Your first critical play!: Spyfall

Game: Spyfall

Creator: Spyfall is a 2014 card game for 3–8 players designed by Alexandr Ushan and published by Hobby World, originally called SpyCon

Platform: Online 

Target audience: Groups of people who have a chunk of free time and want to play a fun game 

Notable Elements: 

  • Created for 3-8 players
  • Players join a game so that they can play together
  • They get assigned a role (either a role in the location or the spy who doesn’t know the location)
  • Guessing game (guess the location) 
  • 3 minute time limit before the game is over
  • Each round, someone asks a question about the location to someone else in the group. 
    • The answers can be vague or specific, and there’s rationale for any player to answer with either type of answer. A vague answer may make it seem like you don’t know where you are, but it also might prevent the spy from learning where you are as well. A specific answer may work to prove that you aren’t the spy but may give away your location to the spy. 
  • When the game is over, there is a final vote as to who the spy is
  • If there is a suspicion for who the spy is, then there can be early voting
  • The spy gets a final guess at the location if they get voted out
  • If the spy isn’t voted for, then they win. Else, everyone else wins.


This game is like many guessing games but with an element of game design which is that there are multiple locations and there’s a spy among the group. In this way, it’s like mafia where you need to find out who the “spy” is in order to win the game. The added nature of asking questions about the locations is slightly different as well. It’s also similar to One Night Werewolf which is also a game where the goal is to identify who the werewolves are, or just one of them, by the end of the night. However, with One Night Werewolf, the focus is more on the discussion to figure out who the werewolves are and what happened during the night rather than the question format that Spyfall uses. In this way, Spyfall is simpler and easier to play on the go than One Night Werewolf or Mafia. 

Experience: Fun? Interesting Moments?

The game was fun and it was interesting to see how people got better at the game as we played multiple times. Trying to figure out what are good questions to ask and what are non-suspicious ways to answer the questions was really interesting and fun to try. The competitive and exploratory nature of the game was really key in creating the environment that was entertaining and made me want to play multiple times. One really funny moment was when one of the players who wasn’t the spy answered a question incorrectly which led to us thinking that he was the spy. He tried to backtrack but it was already too late, and we got sent down the wrong path. However, we learned how important it was to think about our answers carefully. 


I wasn’t a huge fan of the online format of the game. I know that it makes it more accessible and easier to play, but I would’ve liked to see the card version of the game. Having it be online limits a lot of rules that may have changed or adjusted based on the group that you play with. For example, the time limit was pretty hard set, but if you wanted to have either a longer or shorter time for questioning, you wouldn’t really be able to change it on the online version. It would be good to add a bit more customizability into the game for people who might want to change things around.


About the author

Leave a Reply

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