‘I’ve got a Duke!’ said Marie, reaching for the coins.
‘I have got a Duke!’ said Rob, also taking 3 coins.
Mmm, I thought, which one is lying. I Looked down at my hand, and the two Dukes that it contained!
‘I’ve got an ambassador’ I said, and took two cards. Very interesting – I looked at the Assassin and the third Duke, and smiled! – Coup, is it all about lying through your teeth?
- Designer: Rikki Tahta
- Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards
- Year Released: 2012
- Players: 2-6
- Playing Time: 15 Minutes
- Ages: 13+
- Recommended Retail Price: £13.99
In a futuristic governmental setting, a power struggle is taking place. Throw down your opponents and take the position of power for yourself.
Coup is a secret identities game all about bluffing and deceit. Knock your opponents out by calling their bluffs, assassinating them, or by carrying out a coup.
What’s in the box?
- 15 Character cards (3 of each – Duke, Assassin, Captain, Ambassador, and Contessa)
- 6 Summary cards
- 50 Coins
- Rules booklet
The character cards are standard playing card size, and have a linen finish. The artwork is simple, but effective.
The summary cards are nice and big, easy to read, and give the players all the information they may require.
Coins are high-density, punch-out, cardboard. They are a good size, and nice and thick.
The rules booklet is 8 pages, cover-to-cover, and is clear and easy to read. There is an example of game play and a two-player variant.
How does it play?
- If your familiar with the game play, feel free to perjure your way through to ‘What do I think?’
All the character cards are shuffled together and two dealt, face down, to each player.
Each player is given a summary card and two coins. They must ensure their coins are visible to the rest of the players.
The character cards represent a player’s influence at court. Once they have lost all their influence they are no longer a threat, and are out of the game.
The winner of the previous game goes first (or selected randomly for first game).
The player must choose one action, either a general action or a character action.
General actions include – gaining 1 coin from the pot (Income); gaining 2 coins (foreign aid); pay 7 coins to carry out a coup on another player.
A Duke can block the foreign aid. A Coup causes the defending player to lose 1 influence.
Character actions are carried out by the player stating which character he has, what he is doing and to whom.
Characters have the following actions and/or counteractions:
- A duke – take 3 coins from the pot. Blocks foreign aid.
- Assassin – Pay 3 coins and choose a player to lose influence.
- Ambassador – Can exchange up to 2 cards. Blocks stealing.
- Captain – Steal 2 coins from another player. Blocks stealing.
- Contessa – Blocks assassination.
Any player may choose to challenge an action. Once challenged the player must prove he has the character in his hand. He cannot or does not wish to, he then loses a card (influence). If he does prove his claim, he returns his card to the deck, shuffles, and draws a new card. The challenger then loses influence.
The game continues until one player is left and declared the winner.
So, what do I think?
I took a gamble on purchasing this a couple of years ago. We had never played a similar game as a family before, so I was unsure if everyone would like it. I needn’t have worried; this is a great little game.
First off, its reasonably priced for what you get. Okay, there isn’t a lot in the box, but what you do get is lovely quality. The cards have a great feel to them, with their linen finish, and the artwork, though simple, is distinctive enough to see what you have at a glance.
The rules are very simple to learn, you can be up and running in a few minutes. As for the 13+ age on the box, my daughter picked it up very quickly, and she was 10 at the time!
There’s just the right amount of characters to give a good variation without introducing too much complexity. It’s easy to remember who has said they have what, and what all the characters do. If you have any issues everything is on the handy summary cards.
The first few games you play are all about learning how to employ the characters. It’s not all about trying to work out what to do with the cards you have, but what you could do with the cards you haven’t got!
Bluffing and double-bluffing your way through a game is immensely fun, especially when you’ve been called out; watching the challengers face as it turns out you were telling the truth all along, is worth the cost of this game alone.
You see, part of the game is trying to mislead the others. If you can make them believe you have something you don’t, it puts you in a strong position. However, in a 3+ player game, there are few, if any, plays to be made that can’t be defeated, especially by an experienced player.
Yes, if your playing the game for the first time with experienced players, you will lose. But it doesn’t take long before you find yourself holding your own. And that’s part of the charm of this game – it is easy to learn, and it’s easy to learn to play well, not many games can say that!
Even my wife, who never, ever, tells a lie, wins at this game. She gets me every time; I’m sure she can’t be telling the truth, but if I challenge her, she inevitably is. And then all of a sudden, without any warning, she’s telling giant, absolutely huge, whopping great fibs, and once again wins the game!
If you like social interaction and lying like a £7 note, then this is definitely a game for you. In fact, at the price you can get it for, go and buy it now – you won’t be disappointed.
It’s just as easy to play down the pub with your mates, as it is with your family; children love it when they get one over on their parents!
A game lasts 15 minutes at the most, and you never feel left out of the game, even when you’re eliminated.
It can be a great warm up to a long gaming session, or used as a filler between games, and because of its size can easily be played on a plane/coach journey.
The two-player variant is interesting, but lacks the social interaction created by a greater number of players. For me, four or more players is when it’s at its best.
My only con, and it’s a minor one – After a number of games in one sitting, you’ll probably want to move on, as game play can get a bit repetitive. But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to play it again tomorrow.
Recommended video review – Starlit Citadel Review
Recommended play through – Tabletop: Love letter and Coup
Board Game Geek Page – Coup