Spyfall – Shut Up & Sit Down Review

Spyfall – Shut Up & Sit Down Review


[Que the funky music] [Quinns] Paul, come in. Are you in position? [Paul] and dobibl- indubitably [Quinns] What? [Paul] You’d better belief! [Quinns] What?! Listen. Copies of Spyfall are selling out everywhere. Infiltrate the facility and GET US ONE. [Awkward door slam] [Funky music continues to play as he sneaks around] Excuse me? Uh, who are you, what are you doing here? [Quinns] Oh no. [Paul in background] Nothing. [Quinns] Time for some smooth talking, Paul. [Paul] What are you doing? Uuum… Here, where we work? Uh… It’s crazy weather! Crazy weather that we’re having lately here! [Paul] Indoors? Because weather affects the job.. my job, your job! Our job, uh weather affects it a lot… and I think about that- [Quinns, groaning in agony] Oh no… [Paul, background] …all the time Uh.. and I think about, you know, t- are we making a difference? Job satisfaction, because I don’t feel… I’d go home and I don’t feel like I have anything to show for any of this! Except… Um.. A large… Paycheck. Which is- is huge, you know and that I go home with that and it’s quite… quite large? It’s quite large The amount that I earn… that we earn in our … job. No, I get it. Yeah, [background] me too. Yeah. Mhm. [Quinns, flabbergasted] What? [Background] Yes. Uh look, hey I’m about to go out for some coffee. Uuh… do you want me to pick you up something? [Paul] Yes! Yes, oh I’d love some coffee, please. Uh, how would you like it? Uhh… Shaken, not stirred. Shaken coffee? [Paul] Yes. [Paul] No? [Paul] … I’ll get it, it’s fine. [Quinns singing the beginning of the James Bond theme] Da nunnnnnn!!!!!!!! I was doing the thing at the beginning of James Bond movies where James Bond walks on and then shoots the camera. Spyfall is a Ukrainian design that my friends and I were so excited about back in June, that we- Spring, that we paid for prototypes. An English version, okay? We’re so excited for this game… because in this game, the lot of you might be working in a hotel, or you might be masseuses at a day spa, or you might be knights during the Crusades, or pirates? And you’re going to ask each other questions, quizzing one another about this job, because one of you is secretly… a spy. Having the worst day of their life because they don’t know where you are. If the spy can work that out before everyone else can work out who the spy is, the spy wins. But first of all, I have to say I don’t understand that thing at the beginning of James Bond movies when he shoots. Because the reason there’s curves around the camera Is that that’s the rifling of a barrel, that the camera’s inside, looking through the gun at James… But then why is there so much blood? Why does blood fill the gun… when James shoots? I mean, is it like that he shoots with his elegant little Walther PPK, and there, there’s just SO MUCH blood [chuckle] that it fills the gun? Like James is all pew! And then the- [Quinns makes blood squirting sound effects] It just pours into the- [pbbbft, aah! ppbbbbft] into the gun? [pbbffftt] [BEEP] A round of Spyfall starts wi- [The box rattles, but nothing comes out] I’m not on drugs by the way it’s just the hottest day of the year in England… [Box rattles more intensely!] Fu-! A round of Spyfall starts with somebody picking a location deck, all of which have a spy on the bottom, and you’re gunna reach into this… plastic bag with all the care of a mother… removing her infant from the little infant plastic bag that they come in. You’re going to remove that spy card from the bottom, ‘Kay, gunna shuffle up what’s on top, And deal out a card for each of the rest of the players. You’re then going to deal those four cards out after shuffling it together… everyone’s going to look at their card, and they’re going to spend a lot of time looking at their card, Because they’re going to be admiring the lovely art, and looking at the place, and looking at their role, and memorizing it all… And the spy will also spend a long time looking at their card, for two reasons, One of which is: They don’t want to be rumbled if they look