Eliminate the other spies to become the best in Spy Alley!

Recommended Age:8+
Cost:$29.95
Players:2 to 6
Play Time:45 minutes
Company Site:www.spyalley.com
Our Recommended Age:6 or 7 (With help about strategy)
Contents:Game Board, 6 Scorecards. 6 Spy Identification Cards, Free Gift Cards, Move Cards, Money, 6 Game Markers • Scorecard Pegs, 1 Die
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I love a good spy story so when I first saw Spy Alley I couldn’t wait to play! This is a great game night game for those who like sneaky games. Not the back stabby kind though, more like the don’t-tell-anyone-waht-you-are-doing kind of game.  Personally I love the challenge of trying to collect my spy items while not letting anyone else know who I am…and if I collect all my spy items and make it to my embassy without anyone figuring me out…I win!


The recommended age is 8+ however I feel like a seasoned gamer of 6 could play. The Diva can play but then again we did play Spy Alley Jr a lot when she was about 5ish. Which is another option if you are not sure how your child will do with this version. You can check our review on Spy Alley Jr HERE.

The game comes in a good quality lift top lid box and has a beautiful insert inside. It is really a cardboard insert with two plastic inserts on the sides which hold the cards, money, die, pegs and pawn pieces all in a spot of their own. Seriously, beautiful.

The game board is chipboard and of really good quality too. The score cards are made of what seems like a double thick chipboard which is really good quality. The Spy Identificaton Cards are made out of nice plastic that is thinner than a standard ID card but still pretty good.

The money is just paper money and the cards are just a tad thicker than paper. I feel like they could have been made out of something a little better given the good quality of the rest of the pieces.

The pawns are standard plastic and have the old fashioned look to them. You know, the round bottom with a thin stick like middle and a small ball on top…that kind.

The artwork is fun and very old fashioned spy like which goes with the theme of the game perfectly. In all honesty this is fine but I hope they will upgrade with custom Spy Tokens and use color images for the ID Cards some day. None of this takes anything away from the game though so let’s jump in to learning how to play!

Objective:

Your goal is to collect all of your spy items: a password, disguise, code book, and a key from the country you are from. This is on your ID Card. Then land on your country’s embassy all without any other player learning your identity! Do all of that and you win! That or be the las player standing who hasn’t been found out.

Setup:

First set the game board where everyone can reach it and everyone gets a Score Card and a Game Marker or pawn. You can choose your own color and then put it on the Start space. Shuffle up the Spy ID Cards and give one to each player but no peeking! This is your secret identity, your alter ego, your evil twin, your…well you get the idea. Don’t let anyone see it.

Give $10 times the number of players to each player. If you have 4 players everyone gets $40 and the rest of the money goes in a nice pile next to the board sort of like a bank. The Score Cards need to be visible to everyone so make sure those are placed near the board but otherwise you are ready to go!

We are still working with the Diva to not give “hints” as to what spy she is but the Gentleman has the sneaky thing down…he takes after me…not that I’m sneaky…ahem..moving on to how to play!

Play:

Roll to see who goes first (per instructions) and then begin! On your turn you roll and then move that many spaces on the board. Follow the arrows around the board and basically follow the instructions on the board as you go. If you land on the Keys space you pay the $30 to purchase your key. You can collect money from various spaces as well as $15 when you cross the Start space.

Your goal is to collect your country’s password, disguise code book and key but you also will want to purchase other countries items to throw off other players. I like to purchase as much as I can and sometimes NOT purchase my own country’s item right away to throw them off.

The Diva has a bit of trouble with this though she does understand subterfuge more than I would have though for her age…she has confused us a few times. The part we have to work with her on is when she does this cover her mouth snicker laugh. You know the one where you know someone is being sneaky? Yeah that one.

She tends to do that for a few times with us reminding her only she recently started doing it randomly so we can’t really tell if it is when she IS trying to be sneaky or for real buying what she needs…clever girl.

The Gentleman also needs to work on his subtlety but gets the needing to be sneaky or tricky as he calls it and does this well.

You record each item you purchase on your Score Card. You will have a row for each item and a column for each Spy Country. This is why you need to keep your card visible and also why you want to purchase random items you don’t need.

You can eliminate other players, or be eliminated yourself, by guessing their identity correctly instead of taking your turn. This can be done at any time, however, if you guess wrong you are out of the game. Guess right and that person is out of the game though so there is a risk. Also, you get their ID card if you were right. You do have to discard one but it can be the new one or your original one. It is up to you and keep it secret!

There is one space on the board, the Spy Eliminator space, that you can guess for free the identity of any player in Spy Alley. This section starts with the collect $20 space and ending with the Russian embassy. If you guess correctly those players are out of the game but there is not a penalty for guessing wrong.

I am not going to explain all of the board spaces, however, you should check out the information on them in the instructions. I do want to mention that if you get to draw a Free Gift card you get the item on that card and then put the card back to the bottom of the deck.

If you get a Wild Card then you can use it as any item you want but you don’t have to declare what it is until the end of the game. It stays face up in front of you. There are only 4 in the game. Move cards also stay face up in front of you and can be used instead of rolling the die. Once used it goes to the deck. We adjusted this and have a discard pile since we prefer to shuffle cards to be fair.

Important note: When you are passing Spy Alley on the board you can choose to go into the alley or continue past it. If you land ON the entrance to Spy Alley you HAVE to enter it though.

Winning:

The first person to collect all of their country’s items and get to their embassy (land on it) wins! You can also win if you are the only player left after all other players are eliminated. We have had both happen but it is unclear if there is more of a chance for one or the other yet. However, I think in our case last man standing is going to be the more often deciding factor for a winner.

The rules have a  2 player variation which is awesome. I love when games include other variations for play as it makes the game more interesting. In this case the game is played the same but each person starts with 2 Spy ID Cards!

If one of your identities is guessed you give the other player that ID and they discard one of the three they now have but doesn’t have to say if it is the new one or not.

If you guess incorrectly you can choose which ID to give up which still goes to the other player. Also you only have to make it to ONE of your embassies to win! There is a separate set of instructions that tells you how to be a better spy. I love this! They give you tips on how to throw other players off and sneakier! They do stress to have fun which it is to pretend to be a spy!

They also suggest maybe dressing up and using accents and trying to think like a spy would! We want to try this but would need to invest in some props. We are considering a Spy game night! Costumes, accents and spy games! Theme game nights! Hrmm I see a tradition brewing!

Spy Alley Partners is a great company. They include a sheet that encourages you to check your game and if you are missing any pieces to contact them via phone, fax or email and they will replace the missing pieces. They even have a toll free number! We’ve met them at Gen Con and they really do care about their customers!

Spy Alley is a great game for game nights and family game nights and especially if you ever have a Spy them game night, party or mystery dinner! We plan on hosting one of these soon! In the mean time we will keep adding our amusement and enjoyment of playing for now. Although when playing with accent we have to not always play with the accent of our actual country…that might give it away!

Show us your spy disguise! @MyGeeklings #Spy Alley

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“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
~ Albert Einstein

Author: sandyz

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