Critical Play 1: Spyfall


At the CS247G critical play section on Wednesday April 12, I played Spyfall on Spyfall is designed by Alexandr Ushan and published by Hobby World.

Target Audience

The game seems to be open to many demographics of players, but since the game is played on a personal device, it seems to be specific to people who can use a device. This potentially rules out very young children and the elderly.

Notable elements of the game

I played this game with 6-8 players. Each round consisted of 6 minutes of players asking each other yes/no questions about a particular location. One person is a spy and does not know what the location actually is and must covertly show the other players that they are not a spy. After the 6 minutes of questioning ends, players vote for a spy without revealing the secret location and then the spy reveals themselves and guesses the secret location. In terms of social dynamics, the game disallows retaliation questions. The game offers players a list of locations, but they require the player to scroll way down, which I didn’t realize until after playing.

Comparison to other I-Spy/Guessing games

This game added a competitive aspect to a guessing game by adding a spy into the mix of players. I thought that this made the game a lot more fun than traditional guessing games.

Was the game fun? Why or why not?

Once I got over the learning curve, the game was super fun! I played around 3-4 rounds of the game, and once I got to the end of these rounds, I had learned how to be strategic with my questions. This related to the readings about how fun is learning and that we have fun when we learn.

Moments of particular success or epic fails (in your opinion)

I was really proud of myself when I was the spy and was the only player who got zero votes of being the spy. I think that a lot of this was just due to pure luck, but I still felt quite proud at the end.

How to improve the game

It definitely is important to set a number of players limit to this game. Especially when playing with people whose names I just learned, it was difficult to keep track of all the information I had learned about each person. Additionally, it was hard to include everyone in the question asking/answering process when we were playing with >= 8 people. I think that 5-6 was ideal.

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