at it and go ‘Oh God,’ quickly, [chuckle] The other reason is that you have time to come to terms with the fact that you’re the spy. You can look at your spy card and go Ooh, my- Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy. Oh god, I’m the spy- Because this is immediately where Spyfall distinguishes itself from other hidden roles games. Ordinarily, being the freak in those games, you know, the… uh, the the spice, in the, in the baby’s sleeping plastic bag… is… you know, it’s exciting! Whereas in Spyfall… [chuckles] You don’t want to be the spy. Play of each round begins with the dealer, which goes clockwise, asking someone a question. And that person can ask someone else, or the same person a question, and so on. Wait, though, because I should explain how scoring works, and how the round ends as well. A round ends when anyone’s card is revealed, and the spy can flip over their card whenever they want, and that gives them one shot at guessing where they are. ‘I think we were in the Army base?’ If they were right, the Spy wins, it’s four points. If they were wrong, Everyone else wins and gets one point. The other way a round comes to a clo- a close if, is if there is a vote, that all E- Everyone around the table agrees that one person’s a spy. You can do this at any point. Someone gives a shitty answer, you stop, you go ‘I think Quintin’s the spy!’ And then, uh, everyone around the table will say yes or no, And you can’t discuss it. And if everyone says yes, that person’s card gets flipped, and if they’re not the spy, [the real] spy gets four points, the spy’s won! So you want to be careful about that. So everyone around the table is trying simultaneously to get all this information without letting anything go, while also still trying to prove who they are. Which Is a ridiculous new challenge, and it’s good for two reasons, the first of which is that [chuckles] The spy is constantly looking for when that opinion about them shifts, at which point they flip their card! And, you’ve got to think about that as if the spy’s just leaping out of a window, wherever you are, even if you’re in the space station the spy’s just [snap] out of the window, that’s.. that’s very important for theming reasons, makes the game funnier. But also because the conversations you’re having with these questions look like the weirdest soap opera ever! So, do you… like these… U-Uniforms? Yeahh. Yeah, that, they’re very um…. comfortable. When you have… the- my job that I have. Giving this Methodone-infused world a dash of color, and also giving the spy some breathing room, is the variety of roles you get printed in the bottom right-hand corner of each card. Because yeah, you might be, you know, the patron at a nightclub, or you might be the DJ but you might also be security, making you seem a bit like a… soldier? [Teacher] You ever think about… getting drunk just to.. make it through the day? [child] Uhhhhhhhhhhhh…. So that’s obviously funny, But it’s also funny because now the kid looks like a spy, because he didn’t answer immediately, like he didn’t know what to say and it’s also funny, because now, if you think about it, we’ve got a situation that’s just… the weirdest Cold-War McCarthyism ever, whereby the teacher.. in the class… thinks the kid is a spy…. Surely then, if confidence is the quickest ticket out of being accused of being a spy, then you just have to… use what you know, like ‘Well, it’s in some kind of Government institution where the work is hard…’ And then just deliver really confident answers! It’s a good- good plan, isn’t it? Nooo! [laughs] [SONAR ping, coupled with the sound of bubbles] Well, it’s pretty dark and cramped in here, but uh… pft That’s not gunna stop me [from] havin’ a good time! Yeaah!! DJ! Can you, can you play some Samantha Mumba? [There is no music, only the occasional ping of a submarine sonar] Space. Space.. for two? Let me just have a… quick look… for two… Yeah, I can do a table for two at nine o’clock… is that any good? Why do I work here? Well… I think- I just wanted to make a difference, you know? I just wanted to do something that