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A couple nights ago while playing Coup for the first time. During one of our games we came across the situation of someone challenging an Ambassador Exchange action. Given that both the Ambassador's Exchange and the challenge are going to require the swapping of active influence cards, what is the proper sequence to change them in?

The following sequence is what we ended up using.

  1. Claim to be an Ambassador and state intent to perform an exchange.
  2. Leave current influence cards face down on the table.
  3. Draw two (or one if only one influence left) new cards from the court deck.
  4. At this point the challenge was issued.
  5. The player then revealed their Ambassador card to the table.
  6. The Ambassador card was then reshuffled back into the court deck and a replacement was taken.
  7. The player then continued on with the Exchange and could swap with either his existing influence card and the newly drawn card which replaced his Ambassador.

This seemed like the most sensible way of doing it. However the rules themselves didn't explicitly define this situation.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

After claiming Ambassador, the player should pause for a few seconds and confirm that there are no challenges before drawing new cards. The reason is so that, if successfully challenged, the player does not gain any improper information about the cards remaining in the deck. (For example, seeing two Dukes in the deck can be a powerful suggestion that the players claiming it are lying!)

(According to the rules, you always check for no challenge before proceeding with a claimed action. But for the Assassin and Captain, you're waiting for the victim to take the hit (or claim a blocker) anyway, and for the Duke, it's easy enough to just return the coins. Only for the Ambassador is it important to deliberately pause.

It is also worth mentioning that you seem to have a slight detail confused. A player using Ambassador always draws 2 and returns 2, even if they have only one influence remaining.

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For any claimed action, the order is:

  1. State the action you are taking
  2. Wait for someone to challenge you
  3. If challenged, resolve the challenge - either you reveal the card, replace it and continue resolving the action, or you lose an influence and stop resolving the action
  4. If the action can be blocked, you see if it is blocked
  5. Deal with challenges to the claim of the blocker
  6. Finally, if not blocked, resolve the action

So in the case of Ambassador, if you are challenged and you successfully reveal an Ambassador, then you shuffle it back into the deck, draw a card, then go on with your Ambassador action of drawing two cards and shuffling two cards back into the deck (always two, never one).

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