Why it’s not always a good
idea to play Coup for money, but a few good suggestions if you must.
Card and board games like Coup are a rare breed. The intrigue for most players comes from the wildly deceptive nature of the game. Outside of poker, there aren’t too many card games that allow – nay, strongly encourage – the strategic technique of bluffing. In fact, in most games, to bluff is to cheat. In Coup, however, the game wouldn’t be nearly so entertaining without it.
Also akin to poker, you may feel that staking a friendly wager on the outcome of a game will make it all the more interesting. That’s not necessarily the case. Quite the contrary, it’s just as likely to promote dissension in the ranks – anarchy among the masses! But there are ways to make it work.
The Social Pangs of Betting Money on Coup
While there’s nothing wrong with a little learnedly action on most
games, Coup is a bit different. It’s not just the deception and
bluffing that set it apart from the crowd. It is the potential lack
of randomness in crowning a victor.
Being a good player (or often more accurately, an excellent liar) and
using employing a solid
strategy will increase your odds of winning. However, if
everyone has it in for you, there’s almost no chance you’ll outlast
Because the game gives players the ability to intentionally target
one another, Coup betting can cause strained relationships, to put it
mildly. Some players will leave their closest friends alone, coming
after the new player at the table, or select their targets in some
other not-so-random manner. And when a player feels their being
unfairly targeted… let’s just say it’s not a great way to keep the
peace, even when there’s nothing but small change in the pot.
Altering Coup Rules to Make Betting Fair
If your gaming friends are determined and willing to make a few
adjustments, there are some ways you can alter the game so it’s more
suitable for betting. First, you need to make targets more random.
You can do this by requiring a dice roll to choose your target when
using an Assassin card or raising a Coup.
In a 3-4 player game, let the attacker choose two potential targets.
Assign one of them the numbers 1 and 2, and the other the numbers 3
and 4. If these numbers are rolled on the die, the corresponding
players takes the hit. If a 5 or 6 is rolled, the player gets to
choose their own target. The same set-up can work for a 5-6 player
game, except the player chooses 3 potential targets, assigning two
numbers to each. Player’s choice targets do not become eligible until
the number of players is reduced to 4.
This simple rule adjustment is the best way to give a primary target
a fighting chance at survival. Keep the wagers friendly, and no one
gets hurt. Or, you could always try this…
Play Coup with Real Coins
Another option is to play with real coins, instead of the game’s tokens. Nickels are a good option, dimes at most, to keep the stakes low.
Every time a player collects coins, instead of taking them from a community pile, each player takes them from his or her own pocket change. Following the standard rules of the game, coins can be stolen from one another, and whenever a player must pay coins to take an action, those coins get paid into the pot.
As players are knocked out, or when the game ends, everyone keeps any unspent coins they’ve accumulated. The winner’s prize is all the coins in the pot.
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