How to be a good spy in Spyfall

Having trouble as a spy in Spyfall? Don’t fret. Here are a couple of “get out of jail free” cards and sly spy tips that will help you lure your opponents into a false sense of security. Learn to transform your threatening words into a reassuring testament of peace and security. Control your suspicious body language and give off a confident and agreeable presence.

If you haven’t heard of Spyfall or haven’t read my review of it, check it out here.

If you want to get your own copy of Spyfall, check out Amazon!

I love social deduction games, bluffing, player interaction, hidden roles, and traitor mechanics. Naturally, it didn’t take long for me to really enjoy Spyfall. I wanted to introduce it and play it with all my family and friends. It’s easy to teach and quick to play. The variety of the locations keep rounds fresh and increase replayability.

In this post, I will be strictly exploring the role of the spy. Whatever game it is, we all love (or at least are intrigued by) playing the spy. It comes with the sense of mischief and power that goes beyond laws and rules that govern regular citizens. We imagine cool weapons and high-tech gadgets. Fortunately, as the spy in Spyfall, we have none of these luxuries. We will have to rely on our own intuition to be a successful spy.

I make this post with the assumption that you have played at least a few rounds, or at least know how to play. If you have played as the spy before and were immediately called out as a spy or guessed the wrong location, I can empathize. It is not an easy role. So if your attempts at questioning have failed miserably, if you just can never guess the correct location, or you always seem clueless of the situation, keep on reading on tips to enhance your spy game.

Spyfall 06

Forget silenced weapons and special digital watches, the following are some skills you can hone in order to hack into people’s minds and convince them that you are not the spy (or learn the location). One disclaimer I will give you is that you should use these with some discretion. I find that these tips and tricks will only work a couple of times with the same people before they catch on to your strategies. But then again, James Bond never used the same tool or gadget twice.

1. Observe others and yourself.

A good spy is one who is aware of his/her surroundings. The first few rounds should be used to gauge the playing field. During this round, observe other people’s mannerisms and “tells”. This should make things easier to accuse people or have them join your side when you are the spy. Is someone more or less talkative when they are the spy? Who likes accusing people? At the same time, pay attention to yourself. Do you have a nervous laugh when you’re lying? Do you look down too much when you’re trying to be deceitful? These are clues that will help you manage your game plan. People’s behaviors change depending on their roles. Understand other people’s and your own baselines.

During this phase, here are some things to watch out for. Players who are staring intently at the locations card. Most of the time, civilians who know the location do not bother looking at the locations card. Spies are more likely to jump on the bandwagon when someone else is getting accused and voted on. Watch out for people who are eager to vote anyone as spy other than him/herself.

As with anything that requires strategic moves, tactics, or outwitting your opponents, it is always good to vary up your baseline. What I mean by this is to not always play the same way. After a few rounds, other players can start detecting your mannerisms. By knowing your own body language and other tendencies, you can be more aware in controlling them.

As part of observation, you should pay attention to the questions. Oftentimes, players will let a couple of crucial clues slip through. Don’t take any interaction, verbal or otherwise, for granted.

Spyfall 09

2. Know the locations

As a spy, one of the most difficult task is identifying the location. During the game, people will be asking and answering questions. Any piece of information you can gather is important, and you should not be taking any time away from that task.

It is a huge giveaway to other players when the spy is too preoccupied trying to look at the locations card trying to piece together broken information to identify the location. Do not be that spy. Instead, learn the locations as you are playing, or if possible, before the game. Even when you are not the spy, take the time to read the locations card. This will help you in familiarizing yourself with the possible location choices. As an added bonus, you have now set a new baseline for your behavior. It’ll become the norm for the other players that you are always checking out the locations card. When you are finally the spy, it won’t be so suspicious when you are maintaining this behavior.

Lastly, it’ll give you a fighting chance. There is a finite number of possible locations. Knowing what the possibilities narrows down your choices. You’ll never play like a friend of mine did and guess that we are at a bowling alley with 100% confidence only to find out it isn’t a possible location.

3. Own the location

As you gain more information, the possibilities will be narrowed down in your mind. Certain questions and answers will make more sense in some locations than others. A lot of times, it’s good to commit to a couple of these locations.

The most important part of this tip is to create an image of certainty and diminish any hesitation on your part. Hesitation brings upon suspicion and as a spy, you never want that directed toward you. Confidence and security with the location will have the other players nodding along with you as you respond with full certainty.

Spyfall 10.JPG

4. Take on a role

This is my number one trump card. When I am stuck, after gathering information and committing to a location (but still not quite sure), I take on a role. Each civilian receives information on the location and their particular role. Why shouldn’t you?

When asked a particular question, you can twist your answer to a convincing statement by prefacing them with “Well, based on my role in this location, ….” and then deliver the rest of it. Other variations of this might be “Others might have the luxury, but my role doesn’t really allow me to know/do/etc…” This strikes a special point in the other players’ minds that reminds them that there are particular roles in this location, and there’s no possible way that the spy would have a specific role. And you’re in the clear for now.

This is the most effective way I have gotten away with being a spy in three different occasions with three different gaming groups. As you deliver this, keep an eye on other players who may have bought your stealth-bomber of a statement. These are the players who are willing to join your side if you continue to play your cards right.

In one game, I used this trick, and had one person nod and say, “That’s a good answer,” as I dropped the smokescreen. At the same time, one other player even said, “I think I know who he is in this location.” I politely thanked that player. Which brings me to the last point of this trick, and the final trick.

Don’t overdo it!

5. Interact, but don’t be too eager

As the spy, we will hone in on any sign of agreement or empathy that comes toward our way. However, this can be the biggest trap for the spy. When someone seems to agree with you, do not always cite that person as someone who would be on your side, because they won’t always be. And this is a quick way to plant suspicion. “Why does he keep on telling me that I know what his role is? I already said that!”

Even in answering questions, don’t be too eager. There are no rules as to how detailed or how long responses should be. Short answers can direct focus from you to someone else. Short answers can be as simple as “I don’t want to reveal too much, but yes” or “Definitely not.” Vary it up, as always. Have confidence in your answers.

Spies are eager to have someone else be voted as the spy. When it comes to accusation and voting time, do not be overenthusiastic about voting someone right away, that’s what a spy would want to do. But a good spy would follow a conduct of “innocent until (kind of) proven guilty (by someone else).”

When an accusation of another civilian player (you’re the spy, remember!) is on the table and it goes to voting, the next step is to hesitate. You should be reluctant on your vote, and somewhat side with the accused. This gives him/her a sense of alliance and support, and he/she would be more likely to side with you later. Next, ask the accuser why he/she made the accusation. Think about it a bit, and then it’s your own choice to actually vote yes or no. I have voted yes and I have voted no to vary up my behavior. Keep in mind, a spy would be eager to vote someone else as the spy.

In one particular game, I was voted as the spy even though I was a civilian! One player had been keeping tabs on everyone’s votes (in his mind) and revealed to everyone that I had been voting YES on anyone who has been accused. It was just too suspicious. Don’t be like me!


So that’s it for now! I hope you have learned some new tips and tricks to enhancing your spy game in Spyfall. Let me know if it worked or not!


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