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Subject: Ten Things to Like - And Five Things to Dislike - About Coup rss

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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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Coup is a simple game of bluffing. At the start of the game, each player is dealt two face-down influence cards, each of which depicts a particular role (Duke, Assassin, Contessa, etc.), as well as a reference card that depicts what each role does (as well as a few basic abilities). On your turn, you can choose any of the possible actions in the game, whether you have that particular influence card or not. If you're bluffing that you have a particular role and someone calls you on that bluff, you lose one of your influence cards; the last person with an influence card is the winner of the game. It's a smll box card game for two to six players.



Ten Things to Like About Coup

1. Options aren't restricted by cards in hand
The fact that you're able to play any of the roles in Coup on your turn regardless of the cards you're actually holding makes the game feel much more "open." Your options are essentially unrestricted on your turn, excepting the abilities you have to actually pay coins to utilize.

2. Virtually no downtime
Given that each player has only one action on their turn and other players have the possibility to block the action or challenge the action, there's almost no down time in this game. The game moves along very swiftly, moving straight onward to the conclusion.

3. Interactivity without "picking on" someone
This game is built on player interaction. You're going to be knocking other players out of the game with the choices you make. Having said that, there's very little "picking on" someone. Whenever you choose to reduce another player's influence, you're either going to be going after the person that makes the most sense in the game to attack or you're going to lose the game. In many other games, there are times when you might just hunt the leader or you might simply want to attack another person to "get them back" for something they did to you earlier. Do that here and you will lose. I consider that a big strength.

4. Cohesiveness
With many games, it can feel like there are extra mechanisms tacked on to either solve a problem with the other mechanisms in the game or to add more complexity. The end result of that is a lot of trips to the rulebook as you're learning the game. Coup does not have this problem. There are no extra mechanisms. The game is pared down to its core, which means everything makes sense right off the bat.

5. The card design
The cards are sturdy and have a straightforward and pleasant design and art style. The roles are color-coded and it's extremely clear at a quick glance what role you have and what it does. The cards are just about perfect.

6. Evolving strategies
Despite its simplicity, the game does have strategies that people discover, use very effectively for a while, and then the counter to it is discovered. For example, one great strategy you'll discover early on is to claim you have the Duke on the first turn and take three coins. Since it's a first turn move, the only information you have at that point is reading faces and mannerisms and the cards you have in front of you, so challenging that move is pretty much blind luck. It gets the player claiming Duke enough money to Assassin next turn and close to enough money to Coup. Pretty strong, right? Well, in response to that, people just started instantly challenging anyone who claimed Duke on the first turn and, since there's only about a 35% chance that you actually have the Duke, lots of players were finding themselves down a card right off the bat with only two coins in the bank. The cards are all balanced enough so that there is no one strategy that always wins.

7. The reference sheet
For the first few plays, the reference sheet given to each player at the start of the game is a godsend. It's very well designed and extremely clear on what role you can choose on your turn, what those roles do, and what roles you can claim to counter someone else's role choice. It's organized ery well and makes it easy to figure out what to do on your turn.

8. Extremely easy to teach
The basics of this game can be taught in three minutes. If one player has read the rules and comprehended the basic flow of the game before you sit down at the table, that player can have everyone else up and playing within five minutes of the box hitting the table.

9. Rewards repeated, back-to-back play
The more familiar everyone is with the various roles, the more fun the game becomes. For example, if someone plays the "Assassin" role, you don't have everyone turning to their reference sheets and thinking about whether or not to claim they have the "Contessa." It just becomes a natural response in your head, leaving you just to make a split second decision about whether to claim you have the Contessa or not.

10. Small footprint
The box is quite small, meaning it won't take up a whole lot of space on your gaming shelf. That also means that the game is highly portable - you can easily tuck it into a backpack and take it along when traveling or camping.



Five Things to Disike About Coup

1. Requires ability to "read" other players
Reading other players isn't simply something that you can use to increase your chances a bit in this game. Reading other players is required in this game. If you can't read other players at least a little, you will lose because they will take advantage of your situation, exploit it, and pound you into the floor. I sometimes play games with people who have poor skills when it comes to reading others and they do not like this game (or other games like it) very much at all.

