Spyfall Review

Overview

This is board game review 1

Your mission, if you choose to except it, is to read my review of the light social deduction game, Spyfall. It’s for 3-8 players, ages 12+, with a play time of about 15-30 minutes. Designed by Alexandr Ushan, this game is sure to be a fun, fast, and hilarious edition to any collection.

How To Play

Setup

The player aid from the rule book. 30 locations can be a lot to soak in all at once

Players first randomly pick one of the 30 unique location card decks. Without looking, take a number of location cards equal to the number of players minus one from the deck. These cards should all be the same aside from the suggested role in the lower left corner. Add the spy card to the location cards that were just taken out, shuffle, and deal one card facedown to each player. Select a player a start player. You are now ready to play.

Playing A Round

A round begins with the start player asking any other player a question. It can be about anything. This question must then be answered honestly, but may be done so in any way the player sees fit (all players must see the answer if its not verbal). The goal of any question is to either, trap the spy into giving an obviously incorrect answer, or to confirm the identity of an allied player. On the other hand, the spy is trying to ask questions to gather intel on their location in order to correctly guess it before being found out.

After being asked a question, that player then gets to ask their own question to any other player (excepting the person who just asked them a question). Play continues until one of two things occurs:

  1. A player accuses someone else of being a spy (even the spy can do this). At any time, when this occurs, all players (except the one being accused) vote yes or no. This indicates whether they believe that person to be the spy or not. If all players say yes the accused states if they were the spy or not. If they were, players win. If not, then the spy wins. In the case where not all players agree that the accused is the spy, play resumes as normal. The player who called for the vote can then no longer do so for the remainder of the round.
  2. The spy guesses the location. At any time, except when someone is being accused, the spy may choose to guess the location. Be warned, this will result in the end of the round. If the spy guesses the location correctly, they win. If not, then players win and a new round may be started by following the same setup steps from before.

Other Rules & Variants

Players may choose to used timed rounds. If the game is moving too slowly, then this may be an option you want to consider. The game suggests setting a timer for 8 minute intervals for questions. At the end of the 8 minutes, any accusations may be made before continuing questions. Personally, I have never found the need for this, since the game moves quickly enough any time that I have played it. However, some people may require this to prevent players from taking too long on their turns. 

Example of what the cards look like

Another thing players may want to do, is to use the suggested roles printed on the lower left of the location cards. These roles help players to give answers and ask questions more easily. This is my preferred way of playing the game, after a round of teaching without them need be.

Where To Buy & Extra Bits

Final Thoughts

Spyfall has easily become one of the most requested games within my game group. It’s fast, easy, and a ton of fun. In addition to this, I have been able to introduce this game to people who have never played anything outside of the typical Monopoly with just as much success.

The game has a surprising level of depth for such a short play time. This becomes more apparent after a few plays and people get more clever about their questions and answers. This is really what makes the game so good. I’ve run into a few times where people had a hard time coming up with questions or answers that weren’t too obvious, and that does hurt the game. However, by using the role variant much of this can be mitigated fairly easily.  

For this reason, I feel confident in recommending this game to almost anyone. The game works well for both seasoned veterans of the hobby and newcomers alike. There isn’t anything too complex for players to grasp at the start, which makes it ideal for people looking for a game that can be taught and played quickly.

Still not convinced or looking for a second opinion? Check out Tom Vasel’s review:

Thanks Tom for permission to use your videos on my site!

Purchasing Info

The game may be purchased from the publisher, Cryptozoic Entertainment, or over at Coolstuff for $17.49. Unfortunately, at this time (9/23/15) the product is currently out of stock but more copies should be in soon. Alternatively, you can try the game for free online here. It does require that all players know the rules but everything else needed to play is there. I’ve used this site to play the game online with friends over voice calls, but it also works in person if players use their phones or other devices.


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