For this game, you will only need to check the forum and make a decision once per day. Apart from a forum account, that's all that is required. The game is made to suit both large and small games alike, be it 10 players or 20 or more. One thing that sets Espionage apart from other games is that no private communications between players regarding the game are permitted at all—all dialogue and discourse between players takes place openly, in the designated topic for each game.
NOTE: This topic is meant to serve as the general information source for the game. Actual games will be carried out in dedicated threads also available here in the Forum Games section of the forums.
Please note that the rules found below are only to provide base familiarity with the idea of the game. Actual rounds may feature significantly different rulesets. Please review the rules for each round before play begins.
Espionage revolves around the interplay between two special roles: the Spy and the Detective. The goal of the Spy is to eliminate the Detective by whatever means possible, while the goal of the Detective is to assist the other players in locating and arresting the Spy. Two players will be assigned these roles at random, while the remaining players will be civilians tasked with identifying and eliminating the Spy before they escape. Civilian players are all given a unique list of names of fellow players, with each list containing Detective's name somewhere amongst the list of players. The details of each list are fully shareable in the game topic, but because the Spy is watching, this will result only in an expedited death for the Detective. It is the job of each civilian to work their way through their list and decide who can be trusted and who cannot. But, an addition threat also exists: The Informant. An Informant is a civilian who has been corrupted and is now an asset and assistant to the Spy and knows their identity from the beginning of the game. Their aim in the game is to assist the Spy by whatever means necessary in winning the game. Depending on the size of the game, there may be from one to three Informants per game.
During each phase (typically lasting 24 hours in total), each player is expected to send in their vote via PM to the Game Master (GM) for who should be arrested as the Spy. Whichever player receives the most votes will then be arrested and removed from the game (ties result in no arrests). If the arrested player is the Spy, the civilians and Detective win the game. If the arrested player is the Detective, the Spy then begins their escape—the civilians then have two phases to arrest them or else they lose the game. The results of the vote are revealed by the GM at the end of the phase, announcing any arrests that have resulted from the vote as well as who voted whom.
In addition to voting for the daily arrest, the Spy, Detective, and Informant each have special abilities unique to their roles. Neither receive lists at the beginning of the game and instead are to rely on their abilities to progress in the game. The Spy has the ability Execute in which they are able to kill another player each time the Spy survives a phase. The Detective has the ability Investigate which allows them to send a list of three suspected players to the GM and receive the name of one random player who is definitively NOT the Spy. The Informants in a round also have the one-time-use ability Assassinate. This allows the Informants to perform a special kill on another player that turns up as a suspicious accident. Whether there are one, two, or three Informants, Assassinate can only be used once per round by one Informant. The results make it clear a kill is a result of Assassinate as opposed to the Spy's Execute by mentioning that the deceased party died in an accident. These abilities are used in addition to the daily vote and the results of which will be sent privately by the GM once each phase's results are announced.
For the daily vote, the Spy will be attempting to mislead the public while also aiming to mislead the investigation. The Detective will be attempting to sway public opinion in order to see the Spy arrested.
Do NOT discuss the game in private messages or anywhere that is not the original game topic.
Unlike our other Mafia games, all correspondence and interaction amongst players in Espionage takes place in public in the designated topic. The only person you should contact in private in regards to the game or its operation is a given round's GM. They will assist you with anything you may need help with.
Once you have been killed OR been arrested, you are considered out of the game.
If you are killed in the course of a round or are arrested by the votes from your fellow players, you are no longer allowed to post in the game topic from the moment it is announced that you are out. At this point, you can consider yourself dead for game purposes. You may still PM the GM with any questions you have, but please refrain from any further posts in the topic, including posts wishing good luck, smileys, etc. This is to ensure that everything is fair for all sides. Once you have died, you are also still not allowed to correspond with any other players about the game, in order to ensure everything is even for all sides. If the round in question is a team round, you may no longer advise or contact your teammate in ANY FORM if they are still alive and in the game. However, you may do so if you are both dead or arrested, but please respect the above provisions. Once the game has been completed, you are free to post again.
