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Spyfall party game spin-off changes its name to Spyfest after trademark hiccup

Publisher admits ‘forgetting to check’ availability of Spycon.

Spycon, the spiritual sequel to party board game Spyfall, has undergone a name change in the US and Europe after its publisher discovered that the upcoming board game’s title had already been trademarked.

First announced last year, the party board game sees players splitting into two teams in order to correctly identify a spy hiding beneath one of many possible disguises. Attending a convention where important information is changing hands, each team must figure out what disguise the spy is wearing that round before their opponents do.

Each round, teams take it in turn to select someone from their group to be the spy. That person then secretly chooses a card to represent the disguise they are wearing to the convention, before passing their team a selection of items and a keyword that provide clues to their identity.

Once everything is in place, anyone from either team can ask the spy questions about their particular identity - such as who they might be friends with, what they think about an idea and what their personality might be like - in order to narrow down their search. The spy can decide how, and whether, they’d like to answer each question, with their goal being to give enough subtle clues to their team without revealing their identity to the other side.

Spyfest board game card fan

At any point, the spy’s opposing team can attempt to guess which identity the spy has adopted. If the opposing team answers wrongly, the spy’s team is then allowed to make their own guess.

The game formerly known as Spycon was designed by Alexandr Ushan, the creator of the original party board game Spyfall and a beginner board game about pretending to be a robot, Are You Human?

Russian publisher Hobby World - the company behind titles such as beginner board game Cutterland - said it was forced to change the upcoming board game’s name to Spyfest after it was discovered that the word ‘Spycon’ had already been trademarked by another company in the US and Europe.

“The thing is we simply forgot to check it in the trademark database since it worked just fine during the basic Google search (they didn't publish the name yet),” the publisher admitted in its announcement. “A shameful rookie mistake.”

As such, the upcoming board game will now be released as Spyfest everywhere except for Russia, where the party board game has already been launched under its original title.

Spyfest is due to be released during US board game convention Gen Con, which is still planned to take place from July 30th to August 2nd despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple tabletop gaming events. UK Games Expo, Origins Game Fair and Essen Spiel have all been delayed or cancelled due to the coronavirus health risk.


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Alex Meehan

Staff Writer

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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