Before I Kill You, Mister Spy

 Game: Before I Kill You, Mister Spy  Time: 15 minutes
 Publisher:  Cheapass Games  Players: 3- 6
 Age: 12+  Replayability: 6/ 10

before I kill you, mister spy Before I Kill You, Mister Spy

James Bond is a phase I, unfortunately, missed out on as a kid. I never got to see Pierce Brosnan perform in his infamously terrible Die Another Day, and never got to appreciate Daniel Craig in anything more than The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, never fear! I get to taste just a sliver of the spy experience (passed Spyfall, Spy Fox, Theif, and you get the idea) with Before I Kill You, Mister Spy! In this card game by Cheapass Games, you are a super-villain trying to lure in spies in order to collect points and beat your opponents. This is a very simple experience derived by a few deck types such as Lair cards, Taunt cards, and Spy cards. Lair cards have a value between two through four and are used to grow your layer and capture spies. Taunt cards are used in order to double the value of spies (they can also be foiled by your opponent if they can match your taunt). Spy cards are used to play in layers, here you can defeat them in order to collect points.

This is another great original game by Cheapass Games that introduces fun new mechanics with simple gameplay. Its simplicity makes this game replayable in terms of quickness of gameplay and game length. The rules fit nicely on a one piece double sided paper that is clear and concise It covers the basics while elaborating on terms and choices as you progress through the rules. All the components fit nicely in a little box perfect for travel and is designed to illustrate classic spy renditions. It’s functional and enjoyable.

My Experience

I had a nice two player royale between me and my brother (the no experience player). I was quick to build my lair by placing down a level four lair, I wanted to be able to play some high-ranking spies right away. My brother seemed to be calculating, while all the decks are shuffled together, spy cards have a different back than the rest making it easy to steal. My brother played down a level four lair as well. I followed my turn by playing a level two spy and capturing it for points right away (and also because I was lacking taunt cards), I drew a level four spy. My brother stole my level four spy (which was my next move) and played him right away. He threw down a G taunt, doubling his points and scoring it for a nice eight points (If I had a G taunt, I could have played it to ruin his double score and be able to send the spy directly to the discard). I started my turn by throwing down another my two spy just capturing her for some quick points getting me up to four and creeping toward my brothers’ score of eight. My brother played another lair raising his lair level to six. I needed to hinder his lair peformance so I stole his level four lair by playing my level four lair to his lair matching the card I want to steal. He now has to play a level two spy or rebuild his lairs ( >:}  ).

In the end I lost, I was unfortunately running a weak taunt game and my brother was able to score 33 points by doubling a lot of his spies values before scoring them. I was able to drag the game a bit by stealing his lairs, but in the end, he still won.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great directly interactive card game this is the one. Each spy in the hand of your opponent or played in their layer can be stolen or foiled respectively. Your hand is never safe. I enjoy how simple the rules are to follow and how quick the game can be. I do wish there was a bit more to gameplay. Sure, you can steal spies or lairs, taunt spies or even foil opponents taunts–but I still can’t help but wish for more. Something to be drawn out a bit. Playing spies on your lair need to be dealt with right away. I wanted them to be able to sit and acquire points the longer they are ‘vulnerable’ or something. Aside from that, it’s a title that I enjoyed and was able to play with non-gamers who seemed to have loved it.

You will like this game if you are into the spy theme and want a quick experience card game.

You will not like this game if you want a longer game and longer turns. The game is fun but doesn’t hold much depth.

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Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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