You are NOT allowed to in any way showcase correspondence from the GM during a round to confirm your role or any information therein.
This means you are not allowed to present screenshots, no copying and pasting of role assignments or results, no hinting at anything other players wouldn't have access to based on information from the GM, and no replicating of anything the GM has said to confirm your role. If it seems unfair and outside of how the game is intended to play out, it probably is, and as such should not be utilized in the course of a round. Additionally, you are not allowed to encrypt any such content and present codes that need to be decrypted to confirm your role or someone else's. Anything outside of the intended scope of the game in regard to presenting any such information is considered out of bounds and illegal. Should you have any questions, please message the GM prior to posting in order to preserve the balance of the game and ensure fairness for all players.
You are required to vote for the daily arrest.
If you do not vote, your vote for a given phase will be a vote for yourself. For example, if a player doesn't send in a vote for a phase, the inactive player will already have a vote against them going into the results of that phase. As such, you are strongly urged to vote or else you'll be out of the game pretty quickly.
The game will end with either a Spy & Informant or a Civilian & Detective victory.
If the Spy is arrested, the game ends immediately and the Detective and civilians win. If the Detective is executed by the Spy or is arrested in the daily vote, the civilians then have only two phases remaining to find the Spy and arrest them before they escape. If only the Spy and Detective remain at the end with no other civilians still in play, the Spy wins automatically.
No wills are allowed.
Last wills and testaments are not permitted for use in the game. If you are killed as a civilian, two names on your list will be revealed upon death.
The GM will not share the identities of special role players while the game is ongoing, even with dead players or non-players.
This is to ensure the integrity of each round and ensure no one is put at a disadvantage inadvertently.
Keep in mind that once you have posted information in the topic, it cannot be taken back, so please ensure no rules are broken.
From the second something is posted, it's possible another player has seen it. Once that player has seen it, it's not only unfair to other players to withhold that information by deleting it, but its sheer removal validates the information that the players saw in the first place. All players are asked to be extremely diligent and careful with information you post in the topic regarding information that is not meant to be posted publicly. If you are in any way hesitant about posting something, confer with the GM. The GM is there to ensure the game is played fairly on all sides.
As a Civilian: Your list is the key to finding and protecting the Detective.
Your list is unique to you and is meant to inform your decisions and help you along. Because every list always will contain the name of the Detective, it is your foremost concern to covertly locate the Detective and ensure they survive as the game progresses. It is legal to post details of your list in the topic, but this is inadvisable given that the Spy will be watching. Each civilian's list will be completely random and will be generated to contain the name of the player holding the Detective role. The size of the list will include seven names in games that include at least ten players. Smaller games will contain lists of a size determined by the GM.
As the Detective: You are advised to be discreet.
Hide yourself the best you can from the Spy while attempting to catch them. Your Investigate ability is key to identifying non-Spy players. Use of your Investigate ability is to be sent prior to the end of a phase, preferably along with your choice for the vote that day. When you Investigate, you are to send in the names of three living players. The GM will then randomly select a non-Spy player from the list and send you a PM stating: "________ is NOT the Spy". Any player identified in this way as a non-Spy is no longer eligible to be included in any future uses of Investigate. Additionally, no player may be included in more than two uses of Investigate in a given game.
As the Spy: You are free to lie.
You are encouraged to mislead other players within the confines of the game topic. Hiding your identity is paramount, thus blending in to the civilian population is ideal. Use of your Execute ability to kill any player you would like is to be sent prior to the end of a phase, preferably along with your choice for the vote that day. It is also at this time that you should use Orders: messages you send via proxy through the GM that will be delivered at the end of a phase to your remaining Informants. Your messages can contain specific commands, such as, "Show me who the three of you each mentioning one of the following: a hug, a high-five, and jumping in excitement." However, even once you have established one another's identities, the Order system is the only means by which you should make contact (with only the Spy able to send messages to the Informants but not vice versa).
As the Informant: You must protect the Spy.
