Monday, May 25, 2015

Gaming Materials: Coup

Ever just want to take things over, but have to do some deceitful stuff to get to power?  Well, if
not, Coup can at least help one learn how to do that.

This game has been around for awhile. I've been to pick up a copy of it after reading reviews for it, as bluffing games like it have a certain appeal to me. After playing it a few times with my gaming group. Originally out back in 2013, Coup, like the Resistance, is another bluffing party game.

Its speed and simplicity won us over.

Coup plays fast because one can take out others very fast.  One action a turn.  Each action doesn't have to be true.  And one is fighting to keep his or her facedown cards, his or her influence.

Influence is key theming that makes me like Coup.  Who one controls or manipulates is ever changing; the players represent almost faceless powers behind the scenes.  The game has a built in timing mechanism. This keeps games very short, and causes them to have some finality.  Conversely, this same mechanic can force one to attempt crazy last-ditch efforts.  All of this is reliant on being able to remember who has said who has what.  There is a depth there that I like.

Coup appeals both to my love of bluffing-deduction games (which I suck at, but love nonetheless), and my love any genre with intrigue.  Coup has five roles- it's 2015 update, Coup: Rebellion G54, purports to have 25- but I'd like to hack the game.  If only to have the role cards be blank.

I imagine how neat this could be as a legacy mini-game for any RPG.  Especially ones with political machinations going on.  Altered so that players (and the GM) can play out the shifting loyalties and politics that exist at levels outside the street level stuff of their player characters.

Each player would be given a index card representing a particular political faction.  The character cards in Coup would be the names of prominent NPCs in the campaign, possibly Icons of one kind or maybe groups of importance.  I could see the five character cards from coup being ported straight over to representing the five clans in Vampire: Requiem rather easily.

At the end of the game, each faction's last remaining influence card is noted down.  Obviously these are the current connections going on in the political game.  The next time the Coup game is played for determining in-game politics, these role cards are returned back to each faction.  I imagine each player would then be given the chance to do the exchange action before play- to give them each a chance to discard a role they don't want or perhaps shake up the deception in the game?

Maybe something like Rebellion would be better suited to this idea, but it's just the seed of it.  There are some notable flaws in it.  In particular, retaining knowledge of who last influenced whom and having it be open at all kind of reduces the chances of any bluffs working.  Maybe using the Legacy part of it to have the winner each time be the only one whose influences are known.  Maybe their faction gains a free coin each time they reveal a particular influence?

This is mostly just a random musing, but still, a part of me loves the idea of using part or all of a board game as part of a tabletop RPG.  I recommend Coup as a quick game for anyone who likes a bluffing game.  Have you or your group ever using non-RPG tabletop games or mechanics in your RPG sessions?  Comment and let me know how it worked out for you!