2. Questionable rulebook
The rulebook was clearly written by someone who had played the game many times. Because of that, some of the key points were glossed over or nearly left out of the rules. Thankfully, the game is simple enough that a questionable rulebook doesn't sink the game - you can still figure this one out, but the rules don't really help you.

3. Cheap plastic coins
The coins included with the game are cheap, undecorated grey plastic discs. Given that the cards are well-designed and flavorful, the coins are a serious disappointment. I am already looking for some ornate metal coins to replace the dull discs found in the Coup box.

4. Fairly short shelf life
While there's a strong desire for replayability at first, this game does not have the long playing lifespan that other games have. At a certain point, there's a sense of "been there, done that" that will make you put this one up for a while, which is to be expected given that it's a game with only five different cards in it. Given that this is a "filler" game and one that's pretty low cost, it's not that big of a deal, but don't expect this one to be a game that you play hundreds of times.

5. Not very thematic
The theme here is very, very separate from the game. You could almost paint any theme on this game and it would work. It could easily have a Clue-like "people at a party" theme or a theme of people trying to win the queen's favor in a royal court or a cyberpunk theme without changing much of the game at all. I think that the theme choice here is generic and bland enough that players aren't going to be drawn in by the "story" at all. It's not impossible to make an attractive theme with a game like this, but it does take a lot more artistic and creative work. Here, they just tossed bare-bones roles (at least in terms of creativity) onto the cards and went with it.

Who Would Like This Game?
Coup is a very nice short game that will appeal to quite a few people. I think it's a very nice filler for several game sessions for a "gamer" group, and many other sub-groups of people will like it even more.

People who will particularly like this game include:

Fans of The Resistance - Much like The Resistance, Coup is a very straightforward card game that involves bluffing and betrayal that can be played in fifteen or twenty minutes. Everyone I've played Coup with that previously liked The Resistance has liked Coup.

Poker fans - While playing Coup, I couldn't help but notice similarities to Texas Hold 'Em. Each player has two face-down cards. Each player mixes together bluffing (choosing an aggressive role), calling (countering or challenging a role), and folding (using the Ambassador) in order to produce a winning situation. Each player must watch the other carefully for tells. I would expect poker fans to get a good bit of enjoyment from Coup.

People who like lots of social interaction in their games - Coup works best in a lively group where people are talkative and enjoy interacting with each other quite a lot. This is not multiplayer solitaire. It's about as far from it as you can get.

People who prefer shorter, simpler games - This is a short, straightforward game that many heavy gamers would identify as a filler. Some gamers prefer those types of games, and Coup is right up their alley.

A Video Review
Here's my review of Coup... in video form.



This review can also be found in slightly modified form at http://www.gamingtrent.com/review-coup/
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K.Y. Wong
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trenttsd wrote:
4. Fairly short shelf life
While there's a strong desire for replayability at first, this game does not have the long playing lifespan that other games have. At a certain point, there's a sense of "been there, done that" that will make you put this one up for a while, which is to be expected given that it's a game with only five different cards in it. Given that this is a "filler" game and one that's pretty low cost, it's not that big of a deal, but don't expect this one to be a game that you play hundreds of times.
Hi Trent, nice review. In your opinion, does The Resistance share this problem? If not, why so?
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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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chromaticdragon wrote:
trenttsd wrote:
4. Fairly short shelf life
While there's a strong desire for replayability at first, this game does not have the long playing lifespan that other games have. At a certain point, there's a sense of "been there, done that" that will make you put this one up for a while, which is to be expected given that it's a game with only five different cards in it. Given that this is a "filler" game and one that's pretty low cost, it's not that big of a deal, but don't expect this one to be a game that you play hundreds of times.
Hi Trent, nice review. In your opinion, does The Resistance share this problem? If not, why so?

It does. In both cases, the game itself doesn't provide enough variety to be compelling over a long period unless you change the people consistently. It's a great game to play a dozen or two times against the same group, but after that, you're going to want different players. I've played other games hundreds of times against the same opponent, but I can't imagine playing either The Resistance or Coup hundreds of times against the same opponent without some VERY long gaps in between plays. There just isn't enough meat there.
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Clyde W
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Curious. I play Resistance with the same 6 players on a weekly basis.