would… you know… Just make the world… just make a difference. Welcome! Uh, if you could just sign the paperwork here, then I’ll take you through. Uh, to your bed. Uh, the doctor will be removing your spleen at about six in the morning? I think? All aboard ladies and gentlemen, ’tis the safest vessel in the world. So, Spyfall is obviously funny. And it’s an interesting puzzle, and it’s gonna get you thinking, and the moment you finish your first game of it, I guarantee your friends and you are going to be… discussing how clever it is, and… and how to play it well! But none of those are the reasons that it earns the prestigious… [que dramatic, ambient music] “Shut Up & Sit Down Recommends” award. I mean, some of those are the reasons, In fact, all of them are the reasons. [music glitches] But there’s, there’s another reason! [chuckle] Which is… That… it… it’s like… the- the number one reason to enjoy this game is… it lets you enjoy your friends. Which Is why I started Shut Up & Sit Down with Paul in the first place, you know, that’s the number one reason. You can play The Resistance and you can lie to your friends, and watching them lie is… is entertaining… And then you can… play Pictomania, or Pictionary, and laugh at your friends not being good at drawing, or not being good at guessing! And that’s one thing, but Spyfall sets the bar WAY lower than either of those things. The bar in Spyfall for enjoying your friends… is them looking a bit shifty. That is all that is required for you to get a front-row seat in the best show in town, starring… your friends! You know, You set me down with a perfect stranger, and I’ll ask him a crap question, and he’ll give me a crap answer! And everyone will be in hysterics. That’s… an amazing, amazing bit of alchemy to do with… enjoying people’s company, that this game has achieved. You know what else Spyfall supports? Your friends and family being…. amazing. Just [chuckles] surprising you with that wit and creativity. If you’re a visitor at a hotel, and you work out who around the table is playing the manager, why not give them shit? Ask them why your room wasn’t clean. The game supports non-specific comedy bits if… the timing’s right, if the mood in the room’s right, you know? Two submariners asking… who farted? And then the follow-up question is you know, why do you ask me that? [laughs] Until it’s revealed that one of the two submariners didn’t realize they were in a submarine and then the whole table races [chuckle] to accuse them first. But just as it supports, you know, humor and comedy and moments of just… laissez-faire gaming, which is, again, funny because someone around the table is the spy and is sweating bullets. It also supports moments… of just genius outthinking! I was playing one game, and we were in an army base, and one of my friends thought of throwing around the word… term. ‘I can’t wait until my term is over,’ trying to sniff out the spy, because the spy might think we’re in a school and refer to teachers. In an army base. [chuckles] And then it backfired, because everyone was using the word ‘term’. And suddenly we realized: We didn’t know who our friends were. It’s, it’s just… so.. sharp. And it’s so, so flexible. The one problem is you do have to memorize this not inconsiderable map of locations, or if not memorize it, then learn it.. a little bit? Or have it face-up on the table? And… and then, you know, you can point at the spy when he looks at it… I- it’s really not that big of a deal. Especially not for a game this good. And plus, you know, it doesn’t even have a limit. There’s no ‘play until this happens.’ the manual says…. it’s marvelous, the manual just says ‘Play until you’re bored’. That’s great, I love to do that. It’s one of my favorite things. I mean… Technically you could play it forever. We could though! Oh, let’s do it! Let’s [laughs] Let’s do it, guys! I don’t have anything on for the next thousand years! [laughs] [Everyone laughs] [Everyone laughs…. for way too long] [They’re laughing so hard that they’re crying] [The pitch of the laughter suddenly lowers in a disturbing way]

