Spy Alley

Type of Game: board game

Number of Players: 2 – 6

Length of Play: about 45 minutes

Age Range: 8 to adult

Release Date:  1992 (copyright date, perhaps released in 1993, not sure)

Learning Curve: Easy

Difficulty/Challenge: MediumLevel of Fun: High

This is an award winning game that should be in your closet.  Our granddaughter was playing this at a younger than 8 age, and we have also played it when there were no children around.

The awards it has won include: Parent’s Choice Award, Top 100 Games from Games Magazine, Mensa, Family Life’s “Best Learning Toys” and probably others since I stopped keeping track.

This is a simple, roll the dice and move around the board type of game with a lot of skillful bluffing required.

There are six spy cards, each with a different nationality.  These are mixed and randomly given, one to a player, who looks at it and keeps his identity secret.  Around the board are spaces where a player may buy (either legally or on the black market) all the spy gear he needs to get to his embassy and win the game.

Each player receives a peg board that contains peg holes for all the spy gear for all of the spies.  Each time the player acquires a piece of spy gear he must enter a peg in the correct hole.  So all the players can see what you are collecting.  Here’s where the bluffing comes in.  You must be careful to obtain gear from a variety of spies so as to keep the other players from finding out who you are.  Because if they do identify you – you are out of the game and must surrender all your spy gear and your spy card to the player that uncovered you.  If they guess wrong, however, they are out of the game and you get all their gear.

One time we were playing with the “kids” over the holidays.  Dear hubby had enjoyed a martini or two more than his usual amount and after only the first or second time around the board, when there where hardly any pegs at all on anyone’s board, he says to one daughter, “I think you are the Italian Spy”.  We were floored when it turned out she was!  IF he had quit there we would all have thought he was a genius or endowed with ESP, but the next time his turn came around he said to our son-in-law, “I think you’re the Italian Spy!”  At which instant we all dissolved into gales of laughter – at his expense.

The original version of the game had different art work than the one now available.  Its more spy-noir-ish (if that can be a word) and a lot COOLER.  But the play is identical and at the bottom line – the play’s the thing.

Published in: on February 19, 2011 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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