Spy Alley Card Game: Will You Be The Master Spy? | Casual Game Revolution

Spy Alley Card Game: Will You Be The Master Spy?

Spy Alley Card Game

Can you guess your opponents' secret identities? But guess carefully as you only have two free shots and then it could cost you the game.

Published by Minnow Lake Games, Spy Alley Card Game is a 2-6 player adaptation of the board game of the same name. So, how does it play?


Each player is secretly dealt one of six identification cards. This is what nationality of spy you are. Everyone is then given two spy elimination cards that they keep face-up and dealt four cards to form their hands.

On your turn, you draw one card from the draw deck. If you do not have four cards in your alley yet, you must choose one card from your hand and add it to your alley, a face-up display in front of yourself that everyone can see. Once you have four cards in your alley, you may instead discard a card from your hand to the discard pile, or add another card to your alley and discard one that was already there. There are four main types of cards in the deck: passwords, disguises, codebooks, and keys. Each of these cards will belong to one of the six nationalities. The goal of the game is to collect one of each of these, belonging to your nationality. At least two of them must be in your alley, while the others can be in your hand. There are wild cards that can act as any one of these four types of cards for the three nationality cards shown on each wild card, and while you can use these to complete your set, you must have at least one card in the set that is not a wild, in your alley in order to win the game. If you collected the necessary cards, you must wait one turn, and then may declare victory. You may also win if you are the only player left in the game.

Other cards in the deck include confiscate, which allows you to draw one card from an opponent’s hand instead of the draw deck (that player will then fill back up his hand from the draw deck), and black market, which allows you to take a card from an opponent’s alley (the opponent will then draw from the deck to fill back up his alley).

Instead of drawing on your turn, you may use your spy eliminator card. You give this to a player and guess their identity, guessing a country that is represented by at least one card in his alley. If you are wrong, he places the eliminator card face-down in front of himself. If a player has two of these cards face-down in front of himself, no more players can use a spy eliminator card on him for the rest of the game. If you are correct, that player is eliminated from the game, and you take his identity card, and may secretly choose to swap it with your own. You can also guess a player’s identity without a spy eliminator card, but if you are wrong, then you are eliminated from the game, and the player you were trying to guess may choose to secretly swap his identity card with yours.

Spy Alley Card Game Components


Spy Alley Card Game is an enjoyable game of bluffing and trying to read the other players. Which cards you add to your alley, and when, is a fun balance to try to strike, particularly since spy eliminator cards can only be used to guess nationalities that are present in your alley. You also need some of your set present in the alley to win the game, so there’s this great balancing of when do you hold back and when do you add something important.

There’s a lot of fun trying to read your opponent, and great back-and-forth interaction. Someone might load up their alley with cards from the British set, but perhaps that’s your role so you know that’s a bluff and you start looking more closely at what else they’re discarding or what other cards are present in their alley.

There is some luck of the draw, of course, although you can try and steal cards from other players to help balance that or even swap your identity card with theirs if you can deduce who they are, so there is something there to balance it. The player elimination is a problem, however. It’s not a very long game, but if you’re playing with a higher player count, it does run longer and you could be sitting out for a while if someone got lucky with their guess.

Spy Alley Card Game ditches the roll-and-move element of the board game, and has a generally better component quality, distilling the game down to the core elements of bluffing that made its predecessor enjoyable. It’s small, compact, and has some very good player interaction.

Pros: Great player interactions and bluffing mechanics

Cons: Player elimination

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.