You’re getting ready for another day at work when someone you thought you could trust asks, “Do you want to go outside for a walk later?” He must be nuts. You work on a submarine and the thought of taking a walk 20,000 leagues under the sea isn’t very appealing. Maybe it’s a test to see if you belong. Or, is this stranger actually a spy, attempting to uncover your location based on your answer?
That is the crux of Spyfall, an amazing hidden betrayer party game made available to the lucky few that backed it on Kickstarter or were able to pick up a copy at the international board gaming trade show Spiel in Essen, Germany last year.
Everyone in your group is at a certain location – submarine, casino, bank, etc. – but one of you is a spy. She wants to figure out where you are, while the group is trying to figure out who among them is the covert agent.
Times Played: 30ish
Likelihood of Winning: 30/70 – Spy/Group
Most Often Played With: A group of seven (4 strangers, 3 friends) at BGG.con
Expansions Owned: No expansions yet – you can’t even get the game in the U.S.!
I love a good party game, particularly ones that involve bluffing and deduction.
- A card is dealt to each player
- Players look at the card, which reveals either: The location/their role (ex: Arctic Station/Meteorologist) or that they are the Spy
- Starting with the last player to have been the Spy, each player asks one other player a question, which must be answered
- At any time, players can call a vote to guess the Spy and at any time the Spy can reveal herself and guess the location
IT’S SORT OF LIKE…
I Spy, only you don’t want to admit you’re the spy.
MOST FUN WHEN…
Someone who is not the Spy offers an ambiguous answer that makes his allies think he is the Spy. Then all attention focuses on that person, as each player tries to trap them, while the real Spy sits back and enjoys the chaos.
WANTED TO FLIP THE TABLE WHEN…
As the Spy, you totally know the location but your guess isn’t 100% exactly the name on the card and someone disputes your win. And yes, this will probably happen if you have the wrong group of folks gathered.
The cards have nice art for each of the locations, with a spy cleverly hidden in the background. Spyfall comes with a couple dozen baggies to separate each set of locations, which is an inelegant, but efficient way to do it.
One playthrough – so about three minutes. Longer, though, to remember all the possible locations.
CAN YOU PLAY THIS GAME DRUNK?
The Special Edition should come with a bottle of scotch.
There are no expansions yet, but this baby is destined for numerous add-ons. More locations – even themed locations, would be great.
THREE BEST THINGS
- It’s quick. There’s an eight-minute time limit per round that you will almost never reach.
- It’s highly sociable – a great icebreaker game.
- Did not meet a single person at BGG.con who disliked this game.
THREE WORST THINGS
- Currently unavailable in the U.S. (and they won’t ship it to you from Russia!)
- You can burn through all 26 scenarios in one sitting (though it is very replayable).
- When the Spy gets asked the very first question in a round, it can end quickly.
NUMBER OF BABIES I’D ALLOW TO BE EATEN BY DINGOES BEFORE I’D STOP PLAYING
Eight ugly babies
GET SPYFALL IF
- You like quick filler social games.
- Want to get to know and become comfortable with a new group of gamers.
- You like learning which of your friends are the best liars.
Questions about Spyfall? Ask in the comments. Played Spyfall and have your own opinion? Tell us! Who knows, we may feature you in the Dog and Thimble Podcast.