We enjoy the game even more now than we did a few years ago.

Of course, Resistance has many variants you can play, which I do admit have kept things fresh. And we enjoy adding one or two fresh-faces to our "core 6" group every once in a while, but the game certainly has never gone stale for us. We just keep getting better and better at it, is all.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I prefer the Sicilian variant using goblets poisoned with Iocaine powder (don't have to worry about replayability).
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Jared Teslow
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kaziam wrote:
I prefer the Sicilian variant using goblets poisoned with Iocaine powder (don't have to worry about replayability).

Unless your players spent the last few years building up an immunity to iocaine powder.
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Richard Dewsbery
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I prefer to hide behind a big boulder with a rock in my hand. Of course, it's not very sportsman-like.
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trenttsd wrote:
I've played other games hundreds of times against the same opponent.

Could you please tell me some of them?
 
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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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yaagma wrote:
trenttsd wrote:
I've played other games hundreds of times against the same opponent.

Could you please tell me some of them?

Netrunner and Magic: the Gathering immediately come to mind. I'm almost assuredly into the three figures at Lost Cities against my wife, too.
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Thanks. I'll take a look at them.
 
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Rikki Tahta
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OH THOSE PLASTIC COINS !!!!!

They were the curse of my production. I had 4 weeks to get the whole game made in time for Essen. I could not find a supplier who could provide me with plastic coins for under $1.50 for 50 (when you're only ordering 1,000 sets) ! how crazy is that - it would have been less than half the price to just include a roll of pennies

They were the best I could find - made to order in the UK - and still barely under $1

sorry about that. Feel free to swap them out - I can't defend them




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tom moughan
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If I can be completely honest, the coins were a bit lackluster. That said - The rest of the components in the game were awesome!!!!! I am very pleased with the card stock (where do i find sleeves that size?) and the player aids and rulebook were nicely done. I personally had no trouble with getting the rules from the book like the op did. Most things that were very important were bold and underlined. I think there was some initial confusion around what influence was...but if I can be frank, the same confusion came up when we played love letter.

We had a ton of fun playing Coup the other night. In fact, we switched to one game of love letter and folks were like...."can we play coup again?"

I am bringing this out to our game night on wed to warm people up before age of steam...get them in the right mindset. muhahaha ; )
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Rikki Tahta
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thanks. It was a labour of love making it, so I wanted the quality to be as good as possible.

Cards are standard 'Top Trump' size - a bit bigger and longer than regular playing cards (no clue where to get sleeves - sorry)

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Trent Hamm
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The game itself isn't important. Spending time intellectually jousting with likeminded folks is the real reason to game.
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Rikki wrote:
thanks. It was a labour of love making it, so I wanted the quality to be as good as possible.

Cards are standard 'Top Trump' size - a bit bigger and longer than regular playing cards (no clue where to get sleeves - sorry)


Aside from the coins, the component quality was great.
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Jesse Dean
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Your categorization is probably right, but I do not actually fit into any of the categories of people who should like the game and it will probably make my Top 10 for the year.
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Jared Parkinson
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Rikki wrote:
thanks. It was a labour of love making it, so I wanted the quality to be as good as possible.

Cards are standard 'Top Trump' size - a bit bigger and longer than regular playing cards (no clue where to get sleeves - sorry)


Any way you could post the actual dimensions for that card size?
 
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Karl Fast
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I measured my cards last night.

The dimension were 62mm x 100mm.

I had some extra 7 Wonders cards from Mayday that fit well enough (the magnum ultra-fit sleeves, I think)

The height is perfect.

The width is 3mm wider than ideal.

So the card is a bit loose in the sleeved, but that's not a problem since the cards spend most of their time face down. But sleeving seems like a good idea to prevent guessing based on card markings.
 
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Rikki Tahta
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I had the cards printed by Cartamundi - Trump size - here's the measurements from the production estimate they sent me (mm)

Trump size (100x62 on 365um board) and Poker size (88x63 on 305um board) .
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