8 June 2017 SpyNet

Announcing SpyNet

Z-Man Games is excited to announce the upcoming release of SpyNet, a game of espionage and deception from acclaimed designer Richard Garfield.

You are a spymaster. Your mission: dominate the world of undercover intelligence by deploying agents to complete vital missions. To complete your mission, you must first build an underground network of highly trained agents from different branches of espionage.

In SpyNet, two to four players work alone or with a teammate to gather the information they need to recruit the best agents and disrupt their opponents’ plans. With clever play and careful coordination, you can rise to the top of the intelligence community and become a dominate force in the world of covert espionage.

Knowledge is Power

In the intelligence-gathering community, everything is done in the shadows. To build the best agency in SpyNet, then, you must act stealthily, hiding your true motivations while doing whatever it takes to gain a leg up on your competition. During the game, everyone builds their agency from a shared deck, and often what you know about the cards in your opponents’ hands is just as valuable as what’s in your own.

Before they can complete missions to score points, the spymasters first need to acquire the operatives and assets required to complete these jobs. Within the deck is a wide range of cards that spymasters can recruit. Agents provide the power needed to dominate their respective branches, funding increases the power of those agents, and missions score the points needed to win the game.

But recruiting is fraught with danger and intrigue. When recruiting, spymasters look at piles of facedown cards placed next to the deck, choosing whether to take all the cards or move on to the next pile. Passing over a pile, then, provides information on the contents of a rival spymaster’s hand when that pile is picked up later. Each agent, mission, and funding card you know is in a rival’s hand — or they know is in yours — is valuable for making future moves. A true spymaster chooses their recruits carefully, gaining information on their opponents in addition to new cards.

Cami wants more cards, so she chooses to recruit. She starts by looking at the card in space 1. She doesn't want a Hacker, so she returns the card facedown to its space.

She then looks at the card in space 2. She can use the Hitman, she adds it to her hand.

Finally, starting with space 1, Cami pads each space whose cards she looked at by placing the top card from the deck in those spaces. Her turn ends and play passes to the opponent on her left.

A Dangerous Game

An effective spy agency is about more than just recruiting agents. If they want to score the most points, spymasters must eventually deploy their agents to the field to complete missions. Deploying allows spymasters to play cards from their hand to build their agency’s power in the intelligence community.

To exert the most influence possible, though, intrepid spymasters can’t limit themselves to one area of espionage. If they’re going to succeed, agencies need operatives with a wide range of skills, including tech, infiltration, counterespionage, and enforcement. Over the course of a game of SpyNet, the spymasters must grow their power in these four branches by deploying their cards. Only when an agency has the most power in a branch can it play a mission card from that branch, making each game a covert fight for supremacy. Additionally, playing with four players requires spymasters to carefully coordinate with their teammate to determine what missions they attempt to accomplish. 

     

Both white team members are dominating tech because each of their power is higher than each opponent's

Deploying allows spymasters to play many cards in rapid succession and, if planned correctly, can lead to an influx of points. When a spymaster chooses to deploy, they can play one agent card in any branch to grow their power in that branch, attach any number of funding cards to that agent to grow its power further, and play one mission card in each branch they are dominating. To make the best use of this potent ability, spymasters must demonstrate impeccable timing, waiting for the perfect moment to make their move and seize power.

Spy vs. Spy

Not all secret agents are created equal. Some have a particular sets of skills that distinguish them from their peers and make them doubly useful to the spymasters they work for. In SpyNet, these special agent cards are highly sought after assets that help their agencies in powerful ways.

On top of the power they add to the branch they represent, special agents also have special effects that can be used when they are played. Angel, for example, can greatly shift the balance of power among the players. On top of the two power she adds to the tech branch of the spymaster who deploys her, she also allows this spymaster to bounce an opponent's agent card back to their hand while stealing all that agent's funding cards. These abilities can dramatically alter the game and inject a bit of thematic flair into the clandestine struggles at the heart of SpyNet.

Mission Accomplished

In the world of covert operations, uncertainty is the norm and information is the most valuable currency. Here, loyalties shift and identity itself is uncertain. It is up to you to cut through the deception and complete your mission.  

Build your agency and deploy your agents in SpyNet, coming soon!