We sit across from each other exchanging truths and lies. My friend says he has an Ambassador, I don’t believe him and I’m about to contest his claim, until he accidently drops his card. It lands face up, it was an Ambassador. We laughed for about 2 minutes after that.
Coup is a bluffing card game for 2 – 6 players. It was designed by Rikki Tahta and published by La Mame Games and Indie Boards and Cards. Coup places the players in a dystopian future where the government’s only concern is money and everything is run by massive cooperate CEOs. This has created a world where a select few lead lives of privilege and the rest of the population are stuck in poverty.
Each player is given two cards, also as known as influence, and two coins at the start of the game. When only one player is left with influence they win the game. You eliminate the other players by gaining 7 coins and spending them to launch a coup, using an Assassin card on a player so they have to discard a card, or by contesting a lie correctly. Each card has an action, for example, a Captain can steal two coins from another player and a Contessa can block an assassin.
However, you can lie and claim that you have any card in order to take any action you want. So, you don’t even need an Assassin to take out another player, you just need to be convincing enough in your lie. If another player is not convinced in your claim they can challenge it before you do the action, if you were lying and the card is not what you claimed it to be you lose an influence. If the person that challenged you was wrong and you were telling the truth they lose an influence and you discard and draw a new card.
There are five different types of card and three of each kind in the deck, so you’re more likely to draw two different influences but there is a chance of drawing the exact same cards. In this instance you are really forced to lie so there is no way you are going to get through the game by just telling the truth. Even if you try this the actions on the cards you have may not be enough to beat your opposition. Coup encourages you to lie and it’s very satisfying when you manage to do an action when you don’t even have that card in your hand. The cards themselves have absolutely fantastic character art. They all have very cool and interesting designs and are a diversity of genders and races.
The game is a nice mix of strategy and luck, it’s pretty intense trying to figure out if someone is bluffing, then making the decision to call them out on it and then the big reveal. You’ll definitely discover who out of your friends and family are the best liars. Coup is certainly at its best when you have more people playing it. The games can be very short if there are only two or three people playing.
The Duke card is quite overpowered with a small number of players, this card can take three coins from the Treasury and block anyone trying to take two coins from the Treasury. With two players, whoever first claims that they have a Duke is more likely to win since they can launch a Coup much more easily. I’ve been in a lot of these situations and have just cut to the chase by challenging their claim even if I do think they have a Duke, either way I’m going to lose so might as well get it over and done with. This has led to me and my friends leaving the Dukes out of the Deck when there is a small number of us.
Overall, Coup is a really fun; the rules are not overly complicated and it’s a good entry point into playing more tabletop games. The world that La Mame Games has created is interesting and the actions you make, whether it be assassinate or steal, seem to reflect the harsh profit driven environment of this future. The art on the cards is beautiful and filled with a colourful cast of characters. However, the game can be very short with less players and the Duke card can result in a broken game with few people. Despite this if you are looking for a good bluffing game for a cheap price Coup might be your best bet.
Designer: Rikki Tahta,
Publisher: Indie Boards and Cards, La Mame Games
Core Mechanic: Bluffing
Number of Players: 2-6 (Best with 4+)
Play time: 15 minutes