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Subject: Love Letter vs Coup: Battle of the card-lite fillers. rss

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Just Lucky
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Essen 2012 discussions seemed to be full of the arrival of 2 light fillers based around a small deck of cards. One of these was Love Letter and the other was Coup. Having played both, here are my thoughts in terms of comparisons.

Love letter has 16 cards.
Coup has 15 cards.

Love letter has 15 tokens.
Coup has 50 coins.

In Love Letter you have 2 cards during your turn.
In Coup you have up to 2 cards during your turn.

Love Letter takes 10 minutes play.
Coup takes 10 minutes to play

Love Letter works best when players know all the card abilities.
Coup works best when players know all the card abilities.

Love Letter has 8 different cards to learn.
Coup has 5 different cards to learn.

In Love Letter you can perform 1 of 2 actions on your turn*.
In Coup you can perform 1 of 8 actions on your turn.
(*But often 1 of these actions is illegal or would mean that you lose so you only have 1 action.)

In Love Letter you get to knock your opponents out with guards.
In Coup you get to knock your opponents out with assassins.

In Love Letter you can protect yourself from guards by careful bluffing.
In Coup you can protect yourself from assassins by careful bluffing.

Love Letter plays 2 to 4.
Coup plays 3 to 6.

In Love Letter you can be out of a round before you have a turn (e.g. you are dealt the Princess but someone plays the prince on you before your turn).
In Coup you can be out of a game after your first turn (e.g., someone plays an assasin on their second turn on you and you try to bluff that you have the contessa but they call your bluff).

In Love Letter, the cards you are dealt strongly determine whether you win a round.
In Coup, you can win with any set of starting cards if you bluff well enough.

Love Letter's theme is about wooing a princess.
Coup's theme is about taking over a corupt city state.

Both games are a lot of fun. The is suspence and bluffing in each. But if I could only have one then it would have to be Coup because of the levels of bluff and double bluff involved.



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Martin G
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Nice idea! I agree that Coup is the more psychological game, but I think the sheer fun of Love Letter has it narrowly ahead for me. I love them both though.
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Olivier REIX
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This is an excellent idea.

I did not try Love Letter but Coup is truly excellent.
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Jens Hoppe
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I prefer Love Letter. Coup seems like, I don't know, too much arbitrary guesswork for my tastes.
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Stephen Carter
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Firstly, I own and like both games....

What I find it boils down to is... truth and lies devil

In Love Letter you must be honest and always tell the truth about what is in your hand whereas in Coup you can (and generally do) bluff/lie.

That's not to say that there is no bluffing in Love Letter, it's just more subtle and optional.

With some groups one game will tend to work better than the other. Children for instance may find the bluffing part of coup hard to grasp.
Love letter seems a much lighter game, it is easier to follow and has a faster flow.
Coup feels more interactive, can be quite nasty (which may be appealing for some groups) and needs more concentration to follow the game.

Both are fantastic games.
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David Janik-Jones
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Huge fan of Love Letter here. Everyone I introduce it too loves it as much as I do, so no contest at this end for me. Coup sort of fell flat.
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Warren Smith
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Nice comparison. Thanks!
 
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Rafał Kimla
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Just_Lucky wrote:
In Love Letter you can be out of a round before you have a turn (e.g. you are dealt the Princess but someone plays the prince on you before your turn).


That's bad example, because when someone discards the card because of prince effect, that card ability doesn't count.
 
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Stephen Carter
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wrote:

That's bad example, because when someone discards the card because of prince effect, that card ability doesn't count.



In this case, Just_Lucky is actually correct. You would be out of the game if someone played a prince on your princess. You are out of the round if your pricess is discarded for ANY reason.
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David Dawson
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That was a great rundown, and good idea to do the comparison in that format. But I couldn't help read it in George Carlin's voice because of his "In Baseball, In Football" bit. :D
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Russ Williams
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Epyon91 wrote:
when someone discards the card because of prince effect, that card ability doesn't count.


In the following rules forum thread it was confirmed that discarding the princess, even when caused by the prince, causes you to lose:
Prince causing Princess to be discard?
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Tim
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There's no battle. I got, and love, both!

However, after playing Love Letter again, I would definitely say the deduction element is stronger in that one.

Here's what I posted in my own BGG list about Love Letter:

Quote:

I taught this to my wife today as one of our last games before leaving the con.

Earlier this week I thought, "Simple filler, no real decisions. Cute, but overhyped." So, after explaining the rules to my wife and playing a few cards to the table (3-player game) she suddenly stops and asks, "How many cards of each type?" We point out the reference card and she starts pouring over it. "Awwww," I thought, "She doesn't understand the card powers." Then she looks up after a moment of deep reflection, discards a Guard, and (correctly) accuses me of holding the Baron.

She went on to relentlessly humiliate the two of us round after round. I am seriously reconsidering my stance on this one. It's not a super deep game, but there's much more here than I originally gave it credit for.
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Frank Conradie
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Very nice comparison, but how about adding something about availability?

I know I will be able to buy Love Letter soon as it will be widely available, but as far as I understand Coup is out of print and will not be available any time soon (until some future reprint right?)
 
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Jonathan Harrison
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opticode wrote:
[A]s far as I understand Coup is out of print and will not be available any time soon (until some future reprint right?)

