RogerBW's Blog

Coup: Rebellion G54 27 October 2015

Coup: Rebellion G54, by Rikka Tahta, is a game of hidden identities, deduction and bluffing for 3-6 players.

Disclaimer: I demonstrated this game for Indie Boards and Cards at Essen SPIEL 2015 and received a copy as payment in kind, though I had previously backed it on Kickstarter.

Rebellion is clearly a derivative of the earlier Coup, and the core gameplay is the same. From a deck of fifteen cards, three for each of five roles, each player is dealt two face-down cards. Each role has a special power, but to use it one has to claim that one has a copy of the corresponding card; every such claim can be challenged, with either the challenger or the claimer losing a life (turning one of their cards face up and taking it out of the game); if the claimer had the card, he shuffles it into the deck and draws a new one. Last player to have a face-down card left is the winner. I normally dislike player elimination as a game mechanic, but games are so fast (rarely more than fifteen minutes) that I don't mind it here.

What Rebellion does differently is to offer flexibility. There are 25 roles in the box, of which one chooses five at the start of a game: one out of five "finance" roles which provide money, one out of five "force" which allow attacks, one out of five "communication" which allow one to exchange one's cards, and two out of ten "special interest" which add extra spice and complication. This allows for 5,625 possible variations on the theme, which can be selected randomly or chosen by the players.

I've heard people complain that they already have Coup, and now they "have to" buy this new bigger edition. Well, er, no, for two reasons apart from the obvious one.

First, it's not quite possible to play original Coup with this set. That game has roles which interact with each other (e.g. the Contessa blocks the Assassin), but since there's no guarantee that a particular role will be in the game at all that can't be done here. The counter to the Guerrilla (the equivalent of the Assassin) is another Guerrilla.

Also, original Coup fits in a smaller, pocketable box; Rebellion's is rather more substantial. There's a large card tray which is less than half filled by the components that are supplied; I'm hoping that there will be expansions to justify the size. Of course it would be very easy to slot in new roles given the existing framework. Art is suitably atmospheric, as in the original Coup.

So I'm certainly not going to get rid of my copy of Coup; they're different games to scratch different itches.

In Rebellion, it's the special-interest roles that I find most satisfying. The Priest takes one money from each other player, unless they're also claiming Priest. The Lawyer does nothing until a player is eliminated, at which point anyone who successfully claims Lawyer can have a share of that player's money. The Foreign Consular can make a Treaty with another player, preventing either of them from attacking the other until they're the last two left. The Missionary is claimed when you lose a life: if unchallenged, you put that card aside face-down but draw a new one from the deck.

Four cards are supplied for each role (at least in the Kickstarter edition, I'm not sure about the retail box), so games of 7-8 are possible, though given that this is a game which relies on player elimination and it would take rather longer than the standard version I'd be inclined to save this mode for enthusiasts.

I already liked Coup, and apart from the cross-card effects this game gives me the fun of Coup with significant variations from one play to the next.

This is a re-skin of Coup: Guatemala 1954 (still available from La Mame Games), and as far as I know offers no substantive changes from that game, though I prefer the art in the new version.

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