Coup Card Game

Coup Card Game Review & Board Game Guide (2019)

The government has become a corrupt cesspool of bribery and double-dealings. There’s nothing left but organize a coup and overthrow the old regime. To do that, you’ll need influence and money to remove your opponents.

Welcome to Coup!

Coup
  • Ages 10 and up
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Playable in 15 minutes

A Brief Overview of Coup

Coup Card Game

Coup is an elimination bluffing game. Players use their cards’ special abilities to gain money and to wipe out their opponents’ influence. Influence comes in the form of 2 cards that each player is dealt. As you lose influence, your options and abilities decrease.

Players can use their special abilities to kill off other characters or use abilities they don’t have by bluffing. Each card grants a player a certain ability, but nobody knows what cards you have. It’s up to you to convince other players that you’re not lying.

Versions & Expansions

Coup Rebellion G54

Coup Rebellion G54 Card Game

The G54 variant of Coup uses basically the same rules but it’s way bigger. This is not an expansion for the original Coup, it’s actually a different game entirely.

There are 25 different characters instead of just 5. Every game is completely different because you’ll choose 5 of the 25 to include in the game. Each game will have a different starting ability and it’ll drastically change up how you play the game.

If you’re a fan of the original then this is an obvious choice for changing up your game.

Coup Rebellion G54
  • There are over 5000 different ways to play
  • Stand alone game that builds upon the world of Coup - set in the...
  • Innovative Card Storage System

Coup Rebellion G54 Anarchy

Coup Rebellion G54 Anarchy Card Game

Anarchy adds 7 new colorful roles to your G54 game. Each role deals with the inevitable anarchy that occurs during a real-world coup until the power vacuum is displaced and structure is reestablished.

All of the roles bring new abilities to the table and further extends the life of your game.

Coup Rebellion G54 Anarchy
  • Coup: Rebellion G54 Anarchy adds seven new roles and actions to...
  • Toy
  • Publisher Services Inc (PSI)

Coup Reformation

Coup Reformation Card Game

This the only expansion for the original Coup (Not the G54 version).

Reformation adds enough cards to bring the player count up to 10 and adds team play into the mix.

Players will now be able to swear their allegiance to the Loyalists or Reformists at the beginning of the game and only be able to target the other faction. It is possible to switch mid-game too.

By paying money to the Almshouse, you can swap factions or force another player to swap. You know what they say, “When the going gets tough, abandon ship and join the winning team.”

Maybe they don’t say that exactly, but you absolutely can if you want to.

If you find yourself wanting to play with a larger group and don’t feel like playing Resistance (A game in the same universe but with completely different mechanics) then Reformation is the perfect expansion. It adds more players and more complexity without changing the base game too much.

Coup Reformation
  • An expansion for the best-selling Coup card game
  • Adds a new role - The Inquisitor - and expands play up to 10...
  • Adds Allegiance mechanic for better play with more players

Unboxing Coup

Coup Card Game

Coup is a small card game that doesn’t necessarily require a lot of components. The cards all of good quality and will last you quite a while.

My original copy of Coup is the one I still carry around with me to pubs or cafes and on more than one occasion has a beer or cocktail spilled directly into the box. I’m proud to say that my original copy is still alive and kicking.

That’s a real testament to the quality of paper quality for both the isk tokens (coins) and the cards themselves.

I’ve actually never sleeved the cards. I probably should at this point but they are a bit larger than your normal card size and where I currently live, it’s a little difficult to find the correct size sleeves.

How to Play Coup

Coup Card Game Actions

Each player starts with 2 cards and 2 coins (isk tokens). The cards represent your influence within the government. All players must attempt to leverage their influence to perform a coup and take control by eliminating all other players’ influence cards.

Each card allows a player to perform a specific action or gain a special ability. On each player’s turn, they’ll be able to perform 1 action (see chart above).

Actions

The first 3 actions can be performed by anyone regardless of what influence cards they hold.

  • Income: Take 1 coin.
  • Foreign Aid: Take 2 coins.
  • Coup: Pay 7 coins and another player (of your choice) loses an influence card (of their choice).

Each card has a different action associated with it.

Duke: Can pull 3 coins out of the pot a turn or block someone from using Foreign Aid.
Assassin: Can pay 3 coins to force another player to lose an influence card, but it’s blockable by a Contessa.
Ambassador: Can draw 2 cards from the deck and choose to swap out influence cards. He can also block stealing from the Captain.
Captain: Can steal 2 coins from another player and cannot be stolen from.
Contessa: She has no special ability other than being able to block the Assassin.

Lie, Cheat, & Steal

This is where it gets interesting. Any player can perform any action listed. You don’t actually need the correct card.

If you don’t have the correct card, well… lie about it.

The major mechanic built into Coup (and every government system ever) is lying!

Someone tries to steal from you… lie about it! Just say that you have a Captain.
Did you start with 2 Contessas? Lie and say you have an Ambassador. They’ll never know!

Or will they?

Okay, so lying is part of the game, but so is calling out other players on their BS.