I believe Coup is getting another print run quite soon. I can't disclose the exact details—largely because (1) I don't have them and (2) what I do know was related in a private communication—but I do believe it will be available again soon.
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Having played both yesterday my view is that Coup isn't even worthy of delivering Love Letter's love letter.
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Just Lucky
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It appears that I am in the minority of saying Coup is slightly better than Love Letter.

Is there a way of putting a poll in a discussion like this?
 
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Georgios P.
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Just_Lucky wrote:
Is there a way of putting a poll in a discussion like this?


Is there a point?

Why can't they just be two different, superficially similar games that people can enjoy equally for different reasons?
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Russ Williams
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Just_Lucky wrote:
Is there a way of putting a poll in a discussion like this?

You can create and insert a poll in any forum comment, using the green checkmark button.
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Tim
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Just_Lucky wrote:
It appears that I am in the minority of saying Coup is slightly better than Love Letter.

Is there a way of putting a poll in a discussion like this?


I've played each a number of times. I am also inclined to give Coup the edge. I think Love Letter is probably the better "game" but I have more fun with Coup -- of course I am a big fan of Liar's Dice, Skull & Roses, HOAX (the game most similar to Coup) and other bluffing games of that ilk. Both are great fun though. I'm glad I got both.

I wasn't expecting to see Coup available for sale at BGG.CON. On the first day of the con I saw a booth in the vendor's hall with a sign for the game and stopped to ask about it. It was stuck in Customs in Texas. Luckily the shipment made it by Thursday and I grabbed 2 copies (one to bring home in case anyone in my local group wants a copy). Love Letter sold out in two days, but I still saw a small stack of Coup games on the vendor table Sunday afternoon, so you are probably right to assume we are the minority.
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bruno faidutti
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You ll have to update your comparison when my Mascarade comes out, some times in 2013.... I hope it will be as well received as Coup and Love Letter!
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Just Lucky
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faidutti wrote:
You ll have to update your comparison when my Mascarade comes out, some times in 2013.... I hope it will be as well received as Coup and Love Letter!


Now we are intrigued. Tell us more...
 
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Simon Kwong
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We just had a massive session with both, and feel that Coup is a FAR superior game than Love Letter excelling in almost all areas - not saying love letter is bad, just not as deep or fun as Coup.

Whilst it's fun to use the "guard" to successfully knock a player out, it doesn't quite have the tension of challenging & potentially losing a life, this simple fact alone brings Coup to a whole new level - there's so much more bravado and eying up your opponent and saying "well, if you think I'm lying then CHALLENGE me, come on, you chicken?". Love letter doesn't quite have this element as you can't explicitly "pretend" so by that measure just isn't as fun, and doesn't feel as confrontational. So for me it's more exciting....

As for gameplay, Love Letter gives you less choices as in a lot of cases it's very obvious what you HAVE to play (everyone hates drawing princess on first turn), the most decision you have is picking who to use the guard on, and is more of a "deduction" game than a "bluffing" game - sure you might needlessly discard Contessa to throw your opponent, or pitch a priest against a guard, but this isn't really bluffing. Coup has far more depth as you have a LOT more choices throughout the game, you have to think about psychology when making your move. Coup is BOTH a deduction and bluffing game, Love Letter is more just a deduction game.

Finally, Love Letter lasts a BIT too long for it's own good, we did 3 players and toward the end was getting a bit rinse and repeat - Coup on the other hand is actually very short and very brutal, a game lasts about 10 minutes max with three players whilst Love Letter takes a good 30 minutes for one player to reach 5 points (we did end 4-4-5 so maybe the longest it could be).

Love letter is a good game, though massively over-rated compared to Coup which is similar but so much better. Heck I even bought two copies of LL just cause it was selling out so fast.. but after playing it, just feel it's a little too lite, I give it a 7/10 compared to 9/10 for Coup.
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Scott Agius
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schnapes wrote:

Finally, Love Letter lasts a BIT too long for it's own good, we did 3 players and toward the end was getting a bit rinse and repeat - Coup on the other hand is actually very short and very brutal, a game lasts about 10 minutes max with three players whilst Love Letter takes a good 30 minutes for one player to reach 5 points (we did end 4-4-5 so maybe the longest it could be).


It sounds like Coup is definitely the better game for you and your group but where is the rule to play to 5 points in LL, the AEG version has to 4 and the Japon Brand version plays first to 2, I personally enjoy it best playing to 3, just long enough to try and keep someone back from winning too early but doesn't go on for too long. However, we generally play several games in a row, we find LL to be very addictive and plays with most types of people.

Coup I think would be great with the right group, just like The Resistance, if you try and lure people in who don't have the right mindset for confidence and deception then it doesn't work and thus far I have found the games of Coup to mostly be long and dry where each hand of LL is short and quick, it's addictive to play again and see if you can survive the wave of card draws.
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Jacob Lee
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I only play LL to three points as well. That's the way it should be.
 
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Jonathan Harrison
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agius1520 wrote:
[W]here is the rule to play to 5 points in LL, the AEG version has to 4 and the Japon Brand version plays first to 2, I personally enjoy it best playing to 3, just long enough to try and keep someone back from winning too early but doesn't go on for too long.

Iirc, AEG rules have:

2 players 7 points
3 players 5 points
4 players 4 points

The idea is that whoever gets more than his share of 13 points wins.
 
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