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In Coup, players vie for control of a corrupt city-state in renaissance Italy. Through your influence in the court (the character cards in your hand), bluff, steal, and murder your opponents to become the last player standing and rise to power. There is no second place.
The deck is an even distribution of 5 different characters: (Ambassador, Assassin, Captain, Contessa, Duke).
The 15-card deck contains 3 copies of each character.
The 20-card deck contains 4 copies of each character.
The size of the deck depends on the number of players in the game.
Each player begins with ₤2 (or ₤1 in a two-player game) and 2 cards. Money is public knowledge, but character cards in hand are secret.
On your turn, take any action you can afford:
General actions (always available)
• Income: Take ₤1 from the treasury. Cannot be blocked.
• Foreign Aid: Take ₤2 from the treasury. Any player claiming to be the Duke/Diplomat can block.
• Coup: Pay ₤7 to the treasury and make another player lose influence (kill a character card). Cannot be blocked. If you start your turn with ₤10, you must choose this action.
Character actions (must claim to have that character card in hand!)
• Tax (as the Duke): Take ₤3 from the treasury. Cannot be blocked.
• Steal (as the Captain): Take ₤2 from another player. The targeted player can block by claiming to be the Ambassador/Inquisitor or the Captain.
• Exchange (as the Ambassador): Draw 2 cards from the court deck, then return 2 cards to the deck. Cannot be blocked.
• Assassinate (as the Assassin): Pay ₤3 to the treasury and make another player lose influence (kill a character card). The targeted player can block by claiming to be the Contessa.
Any player making a character claim can be challenged. A challenge always results in one player losing a character. The challenged player reveals a card from their hand.
• If bluffing, the revealed card is killed.
• If truthful, the revealed card is shuffled into the deck, replaced, and the challenger kills a card from their hand.
Dead character cards remain face-up and their influence can no longer be used. If both of your characters die, you're eliminated. The last player remaining wins!
This variant divides players into two factions (teams), the Monarchists and the Populists. As long as there are two factions, players cannot block or target their teammates (however, Convert and challenges are always allowed). If there is only one faction in play, infighting takes over and no restriction applies.
• Convert: Pay ₤1 to the almshouse to change your own faction, or pay ₤2 to the almshouse to change another player's faction. Cannot be blocked.
• Embezzle (any character except the Duke/Diplomat): Take all coins from the almshouse if you are NOT the Duke/Diplomat. Cannot be blocked.
If the Embezzle action is challenged, the challenged player reveals both cards in hand. If a Duke/Diplomat is revealed (bluffing), one is killed (any other revealed card is shuffled into the deck and replaced). Otherwise (truthful), both revealed cards are shuffled into the deck, replaced, and the challenger kills a card from their hand as normal.
This variant replaces the Ambassador character with the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor still blocks stealing and has two character actions:
• Exchange (as the Inquisitor): Draw 1 card from the court deck, then return 1 card to the deck. Cannot be blocked.
• Examine (as the Inquisitor): Secretly look at 1 card in another player's hand. Choose whether to return the card to the owner or force the owner to exchange it with the court deck. Contessa can block.
This variant replaces the Duke character with the Diplomat. The Diplomat still blocks foreign aid, still cannot embezzle, and has one character action:
• Cooperate (as the Diplomat): Take ₤3 from the treasury and give ₤1 to another player. Cannot be blocked.