Spy games give us a chance to do something we're quite unlikely to do in real life—participate in espionage. These are my picks for the best spy-themed board games and card games.
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For 3 to 4 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Alex Randolph and Leo Colovini, published by Winning Moves Germany.
Every player is a spy, and your first job is to figure out which of the other players is your partner. Wandering the streets of Venice during a carnival, with everyone wearing masks, makes that task quite challenging. After finding your partner, you must complete your mission. This game may be hard to find, but it's worth tracking down. Inkognito takes about 90 minutes per game.
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For 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up. Designed by James Ernest, published by Cheapass Games.
Every player is an evil genius building a lair in which to kill Mister Bond and other secret agents. This spy game, previously known as Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond, ran into some legal issues with a certain movie studio which controls a certain spy franchise. But this latest edition is in full color and just as fun. Before I Kill You, Mister Spy takes about 30 minutes per game.
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For 3 to 6 players, ages 10 and up. Designed by Gilbert Obermair, published by Kosmos.
This deduction game's theme isn't very deep, but it does involve uncovering the identity of spies—and the deduction genre lends itself well to a spy feel. Three spies are removed from the deck, and the others are dealt to the players. Players then question each other in a race to be the first to identify the three missing spies. Black Vienna takes about 60 minutes per game.