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Subject: Spy Alley - A Mini Review rss

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Dr. Dam
Australia
KILLARA
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All of my reviews aim to offer a brief overview that allows people to get a good feel for what the game may offer them. I feel that other reviews can be sought if detailed game mechanics is what you are after.

This title was the first released by the company of the same name. In Spy Alley each player takes on the role of a Spy from a particular country. However your identity is kept a secret from the other players.

The aim of each spy in Spy Alley is very simple. Be the first to collect your own countries four pieces of evidence (password, disguise, codeword and key) and make it to your country’s embassy in Spy Alley. But there is a major catch. As each piece of evidence is collected by a player, it is represented by placing a peg in their evidence board. If a player only collects evidence from their own country then they will give away their identity.

At any time during the game a player can forfeit their move and accuse a player of being a spy from a particular country. If they are correct, that spy will be eliminated from the game. So how do players avoid being identified? Well thankfully the players can and will collect evidence from many countries to help disguise their identity. Some players may even collect all the evidence from another country and pretend to be heading for the embassy. This may result in another player falsely guessing their identity. A false guess will result in a player being eliminated unless they have landed on the Spy Eliminator space in Spy Alley. This gives a player a free guess with no risk of elimination for being incorrect.

This is the game in a nut shell. Each turn allows a player to roll the dice, move and follow the directions of the space they land on (gather evidence, move forward, backward, change places or collect a Move Card). Or they can not move and make an accusation as outlined above. If a player rolls the dice and does not like the number rolled, they can discard a Move Card instead and move the number of spaces on that card. The board also features each of the 6 spies and landing on one of these allows a player to steal a piece of evidence from that spy. This must be paid for and money is earned by passing ‘Go’.

Evidence is represented by black pegs which fit into the holes on each player’s evidence board. When a player lands on an evidence space on the game board, they take a black peg and choose which countries hole they will place it in on their evidence board. In this way Spy Alley plays as a game of bluff and counter-bluff. Are they really the spy that their evidence board suggests? Spy Alley can be won by getting to your embassy first with all of the required evidence from your country or by eliminating all of the other spies!

The Final Word

Spy Alley the company appears to be making a series of games that use the same basic game play (bluffing and hidden identity) with a few different tweaks (see review of Simply Suspects). This will appeal to those people that like different games but don’t want to learn a whole new set of rules and game play mechanics. Spy Alley itself is a fun game for the whole family and the combination of bluffing and luck will appeal too many, but especially the 8-14 year olds and adults looking for a fun, quick and non taxing game.
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Ken Newell
Canada
Prince George
British Columbia
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Re: Spy Alley - A Light Review
A great simplified review Neil! Actually, it's not that simplified, it's just the game isn't that complicated.

We bought this game just before Christmas and have played it a few times already. It's been a source of much amusement already in the few times we have played it. As can be read in one of my session reports, my 5 yr old was even getting into the game, which makes me believe that the 8+ rating may be a bit high. That's not to say my 5 yr old really understands the game, she doesn't (which makes my session report even more embarassing for my wife), but she did play pretty much by herself and had fun doing so, and none of us "adults" felt we were "holding her hand through" the game.

Your review hits the hammer on the head in quite a few spots. And I agree 100% wiht your conclusion. It is a fun light game that can be played in well under an hour.

However, just to be nitpicky there was a couple of things I saw in your review that I couldn't confirm.

1)
Quote:
This is the game in a nut shell. Each turn allows a player to roll the dice, move and follow the directions of the space they land on (gather evidence, move forward, backward, change places or collect a Move Card).

My board (granted we may be looking at different versions, but I can't find the Version # of my board) doesn't have a spot to "change places" and I couldn't find a card that would allow that either.

2)
Quote:
If a player rolls the dice and does not like the number rolled, they can discard a Move Card instead and move the number of spaces on that card.

My version of the game specifically states that you can use the Move Card INSTEAD of rolling the dice. If you roll the dice then you can't use the move card. It's a decision you have to make prior to rolling. But again , we might be using different versions of the game.

3)
Quote:
The board also features each of the 6 spies and landing on one of these allows a player to steal a piece of evidence from that spy.

Again, my version of the board doesn't have this. The pictures of the 6 spies merely allows you to purchase the passwords for each of those countries, no stealing. In order to steal something from another spy you need to land on the CONFISCATE MATERIALS space inside Spy Alley. Then you can chose another player and steal that item from them by paying the stated amount on the space.

Just 3 minor nitpicky differences, and quite possibly they are there merely because we are playing different versions of the same game. Perhaps a printing difference between Canada and Australia?

But otherwise a good review to give a great synopsis of the game!
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Dr. Dam
Australia
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Re: Spy Alley - A Light Review
Hi Ken thanks for the feedback and cheers on the points you pick up.

I do not own the game myself but was given a copy by my FLGS in order to play and review it. I will try to get a look at it again in the coming days to confirm if I am incorrect or our versions are different.

I am usually pretty good on these things (but not perfect) and the laws of probability suggest that I am in error on at least 1 of the 3.

Will get back to you soon.
 
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Rob McFadden
United States
Cherry Hill
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Re: Spy Alley - A Light Review
Hi Ken,

Just played my version today, which seems older than most of the pictures here. My rules and board are the same as what you describe. I wonder if there are differences in the versions?
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