Spy Connection Review

14 July 2021
Ticket to Spied

Spy Connection sees players attempt to create networks to fulfil cards which will get them points at the end of the turn. Stop me if you’ve heard of such a mechanic before. Yes, it’s very Ticket to Ride, but what if instead of laying tracks into the ground in a somewhat permanent way, it was some kind of moveable track that you were able to pick up from between Paris and Berlin and use over on the Madrid to Monaco route?

In Spy Connection, you’re doing just that. To fulfil a location on the mission cards you’re collecting, you have to get your spy meeple into the named city. To get the spy into the city, you have to create route with your agents between the current location of the spy, and the place they want to be. And when you do tick off that particular part of the mission by visiting the city, you’re going to have to commit one of your agents to the card until it’s complete.

It’s less of a full on network builder, and more of a network renter. Players can choose whether to build a route between two cities and move their spy, or move their spy anywhere along the already created routes. The third action is to acquire a mission card from the market, something which will also cost you agents if they’re particularly new cards. You’ll also get these back once the card is created.

The closest thing to conflict with other players is in crossed routes. If one player wants to use the route taken by another, they will have to commit twice as many agent tokens to ensure the connection is secure. At higher player counts this becomes a stress point in the game, and a lower, a nuisance you can little afford.

As you can see it’s a game about committed costs, if you’ve only got 15 agents to dish out to create your routes, buy sought after missions, and mark off completed goals. It’s the choice of moving quickly through a network to solve a few missions at a time, or having multiple missions to tick off, but wading through the treacle of expensive routes and limited agents.

The game is also blessed with one of the most confusing rulebooks we’ve encountered in a game as simple and reflexive as this. Once you get past it however, Spy Connection might make it to your family game night pile as a speedy alternative to some of the train-based classics. There’s just enough here to keep us wanting to come back.

Christopher John Eggett


As a network builder, Spy Connection adds an interesting wrinkle into the Ticket To Ride formula.


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Not to over-labour the comparison, but Spy Connection is a much a riff on the classic as its own thing.

Designer: Matthew Dunstan & Brett J. Gilbert

Publisher: Pegasus Spiele

Time: 20-30

Players: 2-4

Ages: 8+

Price: £22

What’s in the box?

  • Double-sided game board
  • 4 Spy meeples
  • 60 Agent discs
  • Disc sticker sheets
  • 47 Mission cards

This feature originally appeared in Issue 57 of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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