Originally posted here http://www.bestplay.co/best-play-recommends-coup/
Best Play Recommends: Coup
What: A lightweight game of politics and death
Players: Up to six
Time: 10-20 minutes per round
People: Almost anyone, better with adults
Why we recommend it
In many ways, Coup sums up what Best Play is all about.
It’s a simple game, and doesn’t cost much money. It only has a few bits too: 15 cards and a small stack of currency.
Lightweight and portable, Coup only takes about 10-20 minutes to play each round. In essence, it’s a brilliant gateway drug to lure in those apprehensive people uncertain or unwilling to give board games a try.
Playable in a pub or at home; with seasoned veterans or with newbie relatives, Coup casts players as two characters in a futuristic government.
The two characters each player controls are drawn randomly, and they all do different things. Some might be able to generate more income, while others can steal money from others. One even gives players the chance to assassinate other members of the court.
The point, of course, is to be the last representative left intact. Everyone can pay seven coins to coup another player, meaning backstabbing (and frontstabbing) is inevitable. Short term alliances will eventually subside into full-blooded conflict.
Now, you might have worked out that this seems like an unfair game. If you cant choose whch characters you are, isn’t it quite boring and unbalanced?
Well that’s where Coup gets interesting.
If you want to steal money from another player, then you’ll have to be the captain. But perhaps you got dealt a Contessa and an Assassin. What to do?
Just say you’re the captain and grab two coins from the player that looks like they’re richest. Look ‘em in the eye, declare it out loud and reach over for your coins. “I’m the captain”.
Do it unconvincingly or otherwise get trapped in a web of lies, and the other players can call you out. Get caught, and your character gets evacuated from the court. You’re down to just one representative.
Next up, someone bullishly claims to be the duke and uses his special ability to take three coins. So does the next player. And the next. And the next. With only three Dukes in the game, someone is definitely lying.
You go for it. “Bullshit!”, you cry.
The card is turned.
It’s the duke.
Time for you to lose a card for the false accusation. The other player is upset at your claims and they use their new-found wealth to pay the fees and finish you off.
You’ve just been Couped.
Hopefully you can see what kind of game Coup is. Quick, easy and just the right a mount of psychology mixed with mechanics, it’s the kind of game anyone can play.
At Best Play we often use it as a short game to break up the play in a games night, in between heavier games. You could think of it as the aperitif of board games, a bit like Love Letter, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Secret Hitler or Deep Sea Adventure.
It’s a decent game to bolster out your collection, and comes recommended for almost everyone.
Lost in thought.
Thanks for the enjoyable write up and video. You summed up the game play of Coup rather well.