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Dicebreaker Recommends: Deception and double-dealing in Coup

Plus six more great beginner tabletop games.

Dicebreaker is Eurogamer's newest sister site, a hub for all things tabletop gaming: board games, card games, pen-and-paper roleplaying, miniatures and more. The Dicebreaker YouTube channel launched recently, with a website to follow in the coming months. Dicebreaker Recommends is a new regular Eurogamer column from Johnny Chiodini, introducing us to a must-play game from the realm of the physical.

One of the things that most excites me about working on Dicebreaker is the chance to help other people discover new tabletop games, whether that be a pen-and-paper role-playing game, a party game you can learn in two minutes or a heavily involved strategy game that weighs as much as a small family car.

If there's one thing I've learned since launching the YouTube channel, however, it's that there are a lot of people out there who want to try tabletop games but have absolutely no idea where to start. In all the excitement of helping people expand their existing collections, in order words, we completely forgot to cater for those who had no collection at all.

Realising that oversight, thankfully, gave us a chance to crack out some of our all-time favourites in order to bring you seven great beginner games to start your board game selection. And there are some absolute corkers among these games. Codenames, for instance, is one of the most wonderfully accessible games going - which, given it came from the mind of Vlaada Chvátil, creator of the unbelievably dense Mage Knight, is no small feat. There's the odd classic like Carcassonne in the mix, of course, but if I had to pick one game from this list it'd be Coup.

Cover image for YouTube video7 Great beginner games to start your board game collection

Coup is a relatively straightforward game of deception, court intrigue and claiming to be a duke on your first turn no matter what. In Coup, each player is dealt two cards face down. Each card allows them to perform an action specific to that character (talking a heap of money as the Duke, for instance, or stealing from another player with the Captain), but the beauty of it is that you can claim to have any card, and thus attempt any action. The path to success, then, is paved with silver tongues as much as it is with gold (or near-future space money).

You can get a more thorough idea of how to play Coup and six other cracking beginner games in the video above. If you have any particular favourites among the list, or indeed any we missed, we'd love to hear about them.