There are only 3 cards of each type in the deck, so you can game the odds a little bit. If you’ve accounted for 3 of the Captains and another player is claiming one, you can call BS on them and challenge them.

On a challenge, a player MUST show that they have the correct influence card or they lose an influence card.

It’s a very sharp double-edged sword, and I’ve cut myself more than once by overextending my bluffs.

Losing Influence

When you lose Influence, you’ll pick one of your cards and flip it face-up in front of you. For all intents and purposes, it is out of the game. You cannot get it back and you cannot use it for its ability. When you lose both cards, you’re out of the game.

Flipping the cards face-up helps all players by showing what cards are out-of-play. There are only 3 of each type remember. If there are 4 people claiming to have a certain card, then you know somebody is lying.

There are 3 official ways to lose cards (influence):

1. Coup

Someone paid 7 coins and took out one of your cards. This is unblockable and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you have 10 coins or more, you must pay 7 and Coup someone. You can’t just sit there gaining money forever you have to attack someone.

2. Assassins

A player that holds an Assassin card (or says they do) can pay 3 coins to remove somebody’s influence. It’s cheaper than a Coup but it can be blocked by someone holding a Contessa.

This can get tricky because you can also lie about having an Assassin or a Contessa. This can quickly lead to someone losing all their influence on one turn. Check out the Assassin Whammy in the next section to see how that works.

3. Challenges

When a player makes a challenge, somebody is losing an influence.

If the challenge is correct, the bluffing player will lose an influence card. However, if the challenger is wrong and the player reveals the correct card that matches their ability, the challenger loses an influence.

You’ll never win if you simply go challenge-happy.

Your First Game of Coup

Coup Card Game Characters

There are a surprising number of rules that can be played incorrectly in Coup.

The Assassin Whammy!

If you are the target of an assassination and you challenge the other player by saying that they don’t have the Assassin or you bluff by pretending to have the Contessa and are forced to show your cards, then you lose 2 influence in 1 turn and are out of the round.

You’ll lose 1 card for the assassination itself (assuming they actually have the Assassin), and 1 card for a failed challenge. It’s very scary when you call an Assassin’s bluff, so make sure you’re confident before you do.

Ambassador Switcheroo

If you’ve lost an influence (only 1 card left in play) when you use the Ambassador, you still draw 2 cards but only keep 1. You can’t swap out your out-of-play card and you cannot regain influence using the Ambassador.

When swapping out cards, you can pick any of the drawn cards or you can keep your original cards just to mess with other players.

First Round

During your first game, it’s very tempting to start blasting away as the Duke and snagging 3 coins every turn… but that also makes you a target. One of the best strategies is to simply take income for the first few rounds.

Nobody knows what cards you have, and by the time someone messes with you, you’ll be able to claim any card in the deck regardless of whether or not you actually have it.

You Always Lie!

Sometimes when you play bluffing games back-to-back, you’ll notice patterns from certain players. Someone always inevitably has the Duke and when they don’t have the Duke, they’ll magically have an Ambassador to find one. It’s an interesting tactic to play the same way several rounds, only to completely switch it up. It tends to throw everyone at the table for a loop.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Fast rounds & quick games
  • Excellent social game
  • Very portable

I absolutely love Coup. It was introduced to me on a college trip when we were traveling in the UK. Whenever our classes were done for the day, we would sit at a pub and unwind with a few pints and inevitably Coup would be brought out. I still have that original copy of the game and it has traveled around the world with me.

I’ve played it with Kiwis, Aussies, Vietnamese, Koreans, Thais, South Africans, and a ton of other people all over the world. Not all of them spoke English 100% of the time and that just shows how easy this game is to pick up. There’s a bit of a language gap but it’s easy enough that most people can pick it up very quickly, and it’s a ton of fun.

Cons:

  • Can start a fight
  • Better for larger groups

TL;DR

Coup is a simple bluffing game that plays quickly in under 15 minutes.

It’s designed for 2-6 players. The more players the better, but I’ve still had a lot of fun even with just 2 players.

It’s excellently portable and the cards and coins are of quality paper stock. My copy has lasted numerous years and multiple spills.

Conclusion

Coup is one of those great games that I play often with a lot of friends. Kendra and I like to carry it out with us when we’re traveling and it’s an excellent ice breaker when meeting and making new friends.

It plays extremely quickly and even if you get knocked out early, there’s sure to be another round in a few minutes.

The social aspect of this game is fantastic. I love playing with people I’ve just met as well as with old friends. You really get to know a person when you get to lie straight to their face and laugh about it the entire time.

The pacing works incredibly well and because the rounds are so quick, I’ve rarely seen anyone too upset over losing early.

I’ve seen this game get some very quiet and shy people out of there shells and it’s one of my favorite social games to this day.

Coup
  • Ages 10 and up
  • For 2 to 6 players
  • Playable in 15 minutes

Have you ever played Coup or its expansions? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think. Moo!

Stats at a glance

Players: 2-6

Ages: 13+

Easy

15 Mins

Publisher: Indie Boards & Cards

Published: 2012

Coup

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