Game Length: 15 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3-6 players who want to quickly and efficiently assassinate each other
Coup is a light bluffing game where the goal is to be the last player standing by eliminating your rivals, either by catching them out when they are lying, having them accuse you of lying when you are telling the truth, or accumulating enough money to kill them by instigating a coup.
Coup is an example of a microgame, a game with a very small number of components that nonetheless contains compelling gameplay. In the game box, you will get just 15 cards (plus some player aid cards) and a number of tokens to use as money.
Each player is dealt two character cards and the unused cards are placed in the middle of the table. On their turn, each player may take an action – they may either gain money, perform a coup by paying 7 coins, or perform one of the five special character actions. However, at the heart of Coup is a special rule – a player does not need to possess a character card in order to take that character’s action!
If one of the other players becomes suspicious about someone else’s claim, they may accuse them of lying. If you cannot reveal the character card you claimed to have, you will lose a card, but this is not to be done lightly – if you do have the card, then your accuser will lose one of their cards instead! There is no way to recover these cards and once you lose both, you are out of the game.
Coup can be a little intimidating when you first start playing, as there are a range of different interactions possible, but the game is relatively short and often outright lying is the best way to keep your opponents off balance – when you claim to have yet another character card, players won’t be able to pin you down at all! The more comfortable people become with the characters and their interactions, the better the game becomes, as each player in turn brazenly claims to be the Duke to gain his powerful three-coin action, or trick a player into disputing their Assassin claim – only to reveal the Assassin, and therefore cause the target to lose both their cards at once.
Coup is not an incredibly deep game, and relies on interactions between the players to make it enjoyable. However, it packs a lot of punch in such a small package and even though players can be quickly eliminated from play, games never last much longer than 20 minutes so another round can quickly be played. Coup makes an excellent filler or social game and comes at a very affordable price.