“In the not too distant future, the government is run for profit by a new ‘royal class’ of multinational CEOs. Their greed and absolute control of the economy has reduced all but a privileged few to lives of poverty and desperation.
Out of the oppressed masses rose an underground band of partisans fighters focused on overthrowing these powerful rulers. The valiant efforts of these rebels have created discord, intrigue and weakness in the political courts of the nouveau royal, bringing the government to the brink of collapse.
But for you, a powerful government official, this is your opportunity to manipulate, bribe and bluff your way into absolute power. To be successful, you must destroy the influence of your rivals and drive them into exile. In these turbulent times there is only room for one to survive.” –La Mame Games, Coup Rulebook
Coup is a competitive game for 2 to 6 players. Players must lie, cheat and steal to be the only remaining player with government influence. Players may use the abilities of Ambassadors, Assassins, Captains, Contessas and Dukes to be the last man standing.
The setup takes almost no time at all. Each player starts the game with 2 coins and 2 influence cards. The influence cards are kept face down, secret from all other players. The remaining coins and influence cards are left in the center of the play area.
For the first game, players may decide amongst themselves who goes first. For every additional game, the player who won the previous game goes first.
For every turn, a player may perform one action. Each Influence Card has a different action that they allow. There are also actions that any player may take regardless of their Influence Cards.
Income- Take 1 Coin. Cannot be blocked.
Foreign Aid- Take 2 Coins. Can be blocked by a Duke.
Coup- Pay 7 coins, choose a player to lose influence. Cannot be blocked.
Tax- Take 3 Coins. Cannot be blocked.
Assassinate- Pay 3 Coins, choose a player to lose influence. Can be blocked by a Contessa
Exchange- Draw 2 influence cards, return any 2 influence cards to the deck. Cannot be blocked.
Steal- Take 2 coins from another player. Can be blocked by a Captain or an Ambassador.
The Contessa is the only character that does not give you a new action. However, a player may claim to have any influence card they please, since they are kept a secret.
Player 1, Turn 1
We are Player 1. In our starting hand we have a Captain and an Assassin. I don’t have enough coins to use my Assassin, and I don’t really feel like upsetting someone by stealing from them.
Player 1: I’m going to use my Duke and take 3 coins.
At this time another player could challenge my Duke. Since it’s the first turn, they have no reason not to believe me, so they say nothing.
Player 2, Turn 1.
Player 2 has 2 influence cards. We do not know what they are.
Player 2: I’m going to take Income. (One coin from the bank).
Player 3, Turn 1
Player 3: I’m going to use my Captain and Steal 2 coins from Player 2
Player 2: I’m going to use my Ambassador to block your steal.
Player 3: I don’t believe you have an Ambassador.
Player 2 reveals that he/she does have an Ambassador.
Player 2’s Ambassador blocks the Steal.
Player 2 discards the Ambassador and draws a new influence.
Player 3 loses an influence for being wrong.
The revealed Ambassador is left on the table, but the lost influence from Player 3 is shuffled back into the deck.
Player 4, Turn 1
Player 4: I’m going to use my Ambassador to exchange cards.
Player 1, Turn 2
Now we have 5 coins, so we have enough to try an Assassination.
Player 1: I’m going to use my Assassin to Assassinate Player 4.
Player 4: I’m blocking it with my Contessa.
Player 1: I don’t believe that you have a Contessa.
Player 4 reveals that he/she doesn’t have a Contessa.
Player 4 loses an Influence for being caught lying.
Player 4’s other influence is assassinated by Player 1.
Player 4 has run out of influence and is out for the round.
Ending the Game
The game continues until only one player remains. That player gains a point. Normally, when I play this game with my friends we’ll play First to 5. With games sometimes only lasting two or three turns, it’s easy to tailor this game to your group of friends.
I really enjoy the fast paced and manipulative gameplay of Coup. It’s incredibly rewarding to conquer your friends and be the last man standing. Playing with a variety of players can also be fun, everybody has a different play style and adding just one new player can change the entire feel of the game.
I don’t really have a lot of negative things to say about this game. Unfortunately it can get a little repetitive, but buying one of the expansions can breathe life into the game once again.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed playing this game with almost any group. It’s a perfect filler game to squeeze between two longer and more complex games. For what it is, I’m going to give Coup a 7 out of 10