Coup – A Review
Week number 4 of Pround Games’ 6 Weeks of Christmas is here, and this week we’re giving away the fun little micro-game Coup. It’s a little bit of an oldie (3 years since the Kickstarter, as of the time of this writing) but it turned into somewhat of an instant classic.
Before I get into the gameplay, I just want to say I love the theme. First, the game is set in a broader universe (the same world as The Resistance) and I’m a sucker for good lore and rich mythology, so I’m already in. Plus, something in me just kind of loves the idea of sticking it to the man. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Die Hard, in which our hero (Alan Rickman) is trying to stick it to the man, but keeps getting stumped at every turn by his enemy, John McClane (Korben Dallas). Unfortunately, the ending of the movie is quite tragic, and evil wins the day, but I don’t want to spoil it here.
Another reason I love this game is the pace. This is one of those “breath of fresh air” games – fast paced, engaging, creative, and very short-winded. Sometimes, you want to play a 2- or 3-hour game and really dive in, and sometimes, you just need a quick little fix but you still want to think. Coup fills this slot nicely.
At the start of each game of Coup, each player is given 2 coins and 2 character cards. These character cards can be any assortment of the following 5 characters: Ambassador, Assassin, Contessa, Captain, and Duke. The cards are face-down so that only you can know what cards you have. Each turn, a player may choose one of the following actions: take a coin from the bank, take two coins from the bank (blockable by the Duke), attempt a coup towards a player by spending 7 coins, or perform a character-specific action. The character-specific actions are: take three coins from the bank (Duke), assassinate one of a player’s characters by spending 3 coins (Assassin), exchange an existing character for a newly drawn character (Ambassador), and steal two coins from another player (Captain).
Each turn, any of these options are available, provided you have the coins to pay for them. To win the game, simply be the last man standing.
Here’s the dynamic that really sets Coup apart: The Bluff. The thing is, you can say that you have any of the characters out there and play accordingly, as long as no one calls you on it. If you try and take 2 coins as your action, I can block it as the Duke whether I have a Duke or not. If go for the block and I don’t have the Duke, but someone calls me out on that, I lose a character. However, if I go for the block and I do have the Duke and someone calls me out, they lose a card.
I have a pretty terrible poker face, but I still love this mechanic. The game provides many variables and all but guarantees a different experience every time. Learn more about your friends and yourself with a game that makes you wonder who’s real and who is not.
One risk with this game is the chance for a “runaway victor”. The last time I played coup, this was extremely evident. Depending on the combination of the characters and the player’s skill level, winning the game can be not only easy but progressively more so as time wears on. This can frustrate younger players, possibly leaving a bad taste in their mouth for such a high-quality game. The redeeming quality of the game is brevity. By the time anyone realizes that the current front-runner is a runaway victor, the game is probably only a few turns away from being over. This differs from some games in which a runaway victor occurs, and the rest of the players work to snuff the apparent victor. This results in a really long game. I’m looking at you, Monopoly.
Overall, Coup is a great game, and we at Pround Games hope you get a chance to play this futuristic subversion thriller at your next game night!
Oh hey! This week we’re actually giving a copy of Coup away! Check out the list below to get started and win your copy! Good luck!
Pround Games – Coup Giveaway