(AW) Your first critical play!

Name and Creator: I played Spyfall with peers in Game Night! The game is by Alexandr Ushan and I played it on spyfall.app.

Target Audience: From the website, there doesn’t seem to be any target audience aside from people in groups wanting to have some fun.

Notable Elements:

  • The website mentions the game is for 4-12 players and players are able to see their role and location (if they’re innocent).
  • 6-10 minutes depending on if there’s a smaller or larger group.
  • If the player is the spy, they are unable to see the location and have to try to trick everyone else into thinking they know the location. However, if the spy guesses what the location is either before or after they are accused, they win. This is why you gotta be careful with what questions and answers you ask and give!
  • In each deliberation round, players take turns asking each other yes or no questions to figure out who the spy could be. It’s interesting that we take the yes or no question route here vs the free-for-all deliberation (default in most games of Mafia).
  • At any point, a player can declare to vote on someone they think is the spy and the whole group has to vote.

Comparison to Other Games in Genre:

  • This game reminded me a lot of Mafia, just a little flipped. There is a mafia or spy of some kind, but the spy isn’t trying to sabotage anything in Spyfall as compared to Mafia. It’s similar to the game we played in class (A Fake Artist Goes To New York) where everyone else is on the “in” of what to draw, and the fake artist just has to play along. It’s awfully stressful for the fake artist! I personally liked A Fake Artist Goes To New York a little more, perhaps because of the smaller player number and the fact that I was able to play more rounds. I also loved the drawing element and trying to adapt to other people’s visions of what the sketch could be — and even trying to guess what it could be as the fake artist! Spyfall was cute, but I didn’t really get the roles of the game (I was a produce manager in one and a mechanic in the other) and thought that maybe I had some special purpose because of my role when I was really just a civilian.

Was the game fun?

  • Hmmm… perhaps if I had played more rounds? It feels like one of those games you have to keep playing with people so that you learn more about how they act and behave. I was playing with a group of people I didn’t know too well, so asking people questions and trying to guess who the spy was felt slightly awkward. It was also my first time playing so I had a hard time coming up with questions to ask, and once I had heard some other turns I kinda got the hang of it. But again, I don’t play too many party games. I really could not tell who was the spy in my round until the very end when someone else figured it out!

Moments of success or failure:

  • As a web app, it was incredibly convenient to get started. The website was super accessible and easy to remember. There was also a feature that allowed me to hide my location/role which proved to be very useful because we were playing on laptops around a small table.
  • It ended up being quite loud in the room, so I was unable to hear some questions and some answers.
  • I actually liked when some people accused me! I was definitely shit at asking questions but it kinda gave me a playful indignation toward them which gave way to some teasing and laughter. Made me realize I don’t really care about the winning or losing bit— I just really liked talking to new people and games gave me an excuse to do that!

Things I Would Change:

  • Something to spice up the question portion perhaps? I found it a bit boring… what if players had forbidden words given to them at the beginning of the round that they couldn’t use? Or what if they had to incorporate certain words into their question? Or their answer?
  • The characters, again, were slightly confusing. What if we added additional roles, like the double agent, who knows who the spy is but can’t reveal them? I’d love to see more incorporation of roles into people’s characters!

Signing off,


About the author

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.