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Subject: Oh me, oh my, I'm a Shifty Eyed Spy - A Shifty Eyed Spies review rss

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Mick S
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I played a few games of Shifty Eyed Spies at a board game bar near me recently. I went with three people I know, which I think is important to mention, as playing this game with strangers could make for a different experience (not necessarily worse--just different).

Theme: A bunch of spies are sitting at a table trying to covertly communicate with each other... with nothing but their eyes. It's technically not a board game, as there is no board, and not much of any typical board game actions, but it is entertaining to say the least.

Each spy is assigned an identity--a specifically colored spy tile, that is on display to everyone. You then draw the card of a different colored spy and a location (4 of which are placed at the 4 corners of a table) and the player must wink at the colored spy who's card they drew. And then they must wait for that spy to then signal with their eyes, which location they must go to. If that is acheived, the player get's a point toward winning.

The spy tiles look pretty cool, with a colorful, cartoony style to them. The location pieces are a fountain, a metro station, a newsstand, and a cafe. There isn't much more to the game. It's simple and it feels like a mix of actually doing spy type stuff, while also feeling totally goofy trying to play it cool while winking at your friends.

Quality: The game comes in a nice, appropriately sized box, and even has a lenticular print on it (Google it) that shifts a pair of eyes from side to side as you move the box from side to side. Pretty cool!

The spy tiles are nice and thick, and are five-sided, which is shaped to place your five winning cards parallel to. I liked that the game piece actually had more of a function to it than just an identity card.

The location pieces are two cardboard cutouts that slide into each other and stand freely. Not much would have been needed for these location pieces, since they're just glanced at all game, so they are definitely a nice touch and simple enough in design.

The cards used throughout play are just standard cards you'd find in any other deck and get the job done. Overall, I'd say the quality of the game is right where it needs to be.

Gameplay: This is where things get fun. Sitting at a table, knowing that everyone is trying to be just as sneaky as you are, and having to discreetly wink at just one person, is quite the show. One important part of the gameplay is that anyone at the table can call out another spy if they see a stray wink between other players. This stops the spies from successfully completing the current mission.

In a group of friends, like I played, this can be a hoot of a good time. We would draw our cards and just carry on with regular conversation as usual. It's hilarious watching Billy talk about what beer he's going to get next, while he tries to inconspicuously wink at his spy. Some people are great at being sly, some people are terrible at secretly winking, and some people just sit back and try and call out other people (which is an interesting strategy to use).

Sometimes the game would just fall into silence as we all just darted our eyes to each player, each person waiting for the perfect moment to wink. It got quite nerve-racking at times--sweat dripping down my brow--the suspense building. Don't get caught. Don't get caught!


Conclusion: Shifty Eyed Spies is an interesting game that isn't as easy as it sounds. It's definitely a party game as it isn't full of strategy or important decisions. I think this is a game that could really bring people to work together, and maybe get out of their shell, for all the shy people out there. You have to communicate, but not with words or acting where one could embarrass themselves. I personally had fun and my wife loved it, so that's always a good sign. I can't speak to it's replayability, but I give it a 7 out of 10.
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