Critical Play: Spyfall by Meerim Nurlanbekova

Game: Spyfall

I played it for the first time today at the game night and enjoyed it!

Creator: Alexandr Ushan

Platform: We played it both on the phone and a laptop so it is easily accessible on any web browser.

Home page

Target audience: I believe Spyfall is designed for people aged 13 and above (teenagers and adults), and can be enjoyed by a wide range of audiences. It is best suited for groups of friends or family members who enjoy deduction and social interaction games.

Notable elements of the game:

  • Spyfall can be played by 3 to more players (max 10-12).

The players’ page (from the game night)

  • A leader presses on “Host a new game” as shown on the home page above and is able to set the timer from 10 mins max to 6 mins max and choose one or two spyfalls as shown below.

  • Each round, one or two players are designated as the spy, and the other players are given a location (such as a casino, submarine or like in our cases school, train, or war).

Location and the actual game

  • Players take turns asking each other questions to try to identify who the spy is, while the spy tries to figure out the location without revealing their identity.
  • You can also press on “tap to hide” button as shown on the screenshot above and your pic with your title will disappear as shown below

Hidden pic and the assigned title 

  • Rounds last a few minutes each, and the game ends after a certain number of rounds or if the spy correctly guesses the location.
  • Spyfall also has a timer and a scoring system to keep track of the game’s progress.

What I liked:

Spyfall is a beginner-friendly game. As a person who played it for the first time today, I found the feature “How to play” super helpful! It is super simple and has just a few mechanics!

“How to play” feature on the right corner 

During my playthrough, I found Spyfall to be a really fun and intriguing game. The tense moments of trying to guess who the spy is and the thrill of trying to blend in with the other players were both enjoyable experiences. The game also allowed for moments of hilarity when players tried to come up with convincing but absurd answers to each other’s questions. I was a spy so I messed up a little bit my questions by making them too specific!

Spyfall stands out for its simplicity, accessibility, and replayability. It is easier to learn than some other social deduction games, such as Werewolf or Mafia, while still providing a similar level of challenge and intrigue. Spyfall’s focus on asking and answering questions allows for creative gameplay and diverse outcomes, making each round a unique and engaging experience. It can also be played as a “submission” type of game, as a mindless pastime because it does not require to much of a thinking and imaginative process. The pictures and the assigned roles are pretty simple!

What could be improved:

To improve the game, I would make the timing a little bit less 10 mins is a lot and we got bored at some point by asking questions. 6 mins was the minimum we could select, that is a way of shortening it up to 3 mins would enhance the playing process by making it more challenging to quickly come up with questions if there are fewer players of course.

I would also suggest adding more locations and varying the difficulty levels of each location to keep the game fresh and challenging for experienced players. Otherwise, it is a great game! ­čÖé

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