The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Spy versus Spy

So we played Linq. It’s clever. Everyone gets a card. All cards but two are blank, but the two cards have a ‘password’ (the same one). You now go around the table, each player saying one word. The two spies are trying to link up (via the password). The other players are trying to figure out who the spies are and maybe keep them from linking up. (And bonus points if you can figure out the password). Example Round. I’m player 6, and have a blank.

P1 — “Rat”

P2 — “Mouse” (Is he just semi-copying player one? Or is the password rodent or cheese related?)

P3 — “Six” (No animal … was player one just making something up?)

P4 — “Strike.”

P5 — “Salt”

ME — “Catcher.” (I had instantly wondered if  “Catcher” was the word, as in  “Rat-Catcher.” But it didn’t seem to match. However, with player 4s vaguely baseball term, I went with it, as it plays off of several earlier clues. In other words, I’m confused).

P1 — “Wolf” (prior word “Rat”)

P2 — “Cat” (prior word “Mouse”)

P3 — “Four” (prior word “Six”)

P4 — “Bounce” (prior word “Strike”)

P5 — “Lime” (prior word “Salt”)

P6 — “Diamond” (prior word “Catcher”)

So, do you know who the spies are? And the password? If so, could you please tell me? (I got it wrong, answer below).

I’m terrible at seeing the connections. Rather, I see too many. I was reduced to playing the people. However, my defense is amazing. I didn’t fool the spies that round, but several times one (or both) of the spies thought I was the partner. (I think you should get a bonus point for that, but the scoring isn’t really the point of the game).

I also played another game of Labyrinth, and we had another US victory (Anaconda scenario). I lost 3 card in the second turn (Lebanon War and Quagmire), but managed to finish of the regime change in Afghanistan on the third turn and keep funding at medium. Next turn, the Jihadis missed a major Jihad on their opening play, so I got to slap down Benazir Bhutto (no more Jihads in Pakistan until she’s shot) and a “Declare Victory” card (+2 prestige if no Islamic Republic, and knock funding down some more). On the next turn I got Hambali (+2 cards) and then played a Martydom Op followed up with KSM, which automatically removed the plots and drew +2 cards. The Jihadis got both Oil Price Spikes, which hurt, but I Fatwa (randomly traded) to get Osama bin Laden out of his hand. Coupled with the fact that the two prestige rolls I had to make were +1 and +2, and it’s all good. US Automatic victory early in the 2nd deck. I feel like the US got luckier than average, but the major jihad failing on the first try is the odds on result, and losing 3 cards early is potentially worse than drawing 4 extra cards later. (And if the prestige had fallen a bit, that wouldn’t have been horrible). Still, another data point that the game isn’t as horribly pro-Jihadi as I’d worried. Also, the scenarios really aren’t that different. I was expecting to have to remove more than 2 cards from the deck.

As for the spies….

Player 1 and Player 3. The password was “Pack.” Kudos especially to player #3, for playing off a totally different theme than player #1 (Who was thinking “Pack Rat”, although “Rat Pack” works).  [And no, those weren’t the exact clues, as I can’t remember them all, but the theme of the round comes through].


Written by taogaming

March 12, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Session Reports

Tagged with ,

6 Responses

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  1. Linq sounds fun. Where did you get it?


    March 12, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    • I didn’t. There’s a copy of the (American) version on Amazon for under $10. (Follow the link from the BGG page). (Actually, at $7 and free shipping via Prime, I just bought it).

      We played with a translated french version …


      March 13, 2011 at 10:27 am

  2. In my experience, the players who say something totally out of left field are usually spies. Mostly groupthink I imagine since it is so easy to fake. It also seems *very* hard to persuade a spy to incorrectly pick you (you usually have to guess the word before your 2nd move).

    Fred Bush

    March 13, 2011 at 8:02 am

    • I’ve only played once but it seemed very easy for the spies to identify each other and hard for other players to identify them, at least based on the words alone.

      In your example I couldn’t tell the two spies, but I am sure I could if I had known the word.

      OTOH, playing the people might save the game. In the one I played, “walrus” as a clue started off to mean, “I’m not a spy and I can’t think of anything to say” but later the spies started to use it. When playing I was very conscious of my tells.

      At the end of the day I have to give Linq a thumbs-down but I really like the basic idea and imagine someone could find a variant to save it.


      March 13, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      • This sounds like “our” Dave. 🙂 “Walrus” gave it away.

        Half of the fun there is the metagaming. We have two words, “cheese” and “walrus” that have become our go-to words to mean, “Oh hell, I’m a spy and I don’t have any clue what to say… and it’s painfully obvious anyways because I’m taking too long.” Saying either of those two words in our group usually nets a few laughs in it’s own right.

        At the end of the day, you have to play Linq with about the same mindset you play Telestrations or any other party game. The score is really just a mechanism to end the game before it goes on before everyone gets bored.

        To clarify. We have been using some artscow decks I made witha Mad Magazine Spy vs. Spy theme, using words from the American edition of the game and a translation of the French rules. I’ve had a TON of requests on the geek to provide people with links to my artscow decks… but I feel a little guilty to give it away to strangers being that there’s Spy vs. Spy images and words lifted directly from the game…


        March 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

  3. It really seems to me that the French are where it’s at in gaming right now. Pretty much every game I am really excited to play this year is coming out of IELLO (including a reprint of Cheapass Games The Big Idea).

    There’s also a French-only game called “Petits Meurtres et Faits Divers” that builds on the sort of ideas of Linq a bit more. Basically, every round one player becomes the investigator who’s trying to catch a criminal. The other players take on the role of the suspects who must come up with their alibi. Each scenario has a bit of flavor text, and then each of the suspects is given a card with a few word on it. These words must be included in their alibi. The catch is that (much like Linq) the criminal doesn’t have the same words as the other players. He has to try to guess which words the other players have when creating his alibi to confuse the investigator.

    It sounds like “Linq: The storytelling game.” Which, to me translates to “Linq: Now with more awesome.” I’m not sure how it works in practice, but the idea fascinates me to no end.

    For more info (and a better description) check out Faidutti’s Ideal Game Library:


    March 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

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