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While playing Coup I have often pondered whether you can target yourself with the assassin. This might seem counterproductive at first, but actually has several very exciting use cases:

  • Turn Skip. Allow time to challenge, and block with a Contessa. At a very high price of (most certainly) giving away some information on your cards and running a high risk of challenge due to board information known by others and paying 3 coins, you could potentially earn a turn skip.

  • Bluff opportunity. Especially when paired with a Contessa, but also when maintaining the expectation of using the Contessa afterwards, and in tight end-game situations, using the assassin against yourself can provoke others to challenge.

  • Threat management via loss. As a subclass of aforementioned strategies, you may want to give away information, or lose either a card and/or coins to be perceived as less of a threat.

  • Chaos. I love Coup so much just because it lets you to play with the minds of others. What could throw someone off balance more than this?

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    Great first question! I'll leave answering it to someone with access to the actual rulebook, since various versions I can find online list a player or another player as the target, and that makes all the difference. It'd be easy enough to make this an explicit house rule, but I assume you don't want to do that because you'd lose the surprise factor which is one of the few saving graces of this extremely silly move :) – Benjamin Cosman Dec 28 '16 at 3:43
  • Even if the rule is explained to everyone beforehand, you'd only have the opportunity to use this in very rare cases. Depends on the people, but I think a lot would only retain the vague awareness of the possibility of such a move. – Morton Dec 28 '16 at 13:03
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As you can see from this image of the entire set of Influence cards, the Assassin's text is transparently brief. With my emphasis, that text is

Pay three coins to assassinate another player

Thus, you cannot target yourself with your own Assassin, however interesting that choice might end up being!

  • I would add my own image of the cards, but unfortunately haven't access to a copy. – Nij Dec 28 '16 at 5:06
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    I want to add, that there is a rule "More than 10 coins? -> Coup action is mandatory" for a reason - it forces you to do something eventually and breaks possible stalemates. If self assasination was possible, one could use contessa to block it, effectively just flushing 3 coins and prolonging stalemate. – Deo Dec 28 '16 at 8:22
  • "10 or more coins" to simply nitpick, but yes, you are forced to eventually act. Timing and forced-action-versus-limited-option scenarios are a common way for the game to end, my group often has determined the inevitable winner with several turns yet to be played, because anything else would make the result happen faster, not change it. – Nij Dec 28 '16 at 8:31
  • for me game often comes down to "mexican standoff" situation, when there are 3 players with 1 card and ~7 coins still in the game. If one elliminates another, third player will elliminate them, so no one wants to act until they are forced to. Feels anticlimactic, so I prefer Mascarade as my go-to bluffing game. – Deo Dec 28 '16 at 9:01

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