Ring Side Report-Review of “Ace of Spies” By Albino Dragon games

I’m catching up on all the games I’ve bought over the summer.  This game comes from meeting the guys at Albino games at Origins.  What drew me in was their custom Cthulhu T-shirts, and they offered me a deal on two of their games: “Ace of Spies” and “Genegrafter.”  Let’s see what I thought of “Ace of Spies!”


TL;DR-This is an excellent game.  Plays very similar to “Ticket to Ride,” but adds in an element of direct competition.  Theme comes out well and the mechanics are tight.  Great game-82.5%


Mechanics-Think “Ticket to Ride” with only cards, BUT fixes some of the major problems in “Ticket to Ride.”  In the game you have mission cards.  These cards show a number of symbols( hand lens, suitcase, spy, or location) that are either all one color or a color and grey.  The symbols are matched by cards from one of three decks representing three cities that you must spy on.  When you have cards with all the symbols on a mission card, you can turn in the mission for points.  On your turn you can either: draw two cards, play an agent, draw new mission cards, or discard cards to perform new actions.  The basics of the first three actions is pretty self-explanatory.  Draw cards to make missions.  Play agents for their special agent powers.  Draw new mission cards to score points.  The last is the key that makes this game stand out.  In “Ticket to Ride” when you draw cards that don’t really have a use…..TOO BAD!  The can just sit in your hand till the games done.  This game enforces a 10 card hand limit.  When you don’t want to draw cards, you can discard cards for effects such as forcing others to discard cards or search the deck or discards to get cards you need for each mission.  As someone who LOVES “Ticket to Ride”, but hates being locked out of cards, this is a phenomenal improvement to a “mission completion” style game.  4.5/5


Theme-In this game you are all spies working against one another.  Since on any turn you can discard cards to mess with any other player, this is done excellently.  The mechanics really serve the theme well.  Also, each card has some flavor text which is awesome.  However, there is no real story that ties everything together besides any story you bring to the game yourself. 4/5


Art-The art is fairly well done.  Its nothing amazing, but its done well and gets the points across.  My only real complaint is that the symbols for points (spyglasses) look like the symbols for the symbols needed to complete the missions.  They are in different places, but still, it might serve to make them different to keep things a bit different. 4/5


Instructions-The instructions are pretty well written.  I still have a few questions, and some points are not explained very well.  But, all in all nothing game breaking is in the rules.  4/5


Final Thought-As someone who plays “Ticket to Ride” almost daily on my Ipad, this is a breath of fresh air.  It occupies enough room that you can play in a bar on a small table.  Nothing is overly complex, and its easy to teach.  Great game.  And for 35 on Amazon it’s worth the money 16.5/20-82.5%

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