you wanted to keep your assassin you can!
Nice review. It is certainly not my impressions that it is clear who wins near the end. It is often a good idea to convince the opponent that you have some card during the early/mid-game and then surprise them with another card (assasin or captain) in the end-game.
The game is often predictable for the last few plays once you get down to two players. This is by design so the game doesn't drag itself out. It is designed to be a short game, and it accelerates as the endgame gets closer.
It's a feature, not a bug.
The end game is where it gets interesting. In a 3 person, 1 influence end game, it becomes advantageous to avoid couping/assassinating someone first because it puts you at a coin disadvantage to the remaining person. I've had some games stalemate at like 5 coins each with no one wanting to make the first move.
In 2 person end games, it becomes a huge bluffing war. You use the information you gave away earlier to try to bait the other person into calling your bluff or to be wary about calling anything. I've lost games where I'm up 6-0 in coins and I've won games where I'm down 0-5. The cards are set up in a way where just because you're at a coin disadvantage, you don't automatically lose. The other person has a Duke? I'll Captain. The other person has an Inquistor? I'll Duke. The other person has a Captain? I'll Duke until I have 3 on my turn and then switch to Assassin.
The game is never really about what card you have in your own hand. It's about what card everyone thinks you have.