The critically acclaimed party deduction game Spyfall has been a much loved filler at our game nights for seasoned gamers and casual players alike. The premise is simple, the gameplay rapid and intense, you are never out of the action, and there are great metagame rewards for multiple playthroughs. It isn’t uncommon for a dozen plays in a given sitting, each one racheting up the pressure and suspicion. The most recent release from the Spyfall franchise and Hobby World promises more of the same, but this time with an ingeniuous twist. Instead of the spy attempting to work out where they are, in Spyfall: Time Travel the spy has to work out when they are.
Spyfall: Time Travel is a stand-alone “threequel” for Spyfall. The game play is the same: at the start of each round, players receive a secret card informing them of the group’s location, except for the one player who receives a generic Spy card instead. The game proceeds like a Q&A round robin, with the Spy trying to piece together questions and answers of the other players to work out where they are. Meanwhile, through probing questions and carefully laid traps, the other players try to identify who amongst them is the Spy. If the Spy can figure out the location before their cover is blown, they win the round!
The twist in this new edition is that instead of being a location, like a casino or military base in the first edition, this time players are in a specific time in history: a neanderthal cave, a lunar base, a WWI Airship or Leonardo da Vinci’s studio.
The original Spyfall packed much of what is engrossing in social deduction games generally into a rapid-fire cats and mouse exchange of bluffing and deduction. A lot of the joy and the replayability of the original Spyfall stems from the open-endness of the questioning. You can literally ask any other player anything – from what are you wearing to what is the current potato situation here. Incidently, and surprisingly, both of these questions frequent games that I’ve played with my regular gaming friends. The nature of the questioning and answering under the tense gaze of the other players invites creativity and spontaneity that is generally wanting in social deduction games, but almost essential to a successful party game.
The original Spyfall was a massive success on release. It received a recommendation in the prestigous 2016 Spiel des Jahres Gaming Awards, as well as previously earning nominations in the 2014 Golden Geek Awards for Most Innovative Game and Best Party Game. It won the Dice Tower and the Gameboy Geek’s awards for Party Game of the Year in 2014 as well.
Promising more of the same, Spyfall: Time Travel will suit both new players and fans of the series. It’s 100% compatible with the earlier editions, and is an filler for game nights and Christmas stockings.