Sunday, April 07, 2013

The First Coup Coup of Spring

Just back from a lovely week in Sorrento, Italy, where the temperatures approached scorchio 20 degrees, and my pasty skin, not having seen an sunlight in months, instantly frizzled and fell off, like a vampire.

I brought along Coup, a very simple but addictive card game for 3-6 players which involves trying to wipe out everyone by amassing money in order to have them assassinated or "couped". Each player takes the role of a rich Italian family, so it seemed appropriate. Some cards allow you to accelerate the amount of money you can get or allow you to steal it from other players. There's a lot of bluffing - you can lie and pretend you have an Assassin card to kill off someone else's card. But that person can then lie and say they're holding the Contessa, which blocks Assassins. If you're challenged and found out to be lying, you automatically lose a card. I played with my fella and his sister, who are both master strategists and tend to send each other birthday cards that say things like "Power is Everything" on them. As expected, I didn't do too well. My sister-in-law tended to continuously claim she had the Ambassador, which allowed her to switch cards. I couldn't work out my fella's strategy but it involved a lot of him being very silent and thinking hard. I suspect both my opponents were lying most of the time, except for the rare times when I challenged them about lying. Then they always revealed they were telling the truth. Being a risk-avoidant sort of person, I tended to play an honest game, not claiming to have any cards in my hand that I didn't have. Once or twice, this resulted in me winning, as my opponents weren't able to conceive of someone telling the truth ALL the time. And once I won because I didn't understand the rules properly, causing my opponents to incorrectly think I was playing out some huge bluff, whereas in fact I was ignorant. I suspect I am the Kim Jong-Un of Coup.

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