There’s been a large slew of party games from the hobby market within the last 5 years and each one of them is quite clever and quirky in their own right but none of them feel quite so “I want to be good at this game” as Spyfall.
From the open-ended nature of the questions and answers to the suggested addition of role-playing, Spyfall is a game that would fit perfectly next to Clue and Codenames in Sherlock Holmes personal collection.
The premise of the game is simple as all players are at the same location (locations are depicted on cards that get distributed); well all except one player. That player is a spy and must try to figure out where all the other players are at. Game-play takes the form of asking a question to any other player, they answer and then they get to ask a question with the caveat that they may not ask a question to the person whom just asked them. If any non-spy player believes they know who the spy is they can call an early vote. If a majority of players agree to the vote then they see if the player nominated is the spy or not. The spy player may also choose to reveal and take a guess at the location at any time as well. There’s a bit of score keeping when playing multiple rounds but in the spirit of charades and other party games, nobody f’n cares. Each round is timed and players vote at the end of the round, either the spy will win or the non-spies win.
Spyfall is more of an activity than a game but is just as puzzely. The real fun is seeing timid players start putting the pieces together as they make accusations. Keep in mind that this is not an “ice breaker” game as there is a bit of intimidation when trying to come up with questions. Being the spy can be very challenging especially for more introverted players. A game can also fall apart if players fall prey to very simple questions with monosyllabic answers that are tirelessly obtuse. The best way I can describe it is that the player must WANT to play into the game’s spirit. Play with a good group of friends or family and it’s a fabulous time.
As a note, the production value to the components falls a little weak, with no insert and thinner cardstock, a price tag of $25 feels a tad overpriced. The art however, is great and fun with lots of details in each location to help generate good questions and answers. There are a lot of locations that all have commonalities between one another setting up for crafty, clever wordplay.
If you want more locations there is Spyfall 2 which adds more and can be mixed with the original Spyfall cards. (The cards are not pre-sorted so keep that in mind after purchasing you will have to organize all the cards before playing which will be a bit time-consuming.)
Spyfall is a perfect addition to any party game pile up and can be taught and played within minutes. It may have a similar feel to other party games but it is indeed very unique and awesome. Once players are familiar with the game have a bit of fun and give everyone a spy card just to see the shenanigans.
Verdict: 9 out of 10