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Spy Alley
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Store:  Family Games
Theme:  Spy
Genre:  Unknown Teams / Goals / Ownership
Format:  Board Games

Spy Alley

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Product Awards:  
Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1998

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 45 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): William Stephenson

Manufacturer(s): Spy Alley Partners

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Product Awards

Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 1998

Product Information

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4 in 7 reviews

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A great bluffing game, fun for all ages
April 03, 2006

This is a fun game that is easy to learn yet can be very complex in its execution. It is mostly a bluffing game, so I recommend similar ages play it. If adults are playing with young kids it's likely the young kids will not have much of a chance.

Because you have to watch everyone as they play due to the bluffing nature of the game, it's a very active game even when it's not your turn. Just like poker, you try to figure out what the other players are holding by their actions, and this provides the game with a lot of depth.

I don't think that Tom's review (Dec 09, 2000) holds much validity. There is a lot more deductive reasoning involved in Spy Alley then in either Monopoly or Clue. I think Clue is much better targeted to younger kids then this game. Spy Alley will likely frustrate younger kids due to the bluffing nature, unless it's only young kids playing. You have to use deduction in Spy Alley because you only have player's actions to go by. And due to the multitude of ways players can try to throw other's off their track (it can be a lot more complex then 'buy other stuff') the game can have lots of possibilities in the way it unfolds.

Spy Alley is an excellent game and one of the funnest ones I've played recently. People can get into it very easily, are not intimidated by the rules, and noone gets bored. Overall, a great buy and should provide lots of entertainment for a wide audience of players.

Great bluffing game!
May 11, 2001

This game is great. It's quick to learn, takes less than an hour to play, and keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

Basic strategy of trying to guess who everyone else is while keeping your identity hidden is great. I can't believe this game wasn't invented years ago.

I would consider this a must have for anyone's game cabinet.

by Wendy
This is a fun game!
May 31, 1999

We bought Spy Alley about a year ago and my kids just love to play.

Taking a walk through the alley always brings squeals of delight from them as they think rolling the dice really fast will help them get out faster!

Bluffing really comes into it, as everyone watches the face of the person buying goods of their choice.

Be sure to build up lots of special movement cards to avoid going into 'spy alley' when there's a lot of players immediately on your tail, trying to expose you.

You'll enjoy playing this over and over again!

House Rule variations
June 22, 2004

We like to make up 'house rules' to make some games more fun. With Spy Alley we play the 'Bourne Identity' way where you don't know who you are and one other player looks at you ID card. You collect items at random and only get to ask who you are when one country is full. Now you have to identify yourself deductivley before anyone else (besides that one player) figures out who you are. It adds to the mystery of the game!

by BJ
Spy vs. Spies
April 05, 2001

First I want to say something important for me and for all the reviewers... it is not fair to play a game just once and then sit down and a write a review for it. I do agree that the first impression(s) is critical but please give games a chance.

I will not say that Spy Alley is the greatest game of all time, but I will say that it does not have any similarities with Clue (or Monopoly). The concept of the game is very clear with very simple rules and--most important--if you want to win, don't count on luck.

I don't like lucky games, I dont like very complex ones, and I dont like to have games with similar concept or themes... that's why I like Spy Alley.

Fun but not deep game
December 10, 2000

Sorry, but the previous review missed a few tricks. You do not collect things you do not need in the hope that somebody will call your bluff. You collect things you do not need because if you do not, other players will know which country's spy you are, and you will lose. Bluffing is not strategy; it is essentially mandatory. One does have to make some choices about how much money to sink into bluffing.

Spy Alley is not as deductive as Clue, but it is not supposed to be. There are opportunities both for deduction and for estimation. I do not say Spy Alley is a deep game, but it is a good choice for gamers who want a more relaxing game for a change or for non-gamers who want something fun without being too serious.

by Tom
How did this game make the top 100 list?
December 08, 2000

I bought this game about a month ago because it looked like a good spin-off of Clue. I enjoy games in which clever strategy and sharp deductive reasoning (and a little luck) can win for you. The back of the box described this game as exactly that. This was not the case at all. It was a mindless game in which you roll the dice and go around the board like Monopoly getting money every time you pass the start square. As you go along you collect items that your spy needs. When you get every thing you need, you go into spy alley and win. Deductive reasoning and stategy hardly come into play at all. The only stategy is by collecting things you don't need and hoping that somebody calls your bluff. If they do, though, and they are wrong their penalty is losing the game. I played this once with a group of friends and we all disliked it. It may be funner for kids which is why I was shocked to see that the age limit was 8+.

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