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Cryptozoic Entertainment: Spyfall – Review

June 28, 2016

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Publisher Cryptozoic Entertainment
Genre Card / Party
Number of Players 3 – 8
Play Time 15 minutes
Initial Review Date 6/27/16
Last Updated 6/27/16

This is a game of deduction. There is a spy in your midst and you have to ask each other questions to figure out who the spy is. However, be careful what you ask, because if the spy figures out where they are then they win.

Setup

A location packet is chosen at random from among all of the available packets. One player then carefully pulls out the spy card along with one non-spy card for the remaining players all without looking at the cards. These cards are then shuffled up and dealt one to each player.

The spy card simply informs the player that they are the spy and nothing else. The non-spy cards have a colorful graphic of the printed location everyone is at. Additionally, there is text that identifies who you are at that location. For example, if you were at the zoo you might be a child or a photographer or a zookeeper.

Then, whoever dealt the cards goes first.

Gameplay

On your turn you must ask another player a question. You can not however, ask someone a question who just asked you a question. You can ask them any question you like, but there’s some things you want to keep in mind.

The game has a timer and if the timer expires without the spy being revealed then the spy wins. However, the spy only receives half as many points as they would if they had guessed the right location. At any time, though any player may either accuse someone of being the spy or reveal themselves to be the spy. When someone is accused everyone votes if they think that person is the spy. If the vote is a majority then that person is forced to reveal who they are. If they are the spy then everyone but the spy gets points. The initial accuser however, gets a few bonus points. If it turns out that the person wasn’t the spy, then the spy wins as if they had correctly guessed the location. If the spy reveals them-self then they must guess the location they are at. If they do, they get full points, if they don’t then everyone else gets points (though only half as many as they would of had they successfully outed the spy).

If you’re not the spy, you’ll want to ask a question that relates to the location, that the spy might not be able to answer correctly. For example you might ask “do you know where the restroom is?”. If they tell you it’s below decks and you know that you’re in a zoo then you have them, since below decks doesn’t make sense in a zoo. However, you want to be careful that your question is too specific for the location like “Did you see the new monkey?”  Use your identity to not only help guide your questions but your answers as well. Imagine you are that person at that location, how would you answer?

If you are the spy, when you get your card don’t look at it sigh and then immediately put it down. This will let everyone else at the table know that you’re the spy. Next, you’ll want to try and base your questions on answers and questions others have asked. You will also want to try to be non-specific with your answers. If you are confidant enough about the location that you could give a specific answer to a question, then you should go ahead and reveal yourself and announce where you think you are. A non-specific answer isn’t an unreasonable response since it could come across that you’re simply trying to avoid giving any information to the spy.

One other thing to keep in mind. Most of the locations have an individual that will come across as sketchy. For example, there may be a stowaway on the ship, or a pickpocket in the park. So, if someone is being evasive they might not be the spy, they may just not want to be noticed. So, try to figure out if they are being evasive about everything or just things that might reveal their identity.

Conclusion

This is a surprisingly fun game. While it is a party game, the deduction aspect makes it feel much less so. Additionally, people can’t “gang-up” on you or otherwise pick on you if they just happen to be feeling surly that day.

So, if you like party games, this will be a nice addition to your collection of games. If you typically don’t enjoy them, I would suggest giving this one a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.

What’s also nice about this game is that you can set how long you will play for before you even start. Since each round goes for a set amount of time you can agree ahead of time that you’ll play say five rounds and immediately know how long you’ll be playing for. Allowing the game to be as long or short as your group wants it to be.


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