As the head of a shadowy intelligence agency, you must manipulate agents around the world, using valuable intelligence to complete missions. Crucial choices, daring actions, and perfect timing will allow your agency to manipulate the world…and win the game! Spy Master takes place over five rounds. Each round begins with intelligence being gathered using the "I split, you choose" mechanism, with the spymaster player divvying the available intelligence cards into files, after which the players go around and take one stack in clockwise order, ending with the spymaster.
By playing intelligence cards from hand, players take turns moving agent meeples — both their own and ownerless freelance agents — into position so that they can control the areas, meet mission requirements, and claim the mission cards. At the end of five rounds, the player with the highest value in accomplished missions, along with bonuses for remaining intelligence in hand, wins!