Coup

Players:
2-4
Multiplayer:Online only
AI:No single player
Universal App:Yes (there is a single app which works on both iPhone and iPad in HD)
Purchase for iPhone:Use link below to purchase universal app
Purchase for iPad:
Coup
Price: Free
User rating:
GD Star Rating
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Coup, 5.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

Though not anywhere nearly as popular as Love Letter, Coup is still arguably one of the games that helped usher in the current microgame trend. Now that microgames are established, is the presence of Coup as an incredibly free-to-play freemium game better for the resistance, or the evil empire?

Gameplay

Coup is set in a dark future, where corruption is rampant and regime change is as regular as a weather report.

The deck consists of 3 each of 5 cards, and each player will be given two cards in secret. Each turn, each player will then take an action. Each card has a different action associated with it: the Duke can levy a tax of 3 coins; the Captain can steal 2 coins from an opponent or prevent a steal against you; the Ambassador can prevent a steal or allow you to look at the top 2 cards of the deck, then return 2 cards to the bottom; the Assassin can force a player to reveal a card for 3 coins; and the Contessa can prevent an assassination attempt.

coup income

Each player can also simply collect 1 coin of Income if they don’t wish to use a card action, or may stage a Coup (and win the game) if they have at least 7 coins banked. (In fact, if you have 10 coins banked, you are required to do so.)

coup confirm

What keeps this from being little more than an exercise in rock-scissors-paper is the fact that you are not required to play a card effect you actually have. On your turn, there are buttons at the bottom indicating each available action, and you simply take whichever action you like. Each player can either challenge or allow the action. If you are challenged and were bluffing, you are forced to reveal a card; if you were not bluffing, the challenging opponent is forced to reveal.

coup win

The game ends either when one player can afford a Coup, or when only one player has at least one card still concealed. Since hands consist only of 2 cards and it only takes 2 turns of tax collection to afford a Coup, games tend to be short.

Implementation

Coup, as it currently exists on the iOS, has no AI at all. This means that you must have an active Internet connection to play, meaning the game may make more sense on a phone than an iPad if you plan to play at all.

coup waiting

You must create an online account to play the game, which can either be created on their server or tied to  your Facebook account. You then have a choice of games with your friends or ranked matches against the general Internet. Games are played in real time, due to the ability of any player to challenge any move made by any other player, so unless you’ve arranged ahead of time to play with your friends, you’ll likely be playing blind more often than not. Ranked matches cost Rep to enter; you can earn Rep slowly by winning, or you can (naturally) buy packs of it. You can also watch video ads to earn free Rep; each add pays out 25 Rep, and it costs at least 50 to enter a ranked match.

coup stats

Rep isn’t the only thing you can buy. You can also purchase alternate art packs for $3 apiece that change the cosmetics of the game; 4 such packs currently exist. You can also spend $5 for the “Spy” expansion. This will let you, once per game, examine the detailed statistics of your opponent. This, according to the game, will give you insight into how your opponent is likely to behave; in practice it doesn’t seem to do all that much. Since your likelihood to bluff is based largely on the cards you’re randomly handed, past behavior is really not an indicator of future performance. The Spy can also be used to reveal the cards your opponent was holding, if you lost or won by Coup.

coup achievements

There are also achievements, as with most online games. You can use Rep to bypass them; this lets you get to higher tiers of play more quickly, which in turn lets you compete for higher Rep rewards. An interactive tutorial exists, and while the game is fairly simple, the tutorial does a fantastic job of covering everything you need to know.

Verdict

With the requirement of an always-on connection and a play time that tends toward the 2-3 minute range, this game makes much, much more sense on a phone than it does on an iPad. While the app is solid enough, it places a tremendous emphasis on the freemium  model, giving the player an abundance of things to pay for, very few of which actually contribute to the gameplay in any meaningful way. The audience appeal for this one is limited, but if you enjoy the idea of taking on random strangers on your phone to prove your prowess in a microdeck bluffing game, this is one of the best ways we’ve seen to do it.

Check out other great games:

7.5
If you enjoy the idea of taking on random strangers in a microdeck bluffing game, this is one of the best ways we've seen to do it.

Good Things

  • Cartoonish but clear graphics and a logical layout, but did we have to make ART the thing on which we spend money?
  • Polished and bug-free

Bad Things

  • The freemium aspect is grafted on both nakedly and poorly
  • No solo version
  • Gameplay depth is sacrificed to streamlining

The Breakdown


Gameplay
7
Features
6
Artwork
8
Interface
9



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