Critical Play: your first critical play!

Name of game, creator, platform: The game we played was called Spyfall, and the creator is Alexander Ushan. We played the game online using

Target audience: The target audience of Spyfall seems to be for those aged 13+, according to the card version.

Notable elements of the game: The game seems to be intended for 4-12 people. We played with 4 people. Players can take many actions. Players are able to ask one another questions, and then the person who is asked the question has to answer. Players can then vote who they think is the person who doesn’t know who the location is (the spy) at the end of the time limit. If they vote correctly, the spy can try to guess the location correctly, and if they do, they win. Otherwise, they lose and everyone else wins. Each “round” of the game is over when either the spy is found out and either guesses correctly or not, or when the spy is not found out. The objective of the game changes depending on what type of player one is. If a player is the spy, then the objective is either to not get found out, or if they are found out, then the objective is to try to guess the location. For all other players (not the spy), the objective is to try to find out who the spy is and vote them out to win. The game does something interesting with resources in the sense that the objects of value / assets are the information that can be gleaned from the questions and answers.

Compare the game you chose to other games in its genre. What differentiates it from the other games? Is it better/worse? How so?: This game is differentiated from other games similar to it, like werewolf, because there are locations involved and there is more objective information that players can go off of to win. For example, players in Spyfall can glean information from questions and answers. In my opinion, this game is better than werewolf, because it exercises the brain more, since players can try to deduce who the spy is if they are not the spy, and the spy can try to deduce the location from the questions and answers.

Was the game fun? Why or why not?: I think the game was relatively fun to play as long as one did not receive the spy role, because as the spy, it is difficult in the beginning to not have one’s cover blown. Additionally, some elements of the game that made it less fun were the fact that the time to ask questions was too short, and that if the group cannot all agree on someone to vote as the spy, then it seems like there would be a deadlock and the game would take forever to finish.

Moments of particular success or epic fails (in your opinion): Some moments of success were when I was able to answer questions in a way that was specific enough to convince others that I wasn’t the spy while also not giving away what the location was to the spy. This happened for example when the location was “hotel.” An epic fail on another player’s part when we were playing was when the location was “Crusader Army” and someone (who ended up being the spy) was too confident and answered a question that was asked to them in a way that was too specific, which gave away his role.

Things you would change to make the game better: To make the game better, I would increase the time limit to ask questions, and I would also change the voting rule so that there would be no requirement to reach a consensus in order to vote for who the spy is; there would instead be a requirement for a simple majority.

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