Mission Impossible(?): Spy Games
April 13, 2006 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Hosting an adult birthday party centered around the ABC show "Alias" as its theme. I'm looking for a good game or activity that could fit an espionage type theme.

I'm looking for a game or activity that would loosely fit the super-spy, top-secret, or secret identity type category. (I'm very aware of Assassin/Werewolf and there's already several AskMe's that talk about how good it is, but it wouldn't be very fresh for us.)

Being Alias, if there was a game that played on alchemy/arcane knowledge (an ode to the Rambaldi artifacts, etc.) that might work too.

I'm not going to be a fundamentalist about it so any suggestions that could loosely fit the themes would be appreciated.
posted by MasonDixon to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pin the tail on Jennifer Garner?

posted by I Love Tacos at 8:34 AM on April 13, 2006

How adult? Like, "find the secret decoder ring that I've hidden somewhere on my person without using your hands" adult games, or like charades?
posted by klangklangston at 8:48 AM on April 13, 2006

Write your own espionage-themed murder mystery?
posted by The White Hat at 8:53 AM on April 13, 2006

If you like card games, this one's perfect.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 8:58 AM on April 13, 2006

How adult? Like, "find the secret decoder ring that I've hidden somewhere on my person without using your hands" adult games, or like charades?

The game could be a little blue or risque, but should include no fondling and nothing pornographic.
posted by MasonDixon at 8:59 AM on April 13, 2006

Some ideas:

Find some accomplices to burst in midway through the party on a raid. Have them interrogate the birthdayperson with "Truth Serum" (aka liquor shots) to reveal the location of the Artifact.

Place coded messages about the party space that can only be solved by knowing facts about the birthday person's life. He's a Virgo, so the combination must be .....!

Scavenger Hunt. MIT does one of these every so often in Boston, so there must be enough locales for it. Organize folks into teams with each team having a car and designated driver/accomplice. Give each team a few goals ("Prevent Team B from making it to Centerfolds") for the night.

Or if you can limit the stuff to a certain area, you could have plants/accomplices in each locale that help the plot along (So in the Central Square area, you could have some dude in a labcoat at Miricle of Science approach the group talking about how his invention has been stolen, possibly by an ex-KGB member! A trip to People's Republik reveals more information about the operative, but only if the questers can beat the contact in a game of darts. Then, it's off to the Enourmous Room to question a guy in a fez, and so on and so on).
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:01 AM on April 13, 2006

That improv game where one player has to guess what broadly defined personas the other comedians are acting out ("You're a guy who got an organ transplant from a donkey" ... "You're Satan's ex-girlfriend" ... "You're a sentient Barcalounger") might work in a more serious, spy-oriented way if your crowd was sufficiently game. Write up little two-line bios of who each person is "playing" -- not in a way that impedes standard party-time hanging out, but that gives them little baubles they can drop (so maybe you've got Sidney, M from 007, Mata Hari, Valerie Plame, etc.), and then there's an ongoing game throughout the party of guessing who's who.

Likewise, depending on the venue, some kind of treasure hunt might be appropriate -- maybe someone's video iPod is loaded up with close-up snapshots of elements of the venue, and there's a clue in each one, or what-have-you. That's the route I'd be inclined to take if I were throwing this party.
posted by blueshammer at 9:03 AM on April 13, 2006

Er, Miracle of Science, that is. It's a miricle i cun dres misulf.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:05 AM on April 13, 2006

Mafia. You can easily alter the cast of characters to spies, FBI, etc.
posted by mikepop at 9:13 AM on April 13, 2006

On non-reading the entire question carefully, never mind.
posted by mikepop at 9:14 AM on April 13, 2006

Taboo is a fun game. You can easily make your own cards based around an Alias theme, and it seems especially suited as it's sort of an interrogation type game.
posted by lyam at 9:22 AM on April 13, 2006

This game is good for ten-year-olds or thirty-year-olds -- at least in my experience. Sneaking around in the dark is always a hit. You can make this simple -- in which case you only need a flashlight and some paper -- or as high-scale as you want (include preparation, ninja costumes, larger area, anything).

A few minutes before you say "Hey, let's play," go off quietly and hide a flashlight. The flashlight should be turned on, but it should be resting on its face, so at most only a very thin line of light shows around the edge.

Distribute scraps of paper randomly to all players (don't pick one yourself). Two (or three -- the general rule is one spot for 5-7 non-spots) pieces should be marked with black spots; these players will be Black Hats. Make sure nobody knows who has what. Quickly herd all the non-spots (White Hats) into one small room, and turn off all the lights in the house. After about a minute, release everyone.

The ultimate objective of the White Hats is to have all White Hats gathered around the flashlight anywhere in the house. The flashlight can be moved, but can't be turned off or placed in anything.

Meanwhile, the Black Hats are trying to snag the White Hats, because the Black Hats win when all the White Hats are imprisoned at the same time. When a Black Hat catches a White Hat, the White Hat must be dragged to prison -- the room where the White Hats started. Usually the White Hat must go once touched by a Black Hat, but in your version, you may want to include bargaining.

White Hats in prison are released if a White Hat on the outside can sneak up to the prison door and open it. Black Hats are not allowed to guard the prison.

If the adult party involves alcohol, you may want to restrict gameplay to avoid stairs and other hazards. If you do the game before that becomes a factor, you can include the grounds as well as the house for a huge game. In any case, the person who hid the flashlight shouldn't play -- it's a good idea to have someone to keep an eye on dangerous areas or sort out collisions (which will happen) or be ready to flip the lights on if/when someone freaks out.

This game is incredibly entertaining and exciting -- at times it can get genuinely scary, as you bump into people you can't identify and as Black Hats jump out at you. If you're willing to do it all-out, the adrenaline will definitely be pumping. I learned it as "Romans and Christians," but all the secret sneaking in the dark marks it as a good spy game if you change around a few terms (prison becomes interrogation room, flashlight is "a new Rambaldi artifact," etc.).
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:52 AM on April 13, 2006

Dress-up games are always fun. You could collect an assortment of props a la Sydney Bristow -- wigs, gowns, lingerie, glasses, boots, coats -- and give out prizes for the best disguises. "Fastest Quick Change," "Most Likely to Gain Entry," "Most Likely to be Killed Before the Opening Credits," that sort of thing. Combined with alcohol, it's sure to lead to cross-dressing and other good times.
posted by junkbox at 11:11 AM on April 13, 2006

If you want to really stay true to Alias, you should make the first part of the party really interesting and a lot of fun and set up all sorts of great activities that'll be coming soon, and then repeat everything over and over again and never deliver on the things you promised and midway through the party, all the booze should run out.
posted by incessant at 11:23 AM on April 13, 2006

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