Coup 1.20

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Balls or Exile, the Card Game

Ahh, microgames, the best sort of social refresher for when the crowd gets so lethargic that nothing can save it seemingly. Typically, games that have come to be known as "microgames" consist of an extremely simple ruleset, wrapped around a dozen or so playing cards and a handful of tokens. Some of the most famous of these games are The Resistance, Love Letter, Codenames, and, of course, Coup!

Coup uses a deck of fifteen character cards, which contain three copies for each of the five personages in the game: The Duke, The Ambassador, The Captain, The Contessa, and The Assassin. Upon starting, every player receives two random character cards. These remain secret until revealed and represent the two points of "influence" that a player has initially. During the game, the influence can only go down to zero. If that happens to a player, he is eliminated from the competition. The last player standing wins.


Play goes from one player to the next until the game ends. On your turn, you get to perform a single action. There are several actions available, most of them dealing with the acquisition of money, stealing, and blocking, while the more specialized ones deal with card manipulation and removing influence off of your opponents.

Money is a significant aspect in Coup, as it allows you to perform the most dreaded action of the game, called "Coup." This action requires you to pay seven coins and enables you to remove an influence point from any opponent.

You could also opt for the "Assassinate" action, as it only costs three coins. However, this action might need support from your character cards (your sphere of influence.) But, since nobody knows what these cards are, you could merely insinuate that you have the Assassin character and attempt the assassination anyways, to which any player can object if he thinks that you're bluffing. This type of interaction is, in fact, the primary method of crippling and destroying your opponents. Whenever a player invokes an action that needs support from a character, if anybody objects, the said player must reveal the character card as proof. If he was honest, then the accuser loses an influence; otherwise, the liar does instead.

Things can get even more interesting when the Contessa character is involved. The Contessa has a reaction ability that can be invoked to ignore an assassination attempt. That means that you can potentially lose two influence points in one turn, the first if the enemy Assassin is cleared, and the second if you have bluffed about having a Contessa and got challenged.


As you can imagine, a game of Coup is very high stakes from the beginning to the end. Although the character cards get revealed slowly as players loose influence, you only rarely get a clear view of what cards your opponents are holding. Thus, a good poker face can make all the difference. However, Coup on Android is lacking in the face-to-face department. But that doesn't necessarily detract from the overall tension. Based on repeated plays with known opponents, you can form an idea about their proneness to bluffing. There's also the "Spies" expansion, which lets you examine an opponent's meta-game stats once in every game.

This digital version of Coup also carries some freemium "features." You need to spend energy to play, and you can only acquire it back by winning games, from watching video-ads, or as an in-app purchase. While an ad will give you a free play, a buck will get you at least twenty, and five bucks around four hundred plays. You can also purchase several alternate art packs, ad-removal, as well as the above mentioned "Spies" expansion.

Final Thoughts

Although all of the microgames I have mentioned in the beginning can be acquired in the Play Store in some form or another, I think Coup deserves some special attention. While deduction and misdirection are common aspects of these microgames, Coup takes these to the extreme, providing a quick, visceral experience with every play. The visual interface is also very polished, as it gives more information than you would get playing with a physical copy, while also remaining easy to read. I highly recommend Coup to anyone who wants to train at sniffing out liars, or who enjoys passing for the honest goy.

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Release Date: 2016-06-03
Publisher: Banana & Co.
Operating System: android
Type: Free