40 thoughts on “Spyfall – Shut Up & Sit Down Review

  1. You have to delve deep into your friend's mind and unravel the mystery within it. Sounds like a great game to me.

  2. I don't think that is the rifling from a gun in the James Bond intros, I think it is the old aperture of a camera. So the guy spying on James Bond gets shot and his blood spills over the camera lens.

  3. The best part of this game is to watch my non-gamer family members come up with some of the most hilarious questions and answers when they arent even trying to be funny.

  4. I did not know that each location has different roles within the location! Now I'm sold. I'm not a huge fan of party style games and was hesitant about this one – sure I'd play it if everyone wanted to, but wouldn't suggest it. After this, I'm itching to try.

  5. You do realize that you will now have to digitally edit a group of quinn's playing spyfall in the background of every video now right? RIGHT!

  6. I went to Board Game Geek for Spyfall and printed out 8 printouts of all the locations available, and laminated it. This has made it a lot easier for the spy, and the non-spys trying to construct baiting questions

  7. I loved the concept of the game — it seemed like something that I could play with my non-gamer friends. Yet, EVERY single time that I've brought it out, it went over like a lead weight. Some people just couldn't grasp the concept of bluffing, so it would always be obvious when they were the spy. Sometimes they would be so paranoid about giving away too much information that we'd end up with question after question that was completely inane, with answers that were equally inane. I tried to teach by example, but it just didn't work. And after discussing this with others who also have tried to teach the game, it seems that my experience is a fairly common one.

    I admit that some games just aren't for everyone. But it seems to me that Spyfall is not for anyone at all (least not anyone that I know, in my experience so far). It's sad really, because I got the concept right from the start, and I thought it would be great. Shows how different things can be in theory as opposed to in practice.

    I've had similar experiences with other games that I loved, but none caused as much confusion as Spyfall did.

  8. Sounds like the "spy" card needs to have all the locations printed on it, so that the spy can look at it and make up questions.

  9. So this is basically a Who's Line Is It Anyways sketch. Its an improv comedy show. One version aired in Britain, and another in the US. In the US version, and possibly in the British version I haven't seen, they do a sketch where a comedian is "reporting on site" in front of a green screen, and the other comedians are in the studio talking to him. The latter group can see what's being displayed on the green screen, and ask comedically leading questions about the events taking place behind the reporter, trying to get him to comment on a situation he can't actually witness.

  10. It's interesting to get another perspective on games my group and I have played in the past. When we played Spyfall at a board game cafe, we had a miserable time. It was not fun at all, and nearly impossible for the spy to win anything, unless one of your friends makes a huge slip up.

    You glossed over the "memorize all the locations" bit, but that's pretty important, and a much bigger deal than you make it out to be. We had to make so many house rules (for looking at cards and looking at the sheet) for the spy to have any kind of chance.

    If you've ever played Jackbox, you'll probably know which game in there this is similar to (can't remember the name of it off the top of my head). And, honestly, we all enjoyed that so much more than Spyfall.

  11. This reminds me of one of the best board games I ever played, Petits Meurtres et Faits Divers (as far as I'm aware there's no English translation). It's a role playing game where an inspector must find who commited a crime, except everyone else is working against them. Each non-inspector player must say a specific set of words during their turn, but the culprit has different words than everyone else and so everyone is trying to create the most absurd story ever to throw off the inspector. It's quite fun!

  12. We play this game in our group, but we let a gamemaster write down a location, which makes this game 5 times as hard for the spy

  13. My fav time playing this, it was me and 4 friends and the location was the crusades. One friend asked another "How fair you this morrow?" The response was "everyday is a good day with good on your side." Me and the other non-spy look at each other and see no confusion from the question and answer and we immediately accuse the 5th player. The spy wasn't happy that we got him in one question lol

  14. It absolutely does not play well unless all the locations are memorized. And I mean really memorized, because if the spy doesn't know a location, it's insanely unbalanced against them. And maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal, but it kills the game for me.

    This is a group game that you pull out at parties or camping, and it's just not realistic to think people will actually memorize a list of two dozen locations or whatever before starting. Might work for high schoolers or coworkers who play every lunch time, but for most people that's just not the reality of how this will game be played.

    So it ends up being a game that's way too unbalanced every time I play. Not the worst game, but there are so many better alternatives.

  15. Starlit Citadel was the only board game youtube channel I watched. Since it stopped a couple years ago, I never found another that did the level of overview/review or had personalities that I enjoy. Well, this week that changed when I came upon SU&SD's Crokinole review. Your channel has reinvigorated my love of board games, I hadn't purchased a new game in years and only played my board games with friends once or twice a year. Now I am working my way through all your recommends, adding up my list of games that I'm interested in (both for my wife and I to play, and for a new group of friends once I complete a move here shortly.) I just wanted to thank all of you at SU&SD for making extremely videos that got me back into gaming. And seeing the thank you to Starlit Citadel really just brought it all together, I had forgotten the joy seeing games reviewed like this gave me, and you've definitely brought that back.

    Sincerely,
    A happy new subscriber

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