Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Host a . . . Spy Game!

[Looking for the files to download? Find them here.]

What it is:

The Spy Game is basically a modified version of a"smuggle" party game, with a little bit of tag involved.*


A more detailed scenario is in the files, but here’s the quick and dirty:

There’s a Central American “leader” who’s been running a super-secret project funded by a LOT of money. Most of said money came from sources not as friendly to the West as they’d like. He’s having a big party to celebrate the research - you’re there to get as much info as you can, get in his way, and gain some leverage. Enter the game:

Players are encouraged to design their own backstory (though there are some suggestions in the files), but this game relies heavily on improvisation. The organizer, in particular, will be playing as El Presidente and needs to "play it up" to really get the players in the mood and in the game.

How it works:

The game is based on one team of Spies trying to move various objects from around the house to designated "drop zones" without getting caught by the opposing team of guards. Guards, on the other hand, try to catch the spies and are armed with water guns. In our game, the "objects" ranged from a folder of files, to a full size lamp, and even one of the guards!

In more detail from the downloadable documents:

"Alright, here’s the deal. We have two teams, Spies and Guards. The Spies’ goal is to smuggle several objects to specified “drop zones.” The Guards’ goal is to get in the way. Spies score by getting items out, Guards score based on whatever’s left. There are weapons around, and if you get wet, you’re in timeout (more details below). Sounds easy, right? Well there’s a few more kinks. Nobody knows what team anyone else is on (and the intent is to keep it that way). Further, Guards don’t know what items are being smuggled. Spies know of a few, but here’s the catch, the ones they know about are ones they have to get someone else to steal. Spies have to get other spies to tell them what to do without revealing themselves to the guards."


  1. Ingenuity is key, be clever! The rules are not meant to impede you, just to prevent things from getting out of hand.
  2. If you are “hit” by a weapon, you are confined to the Games room for 5 min. You can still chat, make use of the room in any way, just can’t leave.
  3. If you witness someone shooting someone else (and are not the target), cause a ruckus. The shooter will be confined too.
  4. No explicitly talking about which “team” you’re on. Actions may make it clear which one you are on, but even then no talking about it. This includes guards: if you figure out who is a spy, well done! But don’t tell anyone. If you’re shot, don’t reveal your allegiance!
  5. No physical violence, but if you can snag something from someone else before they notice, it’s fair (should they notice though, you’d best back off!). Otherwise, feel free to use whatever you can find or get at!
  6. Artifacts, once discovered, are placed in the “drop zone.” If you’re unsure about the item, Artifacts have shiny stars on them somewhere. Each item has a specific drop zone, make sure you find out where it goes!
  7. We’re relying on the honor system, so please follow these rules!

  • I've included a list of items I used for the game in the files, feel free to change them or add more.
  • Humor is key! I'm a terrible comedian, but everything's hilarious when delivered in an over-top faux-spanish accent.
  • Keep it moving. When things stall out it's time to open the lab. If Spies are having trouble, an incompetent El Presidente can "unwittingly" help them out . . .

* I wish I could remember where I found the smuggle idea from, but it isn't mine.
** It is important to remember while playing as El Presidente that your job is not to win, but to facilitate for your players - don't make it too hard to have the key stolen

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