COUP is a hidden role card game developed by Rikki Tahta and La Mame Games. Published by Indie Boards and Cards, COUP is a bluffing game that relies on how much you trust your opponents. It is recommended for players aged 14+, but there is nothing here making it inappropriate for a younger crowd. You can play with a party as small as two. The maximum of six is recommended on the box, but in play, I realized you could definitely fit seven or eight. The box says each game will take 15 minutes. I’m contesting that. We had no game last longer than eight with a full party of six.
COUP has a very small form factor, but fits a lot in snuggly. You’ll find fifteen character cards, all with their own special abilities, six summary cards, to help explain the nature of the abilities each character has, 50 coins, and a rulebook. The rulebook is confusing for a first-timer. We hit the ground running when we got into it, though. It clearly lays out how to set up the game and the summary cards explain the rest cleanly.
Sorry for the blurry image, I couldn’t get a good shot of what I wanted.
To play COUP, each player starts off with two character cards and two coins. Each player can look at their character cards, but not share them with the other players. On every turn, a player can take one of four actions. They can take a coin from the middle with income, request foreign aid to tale two coins, or throw a coup. Foreign aid can be blocked in some scenarios, and a coup takes another player out of the game. Your goal is to be the last nation standing. There are 5 roles Duke, Assassin, Captain, Ambassador, and Contessa. Each role has a unique action they can take, and another action they can block. For example, an assassin can pay three coins to assassinate another player, taking them out of the game, but a contessa can block that assassination. Any player can block, or challenge, an action on any turn. Providing for some very cut-throat commentary.
Playing COUP is a short experience that gave me a rollercoaster of emotions. We played 9 games in our 30-ish minute time span. As a group well familiar with hidden role games, we found ourselves all feeling like this was a pretty unique gem. To quote some of the people I played with, here are some reactions they gave. ”The way you explained it made it sound right up our alley, but this was better than that.” ”When I first looked it over I was on the fence. It’s super fun though, we should go at it more tonight.” Our play was interrupted only because of plans that were already set in stone. Usually, we’ll tire out of something after only a few rounds. This is not one of those games.
I highly recommend anyone who is interested in playing COUP pick it up. It’s available for $14.99 wherever you can buy these types of games. It’s an older one, so I picked it up on clearance for a super low price. You should watch for this one. It requires the type of group that loves hidden role games. Hidden role games are some of the most popular, though. My entire group had fun, and I have no doubt yours will too.