Disappointed by the lack of assassinations on family game night? These alternative Coup rules are guaranteed to instigate more treachery!
When we get together for an evening of Coup, we aren’t shy about our intentions. The group I play with has no qualms with bluffing or pulling out the biggest, baddest cards. With or without an Assassin, we see our fair share of attempts being made, and more countering Contessa‘s than the game comes with. Hmmm… someone is bluffing!
That’s the whole point of the game. But imagine if no one bluffed (or
no one was very good at bluffing)? What if everyone just wanted to
get along, and therefore refused to use Assassin cards. Friends don’t
kill friends, right? Not when playing Coup! It’s a game, and you’re
not killing your friends, you’re just killing the noble members of
society your friends have influence over.
But alas, I hear and read about Coup players who lack willpower,
determination, courage, creativity, fortitude, deceptive personality
– whatever words you want to use to denote the inability to do
society’s wrongs. They will unwaveringly collect coins until they
have enough to stage a coup, guaranteeing an elimination without
deceit or counter.
Players such as this who are unable to do the dastardly deeds are not
uncommon, and do not generally effect the enjoyment of a game among
more wily players. But
when several players such as these join a single group, it can create
for one intensely boring and repeat endgame!
Coup House Rules to Encourage Treachery
If there’s one word that should never be associated with Coup, it’s “boring”. So, in the spirit of maintaining excitement through uncertainty, here’s a selection of house rules I came across that will encourage players to utilize Assassin cards, whether they have them or not.
Roll Die For Coup Target
This is, by far, the best and most effective Coup rule variation I’ve come across. From what I hear, it works quite well!
Whenever a player pays coins to stage a coup, they do not get to pick
their target. Instead, they roll a die to see who the target will be.
Each number on the die will be assigned to a player base don their
position. The player left of the attacker is, by default, #1. Next is
#2, and so on. Only potential targets are assigned a number. If any
unassigned number is rolled, the attacker must roll again.
This method eliminates a player’s traditional ability to target any
player they wish, making use of the Assassin role much more appealing
in order to eliminate the most threatening targets.
Let’s take a look at two possible extensions of that rule you might
To make things even more interesting, try assigning the attacker a
number also. For example, in a 4 player game, the attacker is #4. If
the attacker’s number is rolled, they get to choose their target,
just as they would by traditional
Alternatively, if you are playing with a group of 4-6 players, the
attacker could have the option to elect possible targets. In a 4
player game, the attacker could choose 2 of the 3 opponents. In a 5-6
player game, he/she would choose 3 potential targets for the coup.
If you initiate this alternative Coup rule, do not also use the
‘Roller’s Choice‘ rule described above. The purpose of rolling
for targets is to reduce the chance of the attacker hitting their
intended victim, thereby increasing the appeal of Assassins.
Coup Cost 10 Coins
Still not enough assassinations going on? Try raising the cost of a
coup from 7 to 10 coins. Not only will players have to abide by
random targets, it will cost more coins to do it.
Potentially Problematic Scenarios
Traditional rules are put in place for a reason. Altering the game with house rules can create problems. In this case, if all Assassin holders have been identified and/or their cards eliminated, it’s not possible to bluff an assassination. This won’t ruin the game, but the fact that Coups have been made so much more difficult becomes rather annoying at this point. Whether you see that as a hindrance or a challenge is up to you and your Coup game night groupies.
Adalene Lucas: is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.