Nothing to do with Deadzone.
Can anyone recommend any good board (or card) games about spies, espionage, counter-intelligence, and similar cloak and dagger skullduggery?
I can’t think of any really good ones off the top of my head. I’m sure there must be something though. Doesn’t have to be in print.
The card game “The Resistance” is worth checking out. Fairly simple bluff and deception mechanic where there are moles in a resistance cell trying to pretend they’re not moles- like in Werewolf or Shadows over Camelot. But when you get a good group and people start to role play the bluffs and accusations it’s a lot of fun.
Can’t find anything on BGG under “The Resistance”. Does it have another name?
I’ve played Werewolf and a couple of similarly constructed games. They can work very well if, as you say, the crowd is right.
Edit – actually, the BGG search isn’t working at all for me right now. I’ll come back to this later.
Check here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Resistance_%28game%29
You can also check out how it plays, Tabletop on Geek and Sundry (Youtube) played it in season 2.
‘Coup’ involves players bluffing about their roles and trying to do each other over. It might be worth looking at the human/cylon hidden stuff in the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ boardgame or the personal missions and traitor missions in ‘Dead of Winter’.
Tough call, rather depends on the type of mechanic you’d be looking for. Quite a few ‘hidden agenda / traitor player’ games out there, but those general stay quite far away from the espionage theme.
There was the deduction game by Stronghold, called Confusion, which is more thematic. Not too sure it will work for most people, there’s a lot of, surprise, surprise, confusion at the start of the game. Inkognito might be another option, even won a Spiel award back in the day, never played it myself though.
There’s also quite a bit of corporate espionage stuff in the ShadowRun universe, though then we’re pretty much crossing over into roleplaying.
“Agents of Smersh” and “Spy or Die Trying” spring to mind.
Spy or die trying would be my recommendation
I would second the battlestar galactica suggestion, it’s fantastic evenings entertainment, I would really suggest the first expansion to go with it, some nice characters and mechanics added. (90-120 min play)
onto card games, FFG (I think) did a card game called citadels (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/478/citadels) years ago. Has a great hidden role selection mechanic, the catch is the thief, assassin etc. targets roles not players. It’s a real I know that you know that I know what you’re up to kind of game. (60 min play)
There is a great little card game by the name of Saboteur, dwarves digging in a mine to find gold, only you’re not all playing on the same side, lots of name calling, finger pointing fun! (15-30 min. play)
Not strictly Spy on Spy suggestions I know but much hidden agenda and obscured traitor mechanic fun.
Keep us updated here on how the search goes.
The reason I asked the question is that I had an idea for a game and was wondering if it had already been done to death and I hadn’t noticed.
Some good suggestions above, and some very interesting looking games. I’ve been checking out reviews of the ones mentioned so far. I might get a couple to play 🙂
As to my original thought, none of these seem very close to what I had in mind. The idea kept me up very late last night as I only thought of it about midnight when I was trying to get to sleep. I ended up going back to the computer to write up what was in my head, and that ran to several pages of notes. Looks like it might be worth working up a mock-up and getting some people together to give it a whirl – another for the endless list 🙂
http://www.museumofplay.org/online-collections/3/48/112.2940 This one was a classic and from a long dusty memory, was funny.
I thought about this game while reading the blog entry. But didn’t know the name anymore. 🙂
There was a Milton Bradley game called “Conspiracy”. My uncle had the game and it collected dust. I never played it. I only read the instructions 20 years ago.
Have you looked at FFG’s Netrunner? http://fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite.asp?eidm=207&enmi=Android:%20Netrunner%20The%20Card%20Game
How about Steve Jackson’s Illuminati
Old school indeed!
Agents of Smersh, you have to check that out.., also this game called the agents.. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/673576049/the-agents-return-the-double-edged-cards-game-is-b Is new to me, I backed the kickstarter but it was a reprint.. There is Twilight struggle of course.. not sure what mechanic you are wondering about kicking around..
“The Agents” is a pretty interesting card game that works with 2 to 5 players (maybe only 4?). You can turn agents from your opponent’s side to yours and the artwork is pretty cool.
The Resistance is an amazing game, one of my favourites. Here’s the link to the Tabletop episode mentioned above. http://youtu.be/g_QRczGzXqw
There’s also an alternative version of it with different advanced rules, called Avalon
There’s also Lords of Water deep, where you play as the spymasters as opposed to the spies. http://youtu.be/D7DvEIfrP84
Maybe this one : http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/156430/agents-secrets
I played one game at Cannes fair this year with 12 people, it was really fun !
Each side must choose where they want to go on mission, but each side contains a double agent which works for the opponents.
Mad’s Spy vs. Spy I was gonna suggest.
Break the Safe
There are two Cloak & Dagger games on BGG
And dozens if you search for “spy”
James Ernest’s Totally Renamed Spy Game (1996)
Alan, that Break the Safe is an excellent family-fun game. In terms of family co-op, its the best game I’ve ever bought. Its amazing how often the game is so close one way or the other when the 30 minutes is up.
Totally Renamed Spy Game (formerly “Before I Kill You Mister Bond”) http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/164/james-ernests-totally-renamed-spy-game
There was a CCG that goes along with the RPG for Spycraft – but it is definitely more cinematic James Bond than down and dirty leCarre.
A bit off target, but there is also an old computer game that is on GOG – Covert Action. Wiretapping, shadowing, cryptography – each has its own mechanic.
The Auld Grump
Shadows over Camelot, where one player is secretly the traitor: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/15062/shadows-over-camelot
Twilight Struggle is simply a board game set in the Cold War: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/12333/twilight-struggle
Coup is another game if intrigue and treachery: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/131357/coup
A lighter quicker game to play is Love Letter: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/129622/love-letter
This one is probably the closest to a true espionage game. Saw it at Essen a few years ago but haven’t played it. http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83068/1955-war-espionage
This one recently got funded on KS – I, Spy;
It’s more of a skirmish game based on spys, but the upcoming “Mercs: Recon” might be worth reviewing.
They are also releasing a “Mercs: Conflict” as a separate game in the same mythos. It looks to be mostly a dice game.
People listed most of the ones already, Confusion: Espionage and deception in the cold war (Stratego on steroids with cool theme… come on you get Dossiers how cool is that?), Agents of Smersh (Tales of the arabian nights re-themed), The Resistance/Coup (More of a social game with cards to enhance than anything basically a spiritual successor to Werewolf/Mafia), Diplomacy could almost fall into a Spy vs Spy theme, The Agency (an indie game that few people probably know about), Android (more of a Clue all grown up but this none IP infringing board game version of Bladerunner comes close). Pushing the theme envelope we have the Mr. Jack series of games which isn’t “Spy vs Spy” but is detectives vs target style of game.
Rogue Agent: Which is probably closest to the style of games you design, a Cyberpunk style futuristic Spy game where you are defusing bombs and arresting bad guys, careful though one of the players might be a double agent/Android.
I can think of a few others that are basically Soy vs Soy with a new skin but I am not sure exactly what you are looking for so I’ll stop here.
“Soy vs Soy”? I love typos!!