Welcome to Coin Wars, a turn-based tactile tactical strategy game.
Listen to the theme song!
Players take turns flicking coins trying to knock all their opponent's coins off the table. Some coins have special abilities, like freezing an enemy coin for a turn, or flipping a coin over to steal control over it. The last player with a coin on the table wins! Che partita!
Table of Contents
- Video Tutorials
- General Rules
- Game Scenarios (2 Player, many players)
- Special Coin Abilities
- ASCII Coin Wars Video Game
- Special Thanks
- (1:25) Intro to Coin Wars
- (2:03) How to Play A Simple Two Player Game
- (3:04) Self-Balancing Handicaps and Catching Coins
- (8:28) Special Coin Abilities and A Sample Game
- (6:17) Don't Leave Your Seat! Don't Fat-Finger the Coin! Play It As It Lies!
- (4:40) Many-Player Games (Battle Royale)
Here's some general rules that apply to all Coin Wars games, whether you're playing with two players or more.
Heads vs. Tails
This is the simplest form of Coin Wars. Two players each place four coins on the table. You should use one type of coin for all the coins. Nickels or quarters are a good choice. They have a good heft to them.
Players may place their coins however they like. In a 4-on-4 match it is common to place coins on each side of the table in a straight line.
It it wise to not leave a coin so near the edge of the table that it will be easily knocked off with a small tap. It is courteous to place coins in your one-quarter portion of the table.
Coins may be stacked on top of each other in any combination. This allows you to flick them and spread a line of coins across the table on your first turn. Stacking coins is not common. It's not illegal. It's just novel.
Killing a Coin
Coins are removed from the table and placed aside when they are knocked off. It is courteous to catch coins as they fall off. Players call their shot to allow another player to help catch any falling coins. No one likes chasing coins rolling around on the floor!
If a player flicks their own coin off the table without taking out another coin it's called a "suicide." If a player's coin falls off the table while knocking off another coin it's called a "kamikaze."
Flicking a Coin
You probably don't want to flick a coin the same way you'd flick someone you're mad at. Starting a flick with your finger held back by your thumb to build up tension and put power into your flick will cause your flick to be inaccurate and hurt your finger when you bash it against the coin.
Instead, put your finger on the table so your fingernail is touching the table and pushed up against the back of the coin. Your finger should not be on top of the coin at all, but behind it. Now push the coin with a strong quick motion.
It is better to push the coin like this than to flick it. You'll have more accuracy and power with your shot. Also, if you're pushing the coins it will hurt much less than flicking them.
Don't put your finger on top of the coin! Putting your finger on top of the coin gives you unfair control over where the coin will go.
You shouldn't ever have full control over the coin. Once you start pushing a coin it must maintain one trajectory. If you move your finger backward the coin shouldn't move backward too.
This adds an element of risk when pieces are close to the edge. It's possible to flick a coin too much and send your own coin over the edge while you're trying to take another coin out.
Staying in Your Seat
Coin Wars is a game of culture. There are no rules against leaving your seat when you take a shot. Instead, players are just encouraged to stay in their seat. It is considered rude and bad form if a player leaves their seat to take a shot. If a player has a coin across the table they may need to reach over it and flick it backward to make an effective shot. These shots are tricky!
It's totally legal to stand up and leave your seat and walk around the table to make a shot. It's just considered rude and unnecessary. Depending on the size of the table, the trickiness of the shot, and the weight of the moment players may look down their nose at this behavior.
There may be things on the table that interfere with the game. Cups, napkin holders, pitchers, and all sorts of things get in the way. Clear these away or use them as terrain in your game. The game is fun either way. Talk to your opponent to figure out what you consider terrain and part of the table before you start playing.
If you're enjoying a game over drinks, for example, you can choose to generally leave drinks on the table during a game and ask someone to lift a drink when it interferes with a shot. If someone wants something moved out of the way of their shot it is their duty to request for it to moved before taking their shot. It is lame for someone to take a shot, have a coin hit something and then complain that the coin "would have" fallen over the edge if that thing weren't in the way.
Usually the entire area of a table is a good size for the game. Sometimes you'll be at a table that's extra wide or has some area you don't want to go having to chase enemy coins down in. Players may choose to establish boundaries so that if a coin goes past a certain point it is considered off the table and out of play.
Another common table scenario is playing on a table that has a wall on one edge. Players can choose to either allow coins to bounce off the wall and stay in play, or decide to immediately eliminate any coins that touch the wall.
Choosing Who Goes First: Rock-Paper-Scissors Middle-Finger-Defer
Who goes first? Well. Figure that out yourselves. But also, Coin Wars has a solution for you.
Players play a game of rock-paper-scissors and have the option to defer. The player who wins rock-paper-scissors goes first. If a player does not want to go first they can choose to defer.
A player chooses to defer going first by raising their middle finger to the other player. Raising a middle finger to defer replaces the act of playing rock, paper, or scissors. Players can not change their rock, paper, or scissors after revealing their choice. Middle-finger-defers must happen right out of the gate.
If both players choose to middle-finger-defer this is a tie and the process should be restarted.
