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Oliphante will release a new updated edition of the evergreen Coyote. This new edition will include some improvements, like the feather, new special cards, the Velcro with a special pocket, and a better scoring system thanks to many years of playtesting.
Coyote is a simple bluffing game in a western setting. Every player gets a card (bound on his forehead by fabric tape) showing a number of "hidden" Indians or a special value. You don't know the value of your card, but you can see all the others. The object of the game is to guess how many Indians are shown on the cards, declaring an increasing number every turn. If you are caught over-declaring, you lose.
Many special cards make every game turn a surprise, and don't forget you never know the card you are showing on your forehead.
Oliphante will present the new Coyote in Essen at Spiel 2010. Here some nice illustrations of the new edition materials by Chiara Vercesi:
Description written by W. Eric Martin and used with permission of BoardgameNews.com
Some games are very serious, some are just silly, and some are ``guilty pleasures'' since it doesn't seem like you should enjoy them, but you do. Coyote falls solidly into this third category, and while it is not a great game by any measure it is clearly the most enjoyable game to be produced by Kidult and a lot of fun to play. Essentially merging Indian Poker with Liar's Dice, players try to guess the sum of all the players' cards while seeing all except the one they hold.
Players don't see their own card because it is placed on their forehead secured by a colorful headband. The start player, known as the ``Scout'', makes a bid by stating a positive number that they assert is at or below the total of all the cards on all the heads. The next player must either bid a higher number or challenge. Once challenged, the true sum is revealed and the player on the wrong end of the challenge gets a coyote token stuck to their headband. Three tokens and you're out of the game, and the winner of course is the player who survives until the end.
What makes the game really work is the clever distribution of cards. Most of them are low positive values, ranging from one through five. A few 10s, 15s, and a single 20 are also thrown in, along with several zeros and some negative fives and tens. Plus, there are three special cards. One doubles the value of all the other cards, another negates the largest of the other cards, and a third requires that a new card be drawn from the deck after the challenge is made. This means that the card on your head (the one you do not see) can have a big impact on the total, and the ability to accurately guess the likely impact of your card is a function of the skill of the other bidders. Say, for example, that I see a total value of `5' not counting the player to my right. He makes a bid of 20, so what do I do? I could assume he is trying to make an accurate bid, and thus I may have the 15 or 20 on my head, or I could assume he is trying to lull me into thinking just that when I in fact have a small or negative number. Adding to the strategy of the game (and there really is some), the cards are only reshuffled after a special 'zero' card appears. Thus simple card counting can greatly increase the accuracy of your estimate which makes the right bidding even more critical. When people don't bluff well, the game isn't nearly as fun.
The rules also include a number of options to spice things up, and these work but some try to make the game more than it is. The Kidult website (www.kidultgame.com) is kept nicely up to date with new ideas and variations for all of their games. Coyote comes in a smaller box than Kidult's earlier productions, but the quality of all the components is top notch and they have continued their trend of providing full-color, multiple language rulebooks. The Kidult booth at Essen was much larger than their game library would imply, and this is consistent with their marketing approach since they hit the gaming scene a few years ago. Coyote is also their first game without dice in the name or as the key component - there's no dice in it at all. Maybe it's unrelated, but the result is their most enjoyable game to date and is worth a try for those who like suspending the seriousness for a few minutes.