Everything You Need to Know About Spymaster!
Attention agents! We have a secret mission for you! Well actually, we have several. And you can complete them in Spymaster! This clever strategy game was released in 2019 as part of the latest wave of Titan Series games alongside ShipShape and Everyone Loves a Parade.
SpyMaster utilizes two main gaming mechanics: Worker Placement, and I Split, You Choose. The active player will split the round’s Intelligence cards into different piles, and then all players will take turns choosing their pile of cards to play with (I Split, You Choose). You’ll then use those Intelligence cards to move your agents around the board (Worker Placement) and complete spy missions.
How to Play
Quick Start Guide
Set out the Global Operations game board. On the board there are 6 different Areas of Operation, each with its own 5 locations: A Transport Hub, and 4 cities. This will be important later.
Every player chooses an Agency board and corresponding colored Agent pawns. Players simultaneously place their Agents on the board (more than one Agent can occupy the same place), and then together, randomly place the clear Free Agent pawns across the board.
Shuffle the Mission cards and deal one face down on each mission card space. Then deal one face up on top of the face down card. Shuffle the Intelligence cards and deal out 5 decks (one for each round) based on the player count in the rulebook. Return the unused Intelligence cards to the box.
The player with the most I.Ds on them gets to be round 1’s SpyMaster.
SpyMaster is played in 5 rounds, and each round has 2 phases: Gather Intelligence, and Operations. A round ends when all players have Passed.
Gather Intelligence: In this phase, the round’s SpyMaster picks up one of the stacks of Intelligence cards and lays them face up in a line on the table without changing the order. Next, they’ll split it into as many groups as there are players (these are called Files). The Files don’t need to be even, they just need to have a least one card, and you can’t change the order of the cards. Last, the SpyMaster adds the SpyMaster card to one of the files. Now, each player, starting with the one to the SpyMaster’s left, choose one of the Files to take into their hand. The player who chooses the File with the SpyMaster card will be the SpyMaster for the next round.
Operations: Starting with the current SpyMaster, players will use their Intelligence cards to move around the board and try to complete missions. You have 2 actions you can take, and always in this order: Move Agents, and Complete Missions
Move Agents: You can play exactly one Intelligence card from your hand, and use the number on the card as movement (this is called Burning the card). So if you play a card with a value of 3, you have 3 movement. You can move your Agents, or any free Agents. Moving from city to city in the same area only costs one movement, but to go from one Area to the another you must go from one Transport Hub to another, and it costs 2 movement. You can spread the movement across multiple agents.
Complete Missions: After moving, you can complete any of the Mission cards. Each card shows the number of Agents (black are your Agents, white are Free Agents), that must be in a specific City, and then a value and type of Intelligence cards that must be met. There are 4 types of Intelligence cards: Dossier (red), Surveillance (black), Espionage (yellow), and Blueprints (blue) You can use as many cards as you’d like to fulfill the Mission, so you can use value 1 and 2 cards to fulfill a 3 value, or you can use one value 3 card. Once you complete a mission, place the card face down on your Agency board.
Passing: Play continues clockwise with players moving agents and completing missions. If you can’t, or don’t want to, do either of those actions, you can Pass your turn. The round ends when every player has passed their turn.
*Another way to end the round is if all Mission cards have been achieved.
You’ll play for 5 rounds, until all the Intelligence decks have all been used. Once the game ends, everyone adds up the value of their missions, as shown in the top right corner.
A player can also score 5 bonus points for having the highest value of a certain Intelligence card type. Ties each get the 5 points. The player with the highest number of points is the winner!
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t have enough table space to lay out all the intelligence cards in a row!
No worries! You can make two, or even three rows, just make sure you don’t change the order of the cards.
Do you have to have a minimum number of Intelligence cards left to get the bonus?
Nope! If you’re the only person left with an Espionage Intelligence card, it doesn’t matter if the value is only 1. You still get the bonus points!
If I have extra movement I didn’t use, can I just move Free Agents into positions to disadvantage other players?
Absolutely! That’s a pretty good strategy!