Hoax (2nd Edition) Review – Coup With Added Bits

I love games where you get to lie and bluff to your opponents. Those funny mind games you play where you try to psyche each other out and trash talk to your heart’s content. A lot of my favourite simple games (Kakerlaken PokerSpyfallOne Night Ultimate Werewolf) will involve some degree of mind-game trickery. I find it’s just the perfect recipe for player to player interaction. Not all of them work for me of course. Skull deals more with random bidding then actual lying. Mascarade is OK, but the added element of not knowing who you are makes it a little too chaotic and the less said about Coup (aka Call My Duke) the better.
Hoax (2nd edition) is a card-based social bluffing game, that took 30 years to return to our shelves after its first edition, so essentially a quick pit stop. Hoax was possibly one of the first games that introduced the idea of bald-faced lying as a rules mechanic – as opposed to a reason not to get invited to game night again – and admittedly merged it with a bunch of clunky, somewhat needlessly complicated rules and exceptions. It was the 80′s; people thought roll-and-move and player attrition were unwavering columns of game design.
Coup came along, took the core ideas out of Hoax and broke the game down to its basic elements. Quick and dirty player elimination by way of verbal Russian roulette. You get caught in a lie, you’re half-dead. You throw around a wrong accusation, you’re half-dead. You let somebody collect too much money as the game goes on, you’re half-dead. And despite having multiple options to choose from, everyone relentlessly claimed they were the Duke because his ability was clearly the most overpowered in the set. If you ended up starting with a Contessa and a Duke you were laughing. So every game played out the same way and as such I can’t stand that game any more. So I’m not exactly gasping to be trying out a reboot of a game that spawned the likes of Coup, but we’ll see what’s changed for the better if anything.

Check out the full guest blog review at Games Quest!