For all intents and purposes, you are a corrupted civilian who is now a partner of the Spy. Unlike a normal civilian, you are NOT given a list at the start of the game and must pretend to have one to blend in with others. You will be told the identity of the Spy at the start of the game but are NOT permitted to in any way contact that player except through creative public posts in the game topic (meaning absolutely NO private messages between you and the Spy or any other Informants). However, the Spy can use a special proxy messaging system through the GM known as an Order. This is a message sent by the Spy that will be forwarded to the Informant. The Spy can use Orders throughout the game beginning with Prep Phase (with the message to be delivered Day One) and can use them to request information from the Informant including their identity (such as saying, "Post in the game topic something including a hug so that I know who you are"). The Informant's only means of contacting the Spy is to speak creatively in public in the game's discussion topic without arousing suspicion toward themselves or the Spy. However, even once the two have established one another's identities, they may not communicate outside of Orders forwarded by the GM at the end of each phase. If the Informant is arrested or killed by the Spy accidentally prior to their identity being known, it is announced by the GM with their arrest or death that they were the Informant. Informants are also not allowed to message each other privately even should they discover one another's identities, though the Spy may use Order to forward their identities to each other for public coordination purposes.
The Informants also have the one-time-use kill ability known as Assassinate. This ability cannot be used more than once per game, no matter how many Informants are present in a game. If multiple Informants are present and both use the ability in a given phase, whichever sent the action last prior to the phase ending will be considered the valid use with the others being canceled. Any kills achieved with Assassinate will be specified as having been the result of an accident in the results for a given phase, thus signaling to the remaining players that the ability has been exhausted. If the Spy uses their own kill ability, Execute, on the same target as Assassinate in a given phase, the Spy's action goes through and the Assassinate action fails and is considered unused. The Informants may then re-use the action again the next phase until it has been exhausted. If the Informant using Assassinate is arrested in the phase they have sent in the kill, the kill is canceled and remains usable for any remaining Informants the next phase. If two Informants send in a kill, only one of them is valid, so should two send in a kill and the one who sent last is arrested, the other's kill action was already canceled and does not happen in its place. In addition, if they for some reason attempt to use the ability on the Spy, the action is automaticallycanceled and does not take place.
NOTE: Depending on the size of a game, additional Informants may be added prior to the start of the game at the GM's discretion. Any such additions will be announced in the topic prior to the game beginning. Should this be the case, the Spy may then send Orders to "Informants #1" and "Informants #2" separately.
Informant responses to Orders from the Spy should take place in the form of posts in the designated game topic.
In other words, your responses to cues from the Spy received through the GM should take place in the game topic and should not involve anything outside of it, including posts in other topics elsewhere on the forum or the changing your signature or altering any other profile information as confirmation of your role. Additionally, such confirmation posts must not be edited later to remove identifying information.
The Spy & Detective are NOT forced to use their abilities.
Special roles do not have to use their abilities on a given phase. For example, the Spy may wish to not use their kill ability to, for whatever reason, create an alibi or cause confusion amongst civilians. This is not especially recommended due to a lack of kills creating less opportunities for the Spy, but it is an option.
Below are any and all variants on the original game that may be used as the basis for future rounds.
Team Espionage Variant
An all-new variant of the game known as Team Espionage operates very much so like the original game but with a twist: players are now randomly assigned a partner at the start of the game. In this variant, there is one team of Detectives, one team of Spies, one team of Informants, and several pairs of civilians. Unlike in the normal game of Espionage, in Team Espionage, you are allowed to communicate in private messages but ONLY WITH YOUR TEAMMATE. All votes and actions (such as Investigate and Execute) target a team, not an individual player. Teammates must work together to decide on actions and votes, with only one member of the team being required to send their actions to the GM. If both players send in actions to the GM, whichever arrived the latest will be taken as their action for a given phase.
Secret Team Espionage Variant
Another concept based on Team Espionage with players again being randomly assigned teammates at the start of the game from the pool of players, but with the added facet of other players not knowing who your teammate is. In this variant, only you are privy to the identity of your partner and you may still communicate privately. However, actions and votes in general are not shared, with players living and dying separately.
