Rank: 6.2 out of 10
The card game Coup was first introduced to me by my cousin Elyse while my family and I were on vacation in New Hampshire. I thought I would not like it because I am not skilled at bluffing. However, since first playing it, Coup has been one of my favorite card games.
Coup is #5 on my list of top five favorite card games.
This is my first full card game review. What I hope to accomplish with these reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you to determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.
Coup is a bluffing and risk-taking game. Your objective is to manipulate others and take control of the court.
There are 5 different types of cards, each of which have a different ability. These cards include an Assassin, a Captain, a Contessa, an Ambassador, and a Duke. Each player has two cards at the start of the game. These cards represent influence you have over the court.
You can use the abilities on the cards in your hand, or pretend to have a card with a different ability. Other players may challenge you if you are bluffing. If they are right and you are bluffing, you lose influence (in other words, lose a card.) If the other player is wrong, however, he or she is the one who will lose influence.
When you use a card to complete an action or block an action, you should not reveal it. No one should ever know what cards you have.
Once you gain 7 coins, you can launch an unblockable coup, forcing another player to lose influence.
Once you lose two cards (influence), you are eliminated.
Gameplay (7 out of 10 stars)
Gameplay is prettystraightforward. The first player takes an action, everyone has an opportunity to challenge them, and then the next person takes their turn.
There are three actions you can take without using cards – as a result, they are actions that cannot be challenged. (Although they can be blocked by some abilities.)
The first option is taking income, which allows you to take one coin. This cannot be blocked, but it’s such a conservative move that using it repeatedly won’t get you anywhere fast.
Foreign aid lets you take two coins, but it can be blocked if one of your opponents has a certain card (or claims to).
Coup lets you pay seven coins to assassinate another player’s character, causing them to lose influence. It is unblockable.
The available cards to use are the Assassin, Captain, Contessa, Ambassador, and Duke. Remember, you don’t have to have these cards to use these abilities if you pretend to, but you run the risk of getting challenged and losing influence.
With the Assassin, you can pay three coins to attempt to assassinate another player’s character, causing them to lose influence. Unlike a Coup, an Assassin is blockable.
With the Captain, you can steal two coins from another player. You can also block people who are trying to steal from you.
The Contessa blocks another player from assassinating one of your cards.
The Ambassador allows you to exchange the cards in your hands with the Court Deck. The Court Deck is a deck of the remaining cards not in the player’s hands. This is useful if someone is beginning to suspect you are bluffing, but hasn’t dared to challenge you yet. He also blocks stealing.
The Duke allows you to take three coins from the supply, and to block Foreign Aid.
Design (Rank: 7 out of 10 stars)
Design includes two categories: art and components.
The artwork is creative and futuristic, an almost sci-fi rendition of court life.
The components are sparse but adequate. 15 influence cards, 6 summary cards, 50 coins, and a rulebook.
Strategy (6 out of 10 stars)
This game is less about strategy than about how good you are at lying and detecting the lies of others.
There is strategy involved in how much risk you are willing to take, and whether or not to play it safe.
Originality/Creativity (6 out of 10 stars)
The artwork is pretty original.
As bluffing games go, it is pretty creative. It’s court life theme and game based on influence allows you to feel like you are really an ambitious courtier seeking dominance of courtly life.
Replayability (5 out of 10 stars)
This game is fun to play multiple times, don’t get me wrong.
But because there is not much variety, it does get old eventually. That’s why it’s good to play once or twice every couple of weeks or so. Any more than that and it will start being boring.
To learn more: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/131357/coup