Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Coup and a brief journey through childhood

When I was a kid I believe I first got into 'serious' board gaming when I was introduced to the classic world domination game Risk. I was especially drawn in as I won my first game. I remember then playing army soldiers with my friends using little risk pieces which eventually led to Warhammer Fantasy. My Warhammer days didn't last to long as a kid. I eventually sold all my troops only to find that many years later I would get back into painting figurines.

My antiquated version of risk I scored for 3NZD at an op-shop

Another game I got into when I was young was the bluffing and deduction game Mafia. Mafia is a game where you all a dealt secret identities and some of the players are mafia and are trying to kill everyone else. The aim depending on who's side you are on is to kill of the other side either by publicly hanging the Mafia or killing the innocent citizens in their sleep. I simply loved this game! I recall one time after going for a tramp in the depths of New Zealand in the pouring rain having a raucous time in our little cabin playing mafia. I must admit I still love bluffing and deduction games and that is why my attention was brought to a relatively new game Coup which is getting some very positive mentions.

Playing Mafia in Jerusalem at a very young age, can you read that face?

Current Coup box art

Now that we are done with a slightly off hand introduction... Coup is, you guessed it, a bluffing and deduction game for 2-6 players where the aim of the game is to be the last man standing. Each player has two influence which are represented by charter cards, each charter gives the player a special ability on top of the standard actions. There are 3 of each character making a deck of 15. Here is a photo with a description of all the different actions.

You need to reduce all the other players to zero influence with the above actions thus eliminating them from the game. The real magic is that the cards are face down so you can take actions from charters you don't have in your hand. However players can challenge you, if you were bluffing you loose an influence turning a card face up and if you were truthful you prove it, get dealt a new card and the challenger looses an influence instead. Of course if you loose two influence you are out of the game, making it a short 10-15 minute game.

Unfortunately this game, unless you want to spend exorbitant amounts is quite difficult to get due to the next print run occurring in April or May.  Undeterred I decided to play with a pack of playing cards and some fake money from Arkham Horror knowing that if I like the game I will probably get a copy when it is reprinted. In short it is a very fun game of deception and deduction. Due to the length we played multiple games back to back and had roaring time doing it. It worked well with some of my less gaming buddies so was enjoyable for the whole family.

I have read a couple of convincing blogs sharing the various strategies you can use in this game leading me to believe that not only is this a great inclusive game but it has some serious strategical depth to it. I wont go into it myself but check out a stella example by the Tao of Gaming here. Unfortunately despite multiple thorough readings of the strategy he lists I still seem to loose every game. At least I have a blast loosing! I would highly recommend taking this game out for a spin sometime, after all whats 15 minutes of your life?


  1. Must admit I have fond early memories of playing Risk... and since then have collected the Star Wars and LOTR versions... still play them once in a while when No.1 son feels in the mood...

    1. It is a fairly decent game for it's time. Plus who doesn't love a good ol world war especially as a young lad.

      I have actually heard good things of the new risk legacy where the game literally changes as you play for all future games. For example you put stickers on the board to indicate some permanent feature of certain territories as you play you destroy or add cards. There are secret compartments in the box you are only allowed to open after certain events. I can imagine this being quite a lot of fun especially for a younger audience.


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