Spy vs. Spy Variant
In this variant, there are three sides battling it out for victory, with the primary conflict taking place between two separate Spies that are at odds. Each Spy is attempting to kill the other while being aided by their own separate teams of Informants. Caught up in the chaos are innocent civilians and a Detective attempting to put an end to the conflict by eliminating both Spies. Unlike in normal Espionage, the Detective's demise does not trigger the escape of either Spy party, instead only giving the civilian side less opportunity to catch the Spies. For the civilians and Detective to win, both Spies must be eliminated before either escapes. For one Spy team to win, they must see that their opposing Spy is arrested or killed, and then have a set amount of phases prior to their escape. During this time, they must continue to evade the civilians.
Spy Ring Variant
In this variant, a number of Spies (generally three) operate in tandem and are in full communication with one another, while Civilians are still without private messaging as in the normal game without partners. The Spy Ring still only get one kill per phase and are without Informants, instead acting as their own throughout the game.
Role Assignment Templates
Below are templates for role assignments for the use of future GM's as well as players who wish to familiarize themselves with the inner-workings of each role.
Normal Espionage Templates
(3/5/14): Civilian lists have been overhauled. Every civilian list now includes the Detective, but unlike before, whether or not the Spy is included is entirely random as they are included as if they were a normal civilian. Most importantly, civilian lists may now be discussed in the game topic freely without restriction. However, this is disadvantageous as it will quickly assist the Spy and their Informants in identifying the Detective and winning the game. Additionally, lists are also no longer partially revealed upon death in any form.
(3/5/14): The Detective's ability, Investigate, has been altered. Now, the Detective sends a list of three living players of their choice to the GM. The GM then randomly selects one of the three that is NOT the Spy. This player is then mentioned in the result to the Detective as "_______ is NOT the Spy" and this non-Spy player can not be included in any future Investigate lists. Additionally, no players may be included in more than two Investigate lists on any occasion. The Detective may also share their Investigate results if they somehow wish.
(3/4/14): The Spy now escapes in two phases no matter how many players remain. Originally, the Spy would escape in just one phase if less than half the player population remained. However, due to the introduction of the Informant role and their abilities, this has been permanently set at two phases.
(3/3/14): A new one-time-use ability, Assassinate, has been added for the Informants. This allows the Informants to kill one player per game, but may only be used once (no matter how many Informant players are present in a game, it may be used by one of them and no more).
(3/2/14): Several new ruling clarifications have been added. Please review the rules above to ensure you are up to date as of this posting.
(2/17/14): Those that do not vote will automatically be entered for a vote for themselves as opposed to a random name being drawn from their list.
(2/16/14): All civilian lists will now include seven names in games of at least ten players. Additionally, all civilian deaths will reveal two names from their list instead of two-to-three from previous rules. A rule clarification has been added to confirm roles such as the Spy and Detective are not forced to use their abilities during a given phase.
(2/8/14): New role added: "The Informant". The role is essentially that of a corrupted civilian that is now an asset and assistant to the Spy. They know the Spy's identity from the onset and are tasked with helping them survive throughout the game. While they are NOT permitted to speak privately with the Spy in any way, they are able to receive Orders from the Spy. These Orders are delivered at the end of a phase through the GM. Depending on the size of a game, there may be between 1 and 3 Informants per round.
(2/7/14): Civilian lists are now partially revealed upon death. The first death has three random names revealed, while the second and all subsequent deaths have only two random names revealed. The rest of the names are illegible and not revealed from a victim's list.
(1/15/14): To avoid any possible confusion for players, the Detective's ability "Eliminate" has now been changed to "Investigate". This is to avoid any connotations the word "eliminate" may share with the Spy's ability, "Execute".
Below is a list of past and scheduled future Game Masters for Espionage games. We will only schedule a couple of rounds ahead at most, to avoid any hold-ups or issues.
Round 1: Jecka
Round 2: Stopwatch
Round 3: Yuri Iwamoto
Round 4: dumytru
Round 5: googleearth (now bash7353)
Round 6: Fujiwara
Round 7: Edogawa4869