A player may choose to double-down on their defer by raising two middle fingers. Two raised middle fingers beats one raised middle finger. The player that only raised one middle finger must go first.
Finally, players may choose to defer with two raised middle fingers and also move their hands up and down repeatedly. If both players do this the player that moves their hands up and down most ferociously wins the defer and gets to take the second turn.
A player may want to defer if the play area is especially large and they want to bait the other player into moving their coins closer on the first turn so they can try to pluck off a snipe on their first turn, the second turn.
Game Scenarios (2 Player, many players)
Two Player Classic
Players each start with four coins, usually all nickels or all quarters. Players each line up their coins any way they wish on their end of the table. Players take turns until only one player is left with any coins on the table.
Two Player Classic w/ Rebalancing
Coin Wars comes with a mechanic to rebalance two-player games. This is a fun way for players to test their skill against unfair odds, and it is a great natural way to bring new players in to the game.
Re-balance the game after each round by having the winner give one of their coins to the loser. This turns a game of four coins against four coins into a game of three coins against five coins. Either The player with fewer coins goes first, or the player who most-recently gave a coin to another player goes first.
For example: a wizard and a noob start a friendly game together. They each start with four quarters. The wizard beats the noob in the first game so the wizard gives one quarter to the noob so the next game is three versus five.
Playing three versus five the wizard goes first because they have less coins. This game is more even but the wizard still wins. The wizard concedes another coin to the noob so the next game is two coins versus six coins.
The wizard and the noob play two coins versus six coins. The wizard goes first because they have less coins. The noob wins with their overwhelming amount of coins. They noob gives back a coin to the wizard so the next game is again three versus five.
In the three versus five game the wizard starts first because they have less coins. The noob has gained more experience and beats the wizard. The noob gives up a coin back to the wizard so the next game is four coins versus four coins.
In the four versus four game no player has fewer coins. The noob plays first this game because they most recently gave a coin to the other player.
Two Player Neo-Classic
Historically Coin Wars was played just like Two Player Classic, and the rebalancing mechanic was introduced early. Eventually players made up special abilities for different coins. This added a totally new layer to the game. The standard set-up of coins and special abilities became called Neo-Classic.
Basically each player has four normal coins without any special power, as usual. Then they get a dime with converts coins, a nickel that immobilizes coins and a general (a big heavy coin that can't be converted). Read on through the Special Abilities section to read details about each ability.
Play just like the Two Player Classic Scenario except add in coins that have special abilities.
- 4 soldiers (quarters)
- 1 immobilizer (nickel)
- 1 converter (dime)
- 1 soldier (hefty dollar coin)
If you don't have something like a heft dollar coin available for the general you can downshift all the coins and play with the following:
- 4 soldiers (nickels)
- 1 immobilizer (penny)
- 1 converter (dime)
- 1 soldier (quarter)
Coin Wars has a play mode accommodating any number of players. Players each get four coins. Use a sharpie or some marker to physically draw symbols on the coins to show what coins belong to each player. Players place their coins together on their on portion of the table.
Players take turns flicking their coins wherever they want. The last player with a coin on the table wins. Players do not give up coins to re-balance the game as they would in a two player game.
If a marked coin flips upside down in the middle of a game that coin becomes a mercenary coin. Any player is allowed to flick a mercenary coin on their turn. If the coin flips back over to reveal its symbol it returns solely under the control of the indicated player. Read more about mercenary coins in the Special Abilities section.
Players show up with large bags, buckets, and barges of whatever coins they have. Players use a marker to mark what coins they control. Players play the game just like they would the many-player four-versus-four-versus-four game except there's way more coins on the table.
None of the coins have special abilities, unless of course players decide they want them to be so.
This game scenario takes forever to play. There's only one game attempted in memory, and no game recorded ever completed. Well, the one remembered game ended. It just ended in a table-flip.
Special Coin Abilities
Coin Wars has more to offer than simple 4-vs-4 plain-coin games. Here are some common special abilities you can assign to coins to spice up the game. These abilities are identified by the name of the ability instead of by a coin type so there is freedom to assign each ability to whatever coin you want.
The most common Coin Wars variant is called Neo-Classic. In addition to the 4-on-4 coins each player gets coins representing a immobilizer, converter and a general. Normally you use quarters for the four normal coins, then a dime, a nickel and a hefty one-dollar coin. Sometimes you won't have a hefty one-dollar coin around. If you don't have a hefty coin you can downshift all the coins and play with four nickels, a penny, a dime and a quarter instead.
Only the soldier, immobilizer, converter, and general are used in most games. These make up Neo-Classic. Other abilities like mercenaries, mines, repeaters and the Arch of Ugilia are things that have been made up and mixed in to games on whims for fun. Part of Coin Wars is making up your own abilities and seeing what's fun, or ridiculous.
Read on to see what abilities you can assign to coins.
A soldier is any coin without any special abilities. A soldier has loyalty to one player. A soldier's loyalty is marked either by heads or tails, in a two-person game, or by a symbol written on the coin with a marker. A soldier's loyalty may be altered by a converter, flipping it over from heads to tails, or drawing a new symbol on the coin.
