Welcome to the misty, murky world of Spies, espionage and general backstabbing and betrayal. The playing area is a map of the world and every continent has a secret. The players are all members of a Spy Network, working for the Home Continent, whose mission is to collect all the secrets and bring them Home. In theory you are all on the same side, but there is rivalry in the ranks. The winner is the Spy who collects all the secrets and brings them Home first. Easy eh?
Not so fast, my friend. Nothing is quite so clear cut in the muddy world of espionage. One of the Spies is a Mole. They are silently taking copies of the secrets and passing them on to an Unfriendly Continent. Nobody knows who the Mole is, except the Mole of course, and if they get all the secrets to the Unfriendly Continent first they win.
The other Spies can expose the Mole by feeding them false information and checking to see if their lies reach the enemy. In order for a normal Spy (if there is such a thing) to become 'Top Spy' and become the holder of the much sought after Golden Fedora Spy Hat they must not only collect all the secrets, but must also correctly identify the Mole.
Playing against all others might mean that the Mole is at a disadvantage, but he or she can recruit any of the other Spies as Double Agents to help. So who can you trust? Is your Mum the Mole? Is your best friend or your little sister a Double Agent? Is the secret you are carrying genuine anyway? Or has somebody palmed you off with lies? This game is so full of mystery and intrigue you'll want to play it again and again!
PLAYING 'THE MOLE'
Spies move around the World by Air, Road or Sea. When you arrive in a continent you may pick up that continent's secret, if it is available. If you choose to pick it up you have the options of keeping it genuine or secretly exchanging it for false information. The other Spies will know that you are carrying a secret, but only you will know if it's true or not.
If there is another Spy already in a continent when you arrive, or another Spy lands in a continent you are in, you must exchange secrets. This is how you pass false information to a Spy you suspect of being the Mole, but there is another tactical layer to the game as well. You can also intercept rival Spies to deprive them of the secrets they might need to complete their collection and hopefully prevent them from winning. Although they'll probably be trying to do the same to you.
There is only one secret for each continent, and Spies can only carry one secret at a time. So secrets will either be visible in their respective continents or are being carried by one of the Spies. When a Spy delivers a secret to the Home Continent it is returned to its own continent and is once again available to be picked up. If the secret is genuine it added to the collection of the Spy that delivered it, or if it is false it is ignored.
IF YOU ARE THE MOLE
The Mole is randomly selected before each game begins, so sometimes it will be you. You will be told if you are The Mole when you log in to the game for the first time. Obviously nobody else knows that you are The Mole.
As The Mole your objective is to quietly pass on all the secrets to the enemy before any of the other Spies brings them Home. You will have to behave like a 'normal Spy' (if there is such a thing) to avoid arousing suspicion by delivering secrets to the Home Continent just like the other Spies, but whenever you pass through the Unfriendly Continent you silently pass the secret you are carrying on to them, unseen by the others.
If the secret is genuine it is added to your Mole Collection and gets you closer to winning. If it is a pack of porkies then you have passed on false information. A Spy that suspects you might be the Mole may have palmed you off with false information when exchanging secrets. Whenever they are in the Unfriendly Continent they can check via the Diplomatic Services there to see if their particular brand of lies is believed. If it is then you have been exposed!
You have the option of recruiting Double Agents. When you arrive in a continent in which there is already another Spy you can ask if they'd like to be a Double Agent, but this is a risky business. You have exposed yourself as The Mole to that Spy simply by asking, and they may turn you down. However if they accept, a Double Agent can risk hacking into the Home Continent's computer systems in the dead of night to find out if a secret in circulation is genuine or not. If they pass this information back to you it could help you build up your Mole Collection quicker and also help prevent you from being exposed.
However a Double Agent can win both ways. Either by passing on all the secrets to the Unfriendly Continent or by bringing them Home. By giving them the ability to find out of a secret is genuine or not you may be giving them a trump card. A Double Agent could stab you in the back by using the hacked information for their own purposes and not pass it on to you. So who can you trust?
IF YOU ARE NOT THE MOLE
Your objective is to collect all the secrets and deliver them to the Home Continent, but to win you must also correctly identify The Mole.
Whenever you pick up a secret you have the option of keeping it genuine or exchanging it for false information. You will want to do both. Keep it genuine to deliver to the Home Continent or make it false to expose The Mole. The choice is yours each time.
To identify The Mole you will want to swap a secret with false information that is known to you and intercept a Spy you suspect of being The Mole in one of the continents to exchange secrets with them. If they are The Mole they will pass on your lie to the enemy when they pass through the Unfriendly Continent. You can then visit the Unfriendly Continent yourself and use the Diplomatic Channels to check if your lie is believed. If it is then you have unearthed your Mole!
Of course it's not as simple as that, as all players will be intercepting each other all the time and everyone will be swapping secrets which may or may not be true - so keep on your toes!
IF YOU ARE A DOUBLE AGENT
As a Double Agent you can secretly hack into the Security Service's computer systems to discover whether a secret in circulation is true or false. The Mole recruited you because they trust that you will pass this information back to them, but you don't have to. You could betray them by keeping it to yourself and use it for your own purposes.
A Double Agent can win either by collecting all secrets in the Home Continent or in the Unfriendly one. However unless you decide where your allegiances lie and concentrate on one or the other it's unlikely that you will do either quickly enough to win.
- The Home Continent is highlighted in green and the Unfriendly Continent in red.
- The Unfriendly Continent is always Africa (Sorry Africa, nothing personal, it's just that your position on the map makes you perfect for the role) but the Home Continent, the Mole, and the starting position of all the Spies are all randomly chosen before the start of each game, so it is different every time you play.
- The Mole must act as a 'normal' Spy to avoid suspicion, but must avoid collecting all the secrets in the Home Continent as this is not their objective. If The Mole brings all the secrets Home before passing them onto the Unfriendly Continent they lose the game!
- A Double Agent can win the game either by bringing all the genuine secrets home or by delivering them to the Unfriendly Continent.
- The Unfriendly Continent isn't gullible enough to believe more than one piece of false information at a time. Any new false information overwrites the last.
- There are 10 set pieces of false information and 10 corresponding questions that the Diplomatic Services can ask to test if lies have been received.
- Only the Mole can see the Mole's collection of secrets and therefore monitor their progress.
- The game ends when either the Mole or a Double Agent has delivered all the genuine secrets to the unfriendly continent or a Spy has brought them all home. If it is a 'normal' Spy that has brought them all home they will be asked the identity of the Mole. If correct they become 'Top Agent' and win the game. If not, then the person who has the next most secrets will be asked and will win the game if they can correctly identify The Mole. If they get it wrong it continues down the line. If two Spies have collected the same number of secrets the one who collected them first has priority. If no 'normal' Spy can identify the Mole the game is declared a draw.
- ...and yes, for the pedantic amongst you, we know that Greenland isn't a continent. It's actually part of North America, but for the purposes of the game it's easier to refer to all areas as continents.