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Coup Two Player Review

Important Note:

All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Coup has players lying and bluffing their way to victory by keeping their influence and sabotaging others.  It’s definitely a fun game with more players, but does it hold up when it’s a one-on-one battle for power?

Coup Card Game Review

6.5 out of 10
Coup Board Game Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : Yes with some rule changes

Coup is a great game to pull out for quick, fast fun, but the right type of players are required.  If you and your friends are good liars and okay with being a little mean to each other, Coup might be perfect for you. It stands out from other deception games by having more strategic freedom and feeling more like a game than just a fun activity.

Theme: 3/10
Replayability: 6/10
Components: 5/10
Conflict: 9/10
Fun: 6/10

Husband’s Rating
7 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
6 out of 10

Pros

Very Portable

Quick, fast, and fun rounds

High Player Interaction

Cons

Requires the right type of players

Requires players to be quite familiar with the rules

Gameplay Experience:

Coup Card Game Review

Deception games are awesome to pull out with lots of players but they usually have to be the right players for it to be a fun experience.  This category of games really contributed to our early days in the hobby and were some of the easiest games to play with family and friends. 

Their simple rules and high player counts make them the perfect games for parties and to play with non board gamers.  We play them less nowadays but they still have a special place on our shelves.

I am a fan of deception games but my wife isn’t.  She likes watching when we play with more people but she usually prefers to play something that doesn’t involve lying or bluffing.  Her hands physically shake from hiding the truth and fibbing.  Yeah, she’s a weirdo, she can’t even pretend to be a terrible lying and deceitful person in a board game.

Even though I know it wouldn’t be her favorite, I still couldn’t resist adding Coup to our collection and giving it a shot. 

We played Coup quite a bit with family and friends and it was a hit with almost everybody we played with.  Those games were all with 4 plus players though.  It was time for us to try it at two players and see if the game would hold up.

Coup Game Play

We followed the official two-player rules in the rulebook and almost instantly I could tell my wife wasn’t having any of it.  We suffered through 3 games and called it quits.  The game just did not work well at all, with the losing player never getting a chance once they fell behind. 

After the terrible experience, I got out my handy dandy phone and started searching if people actually played this game with two because at this point I couldn’t believe they even listed two players on the box.  Thats when I discovered that a lot of people play with unofficial variants for two players.

So to my wife’s dismay, I got out Coup again the next night, but I crossed my fingers that it would be slightly more enjoyable at least.  This time around was much much better.  Coup was now off the chopping block and instead a strong contender for a really good two-player filler game.

We only played a few rounds but the changes we had made really made the game so much better that it didn’t even feel like the same game.  Rounds weren’t decided in a matter of seconds and it felt like we both had an equal chance at winning. 

Coup Rules Summary:

In Coup, players are dealt two cards that represent their influence in the game through different characters.  The goal is to outlast your opponents by maintaining your influence through bluffing, lying, and any means necessary. 

Players can also collect coins in order to hire assassins or perform coups on other players to weaken them and reduce their influence.

There are five different coup characters and three of each in the deck, these represent your influence.  The coup characters you may have at your disposal include the following:

  • Duke: Allows you to take 3 coins from the treasury and can block other players from taking two coins.
  • Assassin: Allows you to spend 3 coins to attempt to assassinate another player.
  • Contessa: Blocks an assassination attempt
  • Captain: Allows you to steal 2 coins from another player and blocks others from stealing from you.
  • Ambassador: Allows you to draw two new cards and return any two cards to the deck.  The Ambassador also blocks stealing.
Coup Game Characters
Coup Characters

On your turn, you can take an action allowed by one of your influences, take a coin or two from the treasury, or perform a coup on another player by spending 7 coins.  Coups cannot be blocked and the victim of the coup gets to decide which influence they lose.

The game is simple at its core and there wouldn’t really be a game if that was all there was to it, but in Coup anybody can be anybody. 

Even if you have a Contessa and Assassin in your hand, you could still take 3 coins from the treasury and pretend you have a Duke.  You could be dealt cards you don’t like and draw two new ones even if you don’t have an Ambassador.  At any time your opponents can challenge whether you really can do what you just did.

If you get challenged on an action that you did, then you will have to prove or disprove them and if they were right and you were lying you will lose an influence, weakening your position in the game.  