Soldiers are represented using quarters in Neo-Classic.
The immobilizer prevents other coins from moving. Any enemy coin the immobilizer touches may not move on the next turn. This only happens when the immobilizer is attacking. A coin that runs into an immobilizer is unaffected.
The immobilizer is particularly effective at disabling a converter, or halting a general. It's very effective at hitting and immobilizing the same coin repeatedly, chasing a coin until it's knocked totally off the table.
The immobilizer may immobilize multiple coins in one turn. The immobilizer immobilizes any enemy coin it touches when it is attacking. It never immobilizes friendly units. Like, come on. It's smarter than that.
If a player has just one coin left under their control that coin is impervious to being immobilized. If a player's last coin is an immobilizer that sole immobilizer can still immobilize enemy coins, as long as the enemy has more than one coin left.
Immobilizers are represented with a nickel in Neo-Classic.
The converter converts coins so they're under your control. In a two player game the converter flips coins over so they change from heads to tails, and vice versa. In a game with more than two players a coin hit by a converter can be swapped out for another coin with a new symbol drawn on it to represent which player currently controls the coin.
Just like the immobilizer the converter only converts pieces when it is attacking. If a coin hits a converter during its own movement it is not converted.
Converters don't convert other converters. All converters are impervious to conversion.
The general is impervious to conversion. Generals are a great tool to use against converters since generals are impervious to conversion.
If a player has just one coin left under their control that coin is impervious to being converted.
The converter is an extremely powerful unit that should be both defended and defended against.
Converters are represented with a dime in Neo-Classic. It's a lightweight coin that doesn't have much pushing power of its own. If you use another coin to represent a converter try to respect the nature of the dime and choose a similarly lightweight coin.
The general is a large heavy coin that is hard to knock around and is impervious to conversion.
The general's main weakness is being immobilized repeatedly and being slowly pushed off the table.
The general is represented using a dollar coin, a fifty cent piece in Neo-Classic. Any other large heavy coin will do fine.
A mercenary is a coin with no loyalty to any player. Any player may use the coin on their turn. Mercenaries appear most often in multi-person games when a coin accidentally flips over in the middle of the game and is no longer showing any player's specific symbol.
Since mercenaries often appear from other coins that have flipped over during a game with more than two players, mercenaries are really any coin. You may also choose to start games with mercenaries already placed on the board using whatever coin you wish.
The mine explodes on contact and eliminates any coin it touches. Mines are not under any player's control. They don't move. They are not flicked around by any player. A mine is removed from play after it explodes.
Mines are usually placed around in the center of the play area before a game begins. You may also choose to give each player some number of mines at the start of the game and each player may choose to place them wherever they want, usually on their own part of the board.
Players can flick their coins into enemy coins so the enemy hits a mine so it explodes and eliminates the enemy coin.
Players can also intentionally flick their own coins at mines to launch mines toward enemy coins. When a coin hits a mine and the mine moves to hit other coins then every coin the mine touches is eliminated in the explosion, including the coin that ran into the mine to launch it.
Mines are often represented using pennies.
The repeater grants coins that hit it an extra turn. If a coin hits the repeater on its turn it can be flicked again.
The repeat is fun because it can itself be launched around. A player can use part of their turn to launch the repeater into enemy territory then take another shot and attack an enemy coin. Then, on their next turn they can launch a coin deep into enemy territory, tap the repeater and get another ultra close-up shot at an enemy coin.
The repeater does not provide its repeating effect to any coin that has been immobilized. Any coin that has been immobilized stays immobilized for the entirety of a players turn, no matter how many repeat shots they make.
Yes, it is possible for a player to get two of their coins to touch the repeater in one of their turns. Both coins would be granted an extra shot. For example a player could shoot one of their coins into the repeater and have the repeater hit another one of their coins. In this case both their first coin and the coin the repeater hit would get another shot.
Here's one great, very annoying way to play. A coin can hit a repeater and hit the repeater again in their extra shot. In their extra shot the coin can hit the repeater again. And again. And again and again. A player can continue doing this forever as long as they keep hitting the repeater during their extra shot. In this way a coin can push a repeater around the board in small increments and really move forever. At least one awesome game was won against all odds with this incredible insight.
Basically the repeater is a hot mess and it is rarely used.
The Arch of Ugilia
The Arch of Ugilia is not a coin. It's a physical thing that's set up for coins to pass under or through. Any coin that passes through the archway gets another shot, just like the repeater.
Similar to the repeater the Arch of Ugilia is not commonly played with. It is written here mainly to chronicle history of the game.
ASCII Coin Wars Video Game
PS, check out ASCII Coin Wars on GitHub!
This features a playable Coin Wars Neo-Classic game complete with soldiers immobilizers, converters, and generals. Play against your friend on the same computer, or try to beat the hard-to-beat AI!
Special thanks to everyone who's helped develop Coin Wars since the beginning. To everyone that's played the game and loved it sincerely. And especially to everyone that's played the game to indulge me.