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Are you the type of person that can not only bluff well, but keep track of the web of lies you’re spinning in the process?  If you answered “yes”, then “Coup” is the game for you.  As the head of an Italian city-state, it’ll be your job to eliminate all the other heads (players) and be the last one standing.  To do that, you’ll need to make use of varying card abilities whilst keeping your identities both secret and safe.  If people generally laugh at your poker face, then you’ve got a LONG road ahead of you…or possibly a short one, whichever way you want to look at it.



Coup: 2-6 Players, Ages 10+, Average Play Time = 15 Minutes



The game includes 15 character cards (three each of Duke, Assassin, Captain, Ambassador, Contessa), 6 summary cards, and 50 coins.

Setup & Gameplay

The cards are shuffled into a face-down deck.  Each player receives two cards (also face-down) along with two coins.

On a player’s turn, they may take one of eight different actions.  Five of them are actions unique to the five different characters while the other three are common.  While a player can perform ANY of the five character actions they want, they’ll lose a character if they are caught using an ability of a character they don’t have.

Five Character Actions:

Duke: Take three coins from the treasury. Block someone from taking foreign aid.
Assassin: Pay three coins and try to assassinate another player’s character.
Contessa: Block an assassination attempt against yourself.
Captain: Take two coins from another player, or block someone from stealing coins from you.
Ambassador: Draw two character cards from the Court (the deck), choose which (if any) to exchange with your face-down characters, then return two. Block someone from stealing coins from you.

Three Common Actions:

Income: Take one coin from the treasury.
Foreign aid: Take two coins from the treasury.
Coup: Pay seven coins and launch a coup against an opponent, forcing that player to lose an influence. (If you have ten coins or more, you must take this action.)



Character Cards


A character action succeeds if no one challenges them.  If someone does challenge the active player when a character action is performed, then the active player must reveal the character of said ability (proving that they can legitimately take the action).  Whoever loses the challenge loses a character.  If the active player wins, they’ll shuffle their revealed character back into the deck and draw a new one.

Turns continue until only one person is left standing, who wins the game!

Editor’s Note: The above doesn’t cover all of the rules found in the manual, but should give you an idea as to how the game is played.

The Review

One might scoff at the fact that there’s only fifteen cards in the entire game, making the content feel rather light.  On the other hand, one could come to appreciate how the game mechanics tie everything together to give it its bang for the buck.  I was admittedly skeptical at first…”$12 for fifteen cards and some plastic coins?  What gives?” Once I actually looked at the rules however and saw just how many actions you could take per turn, I began to see the possibilities both in terms of strategy and bluffing.

I have a feeling that this game won’t appeal to people who don’t play a lot of Poker, or any card game for that matter that encourages people to bluff when their back is against the wall. “Coup” works better when you have a lot of people playing, but it can and does function as a two player game just fine.  My suggestion is that if you do end up playing with four or more players, that you secretly remove a card from the deck so as to prevent people from counting cards as they figure out who has who.

What appeals to me most is the quick play time, what with the recent changes that have come about in my household.  “Coup” allows me to flex my brain without committing myself to an hour or two to some heavy abstract strategy game.  It also tests my memory a bit, especially when my opponents use three different character actions in one round without exchanging cards…which was the lie?  Do they know that I caught them?  What actions have I taken again and didn’t someone use the Duke recently to block foreign aid?  You see where this is going.  Anywho, I found “Coup” to be great as a filler or something to bring out at parties.  My recommendation is to give it a spin!

Final Verdict: 8/10


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