Players - 2
Period - modern
Scale - 1 turn = 1/2 hour, 1 hex = 1/2 mile, unit = small group
1 - 9 x 12" box
1 - 8-page rules booklet
1 - 17 x 22" large hex map of a mixed urban area
1 - sheet of 112 3/4" counters
Counter Manifest (112 total)
Rebel (red on Yellow) Govt (red on green)
Mob 27 10
Irreg. 15 0
Army 4 10
Police 10 20
Tank 2 6
Copter 1 2
Leader 3 1
Guards 0 1
The Publisher Says: "Coup is in the great tradition of the old-style two-player wargames, with hex-map movement. But it's a "beer-and-pretzels" game rather than a hard-core simulation. The emphasis is on taking and holding vital hexes like the Capitol and the Radio Station, rather than destroying enemy units. A game takes about an hour (two hours for the advanced scenario). Repeat play value is very high."
I found a comment by designer Steve Jackson, in a letter to Vindicator magazine from October 1996: "It got good reviews but sold poorly. Perhaps it was never meant to be anything but a minigame."
Comments: Steve Jackson's letter above was prompted by the editor's musings about some games that had been announced as works in progress in early issues of The Space Gamer, Metagaming's house organ, and never actually appeared. Jackson originally announced that he was working on this design in May 1978, and from his description the game basically had not changed in the intervening 13 years. If Coup had come out under the Metagaming banner as one of their $2.95 plastic baggie efforts, or even in the early years of Steve Jackson Games when he released One Page Bulge and Raid on Iran, it might have been better received a little more readily as a short-playing, modest little game. Instead, everything about it physically is like a blown-up "MicroGame": 3/4" counters instead of 1/2"; a larger map with hexes 1" wide to accommodate the counters; a rules book with large type and large semi-amusing drawings by Ben Sargent (who did the "Murphy's Rules" caricatures). And there isn't much more substance than that.
Collector's Note: This game was released long after the market for simple minigames like these had peaked, and the larger and more colourful physical format does not justify the higher price tag. Coup went out of print quickly and copies are not sought after energetically. The review copy was bought on EBay for $9.00, unpunched.