Spyfall - How do you put the gameplay into context (if you do)?

by OddMember. Posted on Jun 30, 2020    0    9

I just picked up Spyfall 2 and will likely play it soon with 4-6 people.

I know how the game plays, but I'm having trouble matching the gameplay to the theme in a believable way.

The rules say that "...the players find themselves in a specific location..." and that one player is a spy "...who doesn't know where he is."

So (in game) all the characters are at a wedding for example, but the spy, being in the middle of the wedding, does not know that he is at a wedding. Or at the race track, the cat show etc. etc.

When I explain games to new players I go out of my way to give context to rules and actions, because in my experience it makes it easier to get the rules and "get in the right spirit". For this game I know with 100% certainty that I will face the question "well, why can't the spy just open his eyes and see that he's at a race track?"

I also know that some players will feel awkward when trying to ask questions for the first time (until they realize where the fun of the game lies). And if the first 2-3 plays feel forced I am unsure if people will enjoy it. After all, it is a game that requires the people open up a little and step outside their comfort zone to think of good questions.

So all this to ask the question; when you play, do you make any attempt to adapt the explanation for what's going on in any way?

I've been considering to frame it like a group of people all on their way to OR from somewhere so all the non-spies have a shared knowledge of where they're going OR coming from, and the spy is trying to infiltrate the group, but does not share the knowledge and therefore has to listen in.

Do you see any gameplay problem with this approach? Will it conflict with the way the game is played, do you think?


smilingomen 1

> "well, why can't the spy just open his eyes and see that he's at a race track?"

This is easy, the person that asks this is a spy and you should throw them out of the game (or laugh with them).

  OddMember 1

This would be more of a pre-game question while I was explaining the concept and rules, so no spy yet (hopefully).

smilingomen 3

I'm just saying that a person that is asking this question is not doing it in good faith and usually just wants to troll and stall the game (or is making a joke).

  OddMember 2

It’s even worse than you think I’m afraid...it’s a gaming group made entirely of lawyers! I have to stay one step ahead of the obstruction, so I tend to over prepare :)

Squidmaster616 6

The best way I can think of is that they're not actually AT that place. But the Spy has infiltrated a group of colleagues from that place, and is trying to ingratiate themselves. Like that one friend of a friend at a party who tries to fit in, even if they don't get all the references in conversation.


Yes, good idea, that might work.

JeffSachs 9

I think of the game like this: The agents are all at a location, but are being sneaky so they can't just outright talk to each other. They can only communicate via walkie-talkies or earpieces. But the spy has hacked into their signal and is trying to figure out where they are. The agents have figured out that there is one extra interloper on their radio channel and must route out the spy.

  OddMember 1

Good one!

Tacticus1 13

It’s a game, not a simulation. Don’t use any parts of the theme that get in the way of the game.