Chairman of the Board: Hey, secret agent man!

Illustration by Ed Appleby
Illustration by Ed Appleby

‘Spyfall’ board game review

By Ed Appleby, Illustrator


Knowledge is power. And you never know who might be a spy looking to take that information. It could be your co-worker, your masseuse, or even the person sitting across the table from you.

Spyfall (2014) is a bluffing party game for three to eight players designed by Alexandr Ushan and published by Cryptozoic. In the game, players are dealt cards that all have the same location on them, except for the one that is the spy. The play continues for a set amount of time with players asking veiled and probing questions about the location. The other players try to identify who the spy is, while the spy attempts to identify the location. Points are scored based on whether or not the spy is caught. At the end of several rounds, the winner is the one with the most points.

I found the game to be an interesting exercise. The thought process you go through between being a spy and trying to find the spy are very different, and it can be a lot of fun shaping the questions and answers in order to glean the most information from the other players. The rounds are very short and players are engaged in the entire process; there are no real turns and players remain involved the whole time.

I have always found the hallmark of a good game to be that no one is stressed too much about the score. Many Euro-style games incorporate the “point salad” style that forces players to worry about gameplay without tracking points. In the case of Spyfall, you can play as many rounds as you want and not even keep score, yet not have the crux of the game diminished at all.

I would highly recommend Spyfall to any group of any age or skill level. It definitely falls into the more casual side of gaming, and it’s a great one to pull out during your next party.