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Spyfall Strategy: Tips for Answering Questions

Spyfall. It’s a fantastic game. Every week, thousands of people pick up Cryptozoic’s spy themed Social Deception game in a bid to figure out who the spy is amongst their peers. It is quick, often quite tricky, and great fun to play.

Spyfall has become an incredibly popular game over the past few years and, at time of writing, has both a sequel and DC spin off. It is hugely enjoyable, and rightly deserves a space on the shelves of gamers and non-gamers alike.

That being said, Spyfall, like a lot of games, is difficult to master. This is so much so that it was suggested by a close friend that we should explore another aspect of the game aside from the question articles I have written in the past. Rather than focusing on the questioning itself, it was suggested that we explore the answering side of the Spyfall strategy instead.

So, how should you answer questions in Spyfall? It sounds like an easy question in and of itself, but there is still a lot of potential Spyfall strategy involved in knowing precisely how to answer questions in order to let your fellow location goers know where you are, or making it seem like you aren’t the spy.

Spyfall Strategy: The Art of Being Vague

Over the past three years of being a Spyfall player there is one thing I have learned – Spyfall is a game about being vague. It is a game where being unclear can be a good thing, assuming you can lace that un-clarity with the basic information you need to convey.

Take not being the Spy as an example. You need to convey that you are not the spy to your other non-spies. That being said, you also can’t give the game away about where you are. This means answers need to be focused enough to make a point, but abstract enough to make it difficult to guess.

Take the Police Station as an example.

In the Police Station you may be asked a question like “What’s that smell?”.

If such a question is asked then an answer like “Doughnuts” would be too specific. Police are commonly associated with doughnuts, and there is no where on the list where doughnuts would be an alternative answer (apart from maybe the restaurant at a push).

On the other hand, something like “Coffee” may raise eyebrows in some groups and cause accusations of being the spy. That being said, it is both vague and specific enough it might be okay. “Coffee” could be a good answer, as it works for a few scenarios. Some of the better options might be by going more abstract like with “Disappointment” or “Nerves”. Finally, one my girlfriend just recommended – “Sweaty palms”. These are all things that give away information about the place you are at, however, due to their abstract nature they can become more difficult to guess. Yes, you may be at the Police Station, but you may also be at the Casino, School, Hospital, or several other places on the list.

The idea is that answers like those would tip off to the other players, the ones who aren’t the spy, that you know where you are. That being said, they are vague enough answers that you would require more clarification if you are the Spy. Eventually, given enough vague answers, the Spy will be able to piece together where you are, but it will take a while with answers like the above.

This is, however, an important point to keep in mind. If everyone is giving the specifically vague answers, like the above, eventually the spy will figure it out. Sometimes, as the non-Spy, you will be forced to be more devious in order to help lead the Spy off the scent.

“You Know That I Know” (Answers to Avoid)

The ultimate goal, as a non-Spy, is to let the other players know that you know where you are, whilst trying to sniff out the player who actually doesn’t have a clue. What this means is that, whilst being vague with your answers is a good thing, it is possible to be too vague.

There are a whole host of answers that won’t help, and although you’re not the Spy, these answers may make the other players suspect you.

To show you what I mean, here is a real life example that we encountered when playing the game. The location was the School.

“What did you get up to at the weekend?”

“Oh, you know, this and that.”

It was a wholly unhelpful answer and one that we then struggled with. It was a bit too vague – a bit too Spy-ie. That vagueness made us accuse that person of being the Spy. They weren’t and the non-Spies went on to lose the round.

The same goes for names to answers like “Who’s that person over there?” (a favourite question of mine). To such answers “Dave” just isn’t a satisfactory answer. It is, again, too vague. Instead, an answer like “Oh, that’s Dave and he works here too” gives a better answer. It then allows for a second piece of information which, although not useful in and of itself, does denote a few things. It’s means someone can work at the location you are at, and the fact that you didn’t refer to rank or title means it must be either a casual relationship you have with Dave or it is a casual environment.

A lot can be said without saying much at all.

Being the Spy (Flipping It On Its Head)

Now that we have explored a few examples of what does and does not make good grounds for answering, it is easy to see how it can be adapted for the Spy. Where the Spy can give the game away with simple answers, saying something deliberately vague can make it seem like you know what you are talking about. The key is to answer in ways that people will not necessarily expect.

You don’t know where you are, so you need to pay attention to everyone else. See if you can pick up on slight hints. Are you hearing that you could be in an office environment, or is it more “out and about”? How do you stop yourself falling into the trap of a scenario being on the Space Ship or the Crusades?

Well, the trick is to portray yourself as giving away information without necessarily giving any information away. Take these questions as an example (taken from this blog about Spyfall questions I wrote in 2018).

  1. Who’s your boss?
    • Bad Answer: “Lucas”
    • Better Answer: “Lucas is, but he’s taken some time off to be with his family.”
  2. What’s the biggest thrill you have ever had at work?
    • Bad Answer: “Hanging out with friends around the Water Cooler.”
    • Better Answer: “Receiving a phone call from my wife saying she is going into labour.”
  3. Do you think this place is dangerous?
    • Bad Answer: “It could be.”
    • Better Answer: “To the wrong person, yes, but I am definitely qualified enough to handle it.”
  4. What’s your favourite perk of the job?
    • Bad Answer: “I get to work the hours I want.”
    • Better Answer: “It gives me a strong sense of achievement. Like, you know, this is really what I want to do.”
  5. What would it take for me to do your job?
    • Bad Answer: “Good people skills”
    • Better Answer: *Laughing* “As if you think you could do my job!”

The above answers are all less vague than just giving a straight answer (“bad answer”) as they shift the focus of the sentence. Lucas, your boss, is not just a name but he is a family man. Lucas is also a name that wouldn’t be out of place in the crusades. The biggest thrill you had a work is actually your wife calling you. It wouldn’t work for the crusades, but it would for anywhere else. The answer shifts the focus to be about something other than where you are.

Do you think this place is dangerous? Any place can be dangerous to the wrong people or to the people who are under qualified. Even a broom closet can be dangerous.

You get the idea.

Being Vague But Not Too Vague

So, there we have it – a bit of a breakdown on suggestions on with how to answer questions in Spyfall. There isn’t really a hard and fast rule to follow; however, being vague seems like a good way to go, whilst keeping in mind that you need to convey information within your answers.

So, what do you think? What’s your advice for answering questions in Spyfall? Let me know in the comments below.

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