Critical Play

Game: Spyfall,

Game Designer: Alexander Ushan

Published by: Hobby World

Target audience:  The target audience is 13+ for the card game version, and probably the same for online play. Given the need for being a bit deceptive and asking targetted questions, this makes sense.

Game Elements:  In this game, all players (except for one spy) are given the same location. Objectives Given a list of potential spots, the spy must figure out what the location is. Meanwhile, the players must figure out who the spy is. Procedure Both parties do this by asking questions about the location that will reveal what the location is and expose who doesn’t know what the location is. This game can have more complexity, with additional roles outside of the spy, but we played it simply. Resources One fun thing to note is that this game uses limited cards/resources so it would be simple to play even if you didn’t have an official deck.

Similar Games: This game was similar to mafia/werewolf in that it required one of the players to lie about their role, while others had to find out who was lying. I think that this game was slightly more engaging than werewolf because when you were trying to vote out the spy, there was clear content to draw on. The questions felt creative but also pointed because they were centered around the location and not just random assertions of who seemed suspicious.

Fun: The game was extremely fun because of the out of the box line of questioning and the dramatic reveal of the spy at the end. The content of the really wild different locations also created a sense of fantasy and fun in the question asking. Finally, when the players would gang up on one another and take sides, those social dynamics also created a lot. of fun conflict.

Moments of success/epic fails: I think the place that this game faltered was in not providing instructions, some players had engaged before so we knew what to do, but onboarding the new players would have been easier with a quick set of rules. I think the game also assigned me as spy 3-4 times in a row (although we had to reset some of those rounds), but that would have been a shortcoming.

Changes: In another iteration of this game, I would make there be multiple spies that work together. Another option would be to have a flipped round where only one person knows the location and everyone else is trying to figure ut who knows too much.

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