There is a way to lose two influences at once if you challenge somebody trying to assassinate you.  If you challenge their assassin and they actually have it, you will lose one influence for the fact they had it, and you will lose your second influence for the successful assassination.  In a similar sense, you will lose both influence if you bluff about having a Contessa to block an assassination.

Players continue taking turns to try and build up coins to coup, assassinate, and survive.  When a player loses both influence, they are out of the round.  The last player with influence left is the winner.

How to Play Coup with Two Players

Coup Official Two Player Variant

In the official rulebook, they advise separating the three copies of each coup character into three different decks.  Players get to choose one card from their deck and then are dealt one random from the third deck.  The first player also only starts with one coin instead of the normal two.

Other than these changes play continues as in the regular game.  We can see what was trying to be achieved with these changes but it just didn’t significantly help make the game better with two players.  So we recommend trying some version of the other unofficial two player variants out there.

The Better Way to Play Coup With Two Players

We have created a more detailed post on How to Play Coup with Two Players here: but for now, here is a summary of how we played.  Use the full Coup deck as usual while dealing cards randomly to both players.  Players start with the same number of coins just like in the regular game.

Now the real difference for this variant is that players will continue to redraw cards when they lose an influence.  The first player to lose six total influence is the loser.  This change makes the game last longer and allows for more options.  

To go see a more detailed version of how to play Coup with two players head here: How to Play Coup With Two Players

Conclusion:

Coup is a great game to pull out for quick, fast fun, but the right type of players are required.  If you and your friends are good liars and okay with being a little mean to each other, Coup might be perfect for you.

What makes it stand out from other quick deception games, is that it has more room for strategy and feels a bit gamier.  This is because you have a lot more freedom to do whatever you want and can lie about whatever you want in the game.  This is a big plus for a game in this category.

The rules for Coup are also pretty simple but might be a little confusing for some players.  This leads to one of the main negatives of the game.  Players have to be pretty familiar with the rules and roles to play the game well.  They will have to know what each card does to lie and bluff well.

Once players know what they are doing though Coup is a great casual quick filler game for players of all skill levels. 

Is Coup Good For Two Players?:

Coup was almost dead on arrival the first time we played with just two players, but after adjusting the rules things started looking up.  Using the official two-player variant in the rulebook, rounds are over too fast and once a player loses an influence it’s usually all over for them.  If players aren’t equal in strategic and bluffing skills, one player will consistently win which will be quite frustrating for the other.  

Once we switched up the rules though the game at two players got significantly better.  Each round was now worth playing and it felt like the freedom and wide array of options available at higher player counts were there again.  

So if you’re willing to try and experiment with some unofficial variants we think two player Coup is worth playing.  Both players still need to like this type of game to fully enjoy it though so take that into consideration when deciding if Coup is a good addition to your two-player games.

Pros

  • Very Portable
  • Quick, fast, and fun rounds
  • High Player Interaction

Cons

  • Requires the right type of players
  • Requires players to be quite familiar with the rules

Coup Card Game - Strategy, Bluffing, & Fast Fun for Family Game Night – Easy to Learn 15-Minute Rounds – Popular Games for 2-6 Players Ages 10+, Teens, and Adults – By Indie Boards and Cards
Coup Card Game - Strategy, Bluffing, & Fast Fun for Family Game Night – Easy to Learn 15-Minute Rounds – Popular Games for 2-6 Players Ages 10+, Teens, and Adults – By Indie Boards and Cards
Coup Card Game - Strategy, Bluffing, & Fast Fun for Family Game Night – Easy to Learn 15-Minute Rounds – Popular Games for 2-6 Players Ages 10+, Teens, and Adults – By Indie Boards and Cards

We hope this Coup two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Coup Game Online

There are multiple places to play coup online including Coup Online (chickenkoup.com) and Play Coup online from your browser • Board Game Arena.  These online versions of the game allow you to play against other real players.
If you don’t have people online to play with you can also try the game out at Treason Coup (thebrown.net) which lets you play against AI and real people if you so wish.

Coup Game App

Coup used to have a digital app version available on IOS and android but that is no longer the case.  It looks like the app was delisted from mobile stores sometime around 2019.  So for now if you want to play the game digitally you will have to look elsewhere online.


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