Coup Coup

Coup Coup

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Writer_smallerCoup Coup

Hanabi got its hooks into me over the weekend.

My little brother arrived home with a bag full of games for us, including Coup (as witnessed above), Hanabi, and some add-ons for Star Realms and Netrunner. Coup was good fun – it’s a lighter Mascarade that’s quicker to play, a really good opener for an evening.

But it was Hanabi that really left an impression on me. I love games that tell stories, and I’m beginning to understand that I also love games that engage me in different ways as well. After being on our shelf longer than almost any other game in our collection, Pandemic is still one of our most played games (yes, we’re fairly new to this). Pandemic is as much as puzzle as it is a game, and it is a fiendish one. Planning ahead and coordination between players is as essential as striking a balance between keeping the infections at bay and gathering resources to ultimately cure them. It’s not a game where players idly chat in between turns. During a game of Pandemic, everyone is talking, and thinking about the game. It’s tense, engaging, and I love it.

Similarly, Hanabi is as much a puzzle as it is a game, more so than Pandemic, even. In it, players hold hands of cards facing the wrong way around, so that they can be seen by everyone else at the table. Players then need to give each other limited information about what cards they are holding, in order to collectively match numbers and suits. There are other factors as well, but that’s more or less it. From just a couple of plays, it seems to be about optimising information flow between players. Which might sound dull, but damned if it isn’t engaging. I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I played it at the weekend, and that, if anything, is a sign of a really great game: it will remain in your head long after it has left the table.

On a side note, I personally think Aileen drew herself looking way too happy when throwing me out of the house. Also, if asked, she will always state this as her favourite comic. These things worry me sometimes.

See you all next week!

5 Comments on Coup Coup
  • Ben Thorp

    Ooooo – so much to talk about 🙂

    I’ve played Coup a few times (I also have the Coup: Reformation expansion, as yet unplayed). I didn’t find it as much fun as The Resistance, and it doesn’t get as much play-time at my game group any more. We had a couple of games that fell really flat, and I think that a couple of folk don’t enjoy bluffing games all that much. (The Resistance, as a counter-example, is still a social deduction game, but doesn’t require bluffing in the same way). I’ve also not been able to get Cops and Robbers to the table for the same reason.

    I’ve not played Hanabi, but I was interested in the comparison to it that Tom Vasel made in his recent review of Bomb Squad, which has a similar mechanic, but I think looks more thematic (if not a lot more stressful).

    As for Pandemic…… Pandemic Legacy. Want.

    (Also, the Android version of the app came out, and it’s *great*)

    • We actually had a few games of The Resistance that have fallen flat, and there’s certain player counts that I don’t like playing with anymore -throws off the balance of the game. Too easy for the spies to win by just sitting back and not doing anything, too hard for The Resistance to win. I want to replace it with The Resistance: Avalon. I really loved my few places of that. More ‘game’ to it, and the roles also make it a lot more fun and involving for more players.
      We actually have the print ‘n play of Bomb Squad, but haven’t even gotten as far as the Print part yet… It does look like it’s an awful lot of fun, though.
      And yeah, Pandemic Legacy is just … nothing even compares to how excited I am for this game. Nothing.

  • Steven

    I think that Hanabi is my favorite game right now. I like The Resistance, as it’s brain-burning in ways that make me want to strangle people, but Hanabi is brain-burning in ways that make me laugh when things go hilariously wrong. Playing conventions that previously served you well suddenly destroy you when the game deals you a new situation. And it plays very differently with 2 players than it does with 5. Adding the rainbow cards, either as a 6th suit or as wilds, is a hoot. I’m still in pursuit of a perfect game. One of these days I’ll get around to making my “Muppet Show” re-theme…

    • I think Hanabi is going to end up getting a lot of play over a long time with me as well. I am very afraid of those rainbow cards, though. I mean, the game is hard as it is. I hide them at the bottom of the box and pretend they don’t exist.

      • Steven

        I did the same thing for awhile until a friend insisted we try the rainbow cards. Somehow, the added difficulty made it even more hilarious — especially when we’re confused whether the rain own re a distinct suit or wild, and realizing how we screwed up previous clues. I don’t remember the last time I laughed as hard as when the two of us were playin with wilds, and he had three red and two rainbow cards. I still can’t explain why it was so hilarious when I had to tell him that all of his cards were red.

        The only time I DIDNT enjoy playing Hanabi was when I was teaching my brother in law to play. He tends to play very aggressively, and was immediately playing cards blindly, losing us the game within a handful of rounds. It took three games before realized that blind plays are a bad move…