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    Feb 2nd, 2017 at 16:38:36     -    Coup (Other)

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    Roles (no expansion packs)
    ============================================
    Assassin: Pay 3 coins (regardless if this action goes through successfully) to assassinate a player of their choosing. Chosen player chooses 1 influence to flip over.
    Contesa: Blocks assassination (not coup) against yourself.
    Captain: Steal 2 coins from any given player. Block people from stealing coins from you.
    Ambassador: Draw 2 cards from the deck and choose any 2 cards between those you just drew and what's remaining in your hand to put back into the deck(you can not put a card back that’s been revealed). Block people from stealing coins from you.
    Duke: Draw 3 coins (this is called tax). Block foreign aid

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    Players
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    The game can be played with 2 - 6 players. Starting the game with 2 people is generally not fun. The game’s mechanics flourishes around 5 to 6 players because at that point most roles have been distributed among players and knowing the deck gives greater insight. To begin with each player is given two role cards called influence. Leftover role cards are left in a deck for later use. Each player must keep their role cards as secret as possible. Throughout the game players will eventually lose influence, defined by flipping up their role card and removing its existence from the game. When a player has lost both their role cards then they are removed from the game. Their role cards never become usable. A player can never get back a lost influence. Once they have lost one influence they are stuck working with the remaining influence.

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    Rules (More thoroughly explained https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/131357/coup)
    ============================================
    This game ends when their is one person alive. Each role card aims to limits the actions other players can perform.

    Actions:

    1. Coup - Pay 7 coins and choose a player to lose an influence. Can not be blocked.
    2. Assassinate - Pay 3 coins and choose a player to lose an influence (blocked by contessa)
    3. Steal - Choose a player and take two coins from them. (Can be blocked with captain and ambassador)
    4. Exchange - Draw 2 cards from the deck and choose any 2 cards between those you just drew and what's remaining of your hand to put back into the deck(you can not put a card back that’s been revealed)
    5. Tax - Take 3 coins
    6. Foreign Aid - Take two coins (duke can block this)
    7. Income - take one coin (Can not be blocked)

    You can see most cards block other cards actions. In other words some cards have specific “relationships” with other cards. On a player's turn they are allowed to perform only one action. A player can perform any action they please, so long as no one challenges them on said action. So even though I have 2 contessa's in my hand I can pretend I have the duke can take 3 coins (taxing). This action will go through unless someone challenges me. In the instance where someone challenges me, 2 things can occur. If I don’t have the duke, the challenge was successful and my taxing action does not complete and I have to choose an influence to reveal. If I did have the duke I must first reveal it, then the challenge fails and the challenger must lose an influence of their choice. I shuffle my revealed card and pull out a new card so no one knows what I have.

    At the start of your turn if you have 10 or more coins you must coup somebody. You must always perform an action on your turn. The last person with at least 1 influence card standing wins the game. There are 3 of every role.

    ============================================
    Gameplay and Analysis
    ============================================
    GAME 1:
    At the beginning of the game 4 people decided to claim that they had duke (even though it’s known theres only 3 dukes in the game). Claiming duke early on generally allows you to get a coin lead and this scenario where we know at least one person is lying happens pretty often. At the very least no one at this point is going to try pulling foreign aid (taking 2 coins) because they know they’ll get blocked by someone. I actually have duke in this scenario so when it comes to Church’s turn the second time around I unsuccessfully challenge him when he tried taxing again. I chose to give up my own duke when I unsuccessfully called him on his bluff.
    The few turns consist of people ‘exchanging’, allowing people to look in the deck to give insight as to what others have, but more importantly what others don’t have. Chandler successfully stole from Church, so then other people started stealing from Church because they knew it was safe and his coins began depleting rapidly. This is something important to note.

    **Allowing someone to steal from you can be game over if you really don’t have something to block stealing. Other captain roles get revealed really quickly with the opportunity to take coins from you.**

    I’m the first one to lose as I tried to steal from Hawkins. At this point in time I had successfully stolen from Church once. The turn before me Chandler failed on assassinating Corey because Corey successfully challenged Chandler saying Chandler didn’t have the assassin. Because of this Chandler chose to reveal his captain. When I go and try to steal from Hawkins, Corey immediately calls me on my bluff, forcing me to flip over my last card and be out of the game. Corey was able call me so quickly because he had ‘exchanged’ from the deck, looking at what was in the middle, and saw the captain cards, ruling out that I could possible have one. This brings up another point to keep take into account:

