For the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to play a few board and card games (something I don’t often do). After weeks of playing, I decided to choose to analyse a card game called Coup.


What is Coup?

Coup is a strategy and war card game set in a dystopian universe, which was released in 2012 by Rikki Tahta and his family and published by La Mame Games and Indie Board & Cards (IBC). The game encourages players to bluff and deceive their way to victory. Although, saying some truth during the game wouldn’t hurt.

Coup can be played between 2 to 6 players and it is considered as a family and party game. The game time is relatively short as each round lasts about 15 minutes on average (Perfect to play multiple rounds if time allows it). The game is for people aged 13 and above.

Why did I choose Coup?

I chose this game, because it was something brand-new and fresh to me. I have never seen a card game with this kind of concept before. I was intrigued by the idea of “Lying your way to victory”. So, after hearing the rules and what I had to do in the game, I was all for it and gave it a shot. After playing a few games, I was in love with it and that is when I decide to analyse Coup.

What is included in Coup?

Coup comes with a total of:

  • 15 cards
  • 6 summary cards
  • 50 coins
  • Instructions

In the deck of cards, there are 5 characters and each character has 3 separate copies. Each character of Coup is very unique due to their abilities which can only be used by that card. Players can always look at their cards to look at the abilities or the summary card that they are given if they forget what their characters does.

The characters of Coup are:

  • Ambassador
  • Assassin
  • Captain
  • Contessa
  • Duke

What do the characters do?


The Ambassador’s action allows the player to exchange a card from their hand with a card from the deck while allowing the player to block other players from stealing coins as a counteraction.


The Assassin allows the player to eliminate an opposites card if the player pays 3 coins to the foreign aid (similar to a bank in Monopoly). However, the card does not have a counteraction.


Players with Captain can steal 2 coins from the other players as well as block stealing should an opponent try to steal their coins.


This card is the opposite of the Assassin card, it has no action but it does have a counteraction. This card can block an assassination should an opponent try to assassinate a players card.


The Duke allows player to take 3 coins from the bank (Players can take a max of 2) as an action, while preventing opponents from taking more than 1 coin from the bank as a counteraction.

How do you play Coup (Rules)

The rules of Coup is straightforward. After shuffling the deck, players are given 2 cards which they can look at when they need too but must always be faced down in front of the other players.

With the 2 cards, players receive 2 coins to start off and just like the cards, the coins must be kept visible to opposing players at all times. If a player manages to save up to 10 coins, they MUST use 7 coins to eliminate an opponent’s card, this is called a coup action. It is also worth noting that the Contessa card CANNOT block this action.

Summery Card

And just to keep as a reference, each player is allowed to have a summery card which shows the all the possible actions to take or counteraction to take throughout the game. This is a good way for new players to familiarise themselves with the game and the characters.

Who begins the first game that depends on the players themselves, however, the winner of the previous game starts off the new game and goes in a clockwise order. On a players turn, they are allowed 1 action only. So, they have to think of their move carefully as it will either cost them or help them in the endgame. Players are not allowed to pass their turn at any given time. And yes, the coup action is counted as a turn. So, even if a player uses a coup action, their turn is over.

Players objective and games mechanics

The objective of the game is to eliminate the other players and be the last one standing. Each player has 2 lives because of the 2 cards they start with. There are many ways to eliminate a player.

Since the game encourages deceptions and bluffing, players are able to call each other out if they think someone is lying. For example, player A wishes to assassinate one of player B’s card. At this point, player B does not know if player A truly has an assassin card or not, but still decides to call out player A. Once the challenge has been laid out, player A must revel if they have an assassin card. If player A has the assassin card, player B lose a card (a life), however, if player A does NOT have the assassin card then they lose a card.

There are many strategy that can be used in this game from bluffing, to deceiving or simply just telling the truth. The game is fully random and anything could happen.

Fun facts

Coup was so popular among the gaming community that 5 more different versions were released ( Coup: Reformation, Coup:Rebellion, Coup:Anarchy, Coup: Mobile and Coup on IOS/Andriod). And each version had new roles and ways to play the game which involved a team play and the amount if players that could play the game increased to 10. The fact that the game received multiple versions after the original just shows how popular Coup was with the people.

Feelings about the game

I had so much fun playing the game, I loved the idea of including elements of bluffing and deceiving into a card game, it makes it stand out more compared to the other card games that we currently have. The game really forced me to think well and hard about my next move and think of all the possible outcome that may occur with my action. Truly a hidden gem of a game.

Here is a video I made on coup, hope you enjoy it!


Coup game rules. UltraBoardGames. (n.d.). Retrieved May 27, 2022, from 

Lucas, A. (2018, July 3). History of coup card / board game. DebitCardCasinocagames. Retrieved May 27, 2022, from 

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