    **Using Ambassador's ‘exchange’ action is one of the safest moves in the game since it’s hard for people to risk the chance to call you on it when you're effectively passing up a turn to gain money. But this action does put you at a greater chance of being targeted because you now know something the rest of the players do not, making you dangerous and hard to lie around. The ambassador card is the only card whose “behavior” allows you to learn something about the state of the game.**

    The rest of the game plays out with little conflict where people routinely tax, coup and repeat. 15 minutes of the game is just people sitting and thinking about their next action.
    It then comes down to the last 2 players standing with Church and Corey having to make a decision. All 3 assassins are removed from the game at this point so they don’t have to worry about assassins, and having a contessa card is useless since it’s entire purpose is the “relationship” it has with the assassin. Both players are within an arms race where they are trying to get to 7 coins to coup the other person. Corey set himself up for the victory by lying about having another card where in actuality he had the duke. This is doubly important because of the dynamic that occurs once the other two dukes are out of play. Not only Corey draw 3 coins, he can ensure that the other player draws 1 coin by blocking foreign aid. This inevitably allows Corey to win the arms race and coup Church.

    GAME 2:
    I start the game immediately performing the ‘exchange’ action my first and second turn and eventually got my favorite hand, the captain and the contessa. As soon as I said this Corey decided to coup me, forcing me to loose my favorite combo. Even though I had the least amount of coins out of everyone I had seen the deck twice making me much more dangerous than other people. In retaliation I successfully assassinated Corey (he gets rid of his duke) despite me having a captain in my hand, which felt amazing. At this point in time me and Corey have spent all our coins fighting each other and the rest of the players both have plenty of coins and both their influence cards. Being in last place isn’t always the worst situation to be in though, as people will often get targeted in waves. Corey and I are no longer seen as a threat which will allow us to stock back up on coins as the others fight each other.

    Chandler ‘exchanges’ for his 3rd time and the entire room lets out a sigh. Hawkins and Church have been playing it safe taking one coin a turn. Chandler assassinated Hawkins and he immediately blocks with Contessa. I attempt to steal from Hawkins which blocks with an ambassador. Church coups Chandler, Hawkins coups Church, Corey assassinated me. These kind of rapid deaths are common in coup when people have the same draw rate as the rest of the other people. Which is why looking weak and defenseless is often good to keep yourself from being put out of the game completely.

    The round comes to a close with Corey (1 coin) and Chandler(4 coins) remaining. What is generally an arms race is currently was more of a set in stone win for Chandler. All he had to do was to steal from Corey until he has enough to coup and win the game. Corey knew this and was forced to challenge Chandler about having the captain, which he did. Corey lost his last influence, marking Chandler as the victor. These sort of finishes are extremely common in coup where you know someone is going to win due to the action they can perform and you have to call them regardless. This will generally give you a more defeated feeling leaving you to think “what could I have done differently to avoid this situation?”.


    FURTHER ANALYSIS:

    I’ve been playing this game for a while and there's a few design choices I really enjoy about the game:

    1. End game when there are two people remaining, the most amount of the remainder of the dead player's cards have been revealed. Players have the most amount of information presented to them so they can make the most strategic decision to help them win the game.

    2. With 6 people (the max amount of players) there are still 3 cards in the deck. That means even if you exchange (drawing two cards out of the deck to look at them), you will still never find out what the remaining card is.

    3. Of the total 7 actions only 2 can never be stopped (coup and income). Since if you have 10 coins at the start of your turn you must coup, the game is guaranteed to have a finite turn limit.

    4. Assassination is not all powerful. When you assassinate someone with only one card left you better have that assassin. It’s a 50/50 they're going to call you on not having the assassin since if you do they have nothing to lose because their dying anyway.

    One aspect I do not like about this game is:
    Over the countless times I’ve played this game it will more often than it should come down to the 3rd place person choosing which of the other 2 remaining players will get to win the game. The 3rd place person has to make an action that is either going to wound one player, that allows the other player to dominate and take over to come in first, or kill the other player which will allow the remaining player to coup your remaining influence card.

    In my time with playing this game, it seems to bring out two different types of players out of people: the performer and the joker. This is the type of game where lying successfully to the other players will more times than not win you the game, thus bringing out the performer in people. The Joker comes out of people when they just want to be random and throw everyone for a loop where they claim they have a different role each turn they get.

    ============================================
    Conclusions
    ============================================
    I’m glad I had a good excuse to get people to sit down and play coup with me. Coup to me is a one of a kind game that becomes even more fun with the expansions provided. The game feels like you have to come in second to come in first because everyone targets the person who is in the lead. I died early both games, and it’s just as fun looking at everyone's cards and seeing the situations play out as it is playing the game.

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 2nd, 2017 at 16:40:54.

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