As SpyParty is a game of skill, it is important that players be matched up commensurate to skill level. Chris Hecker has mentioned that he plans to implement a matchmaking system help players find others of a similar skill level, but such a system is not currently implemented.
Map Selection Edit
Currently, the most balanced map appears to be Ballroom, which tends to be the "baseline" map for even play. Library and Veranda are larger maps with more partygoers, which favors the spy as the sniper has to account for more information on the playing field and cannot see all of it at once. Conversely, Balcony favors the sniper as the spy is forced to negotiate in close quarters with reduced odds.
Mission Choice Edit
During game setup, the spy can handicap either player by choosing a subset of missions to accomplish. The spy chooses which missions are available to be performed, how many they must perform to win, and whether the specific required missions are set before the game starts or can be selected during play.
- Any X of Y: The spy selects Y missions to make available, and must complete X missions, but can choose which missions to complete "on the fly" during the game. The sniper knows which missions are available and how many the spy must complete.
- Example: The spy selects "Any 4 of 6." They are then presented with the list of missions, and must select six of them to make available during the game. Both players know that four missions are required to win, and can see which six missions are available. The spy can choose which four missions as the game progresses.
- Pick X of Y: Similar to "Any" game, but the spy must select the missions that must be completed before the game starts. The sniper knows which missions are available and how many the spy must complete, but does not know the specific missions that are required.
- Example: The spy selects "Pick 4 of 6." They are then presented with the list of missions, and must select six of them to make available during the game. The spy then must eliminate two of those missions, and will be required to perform the remaining four. Both players know that four missions are required to win, and can see which six missions are available. The spy cannot choose missions at will during the game; they must complete the four required missions.
- Known X: The spy selects X missions, all of which must be completed to win. The sniper knows which missions they are.
- Example: The spy selects "Known 4." They are then presented with the list of missions, and must select four of them to make available during the game, all of which must be completed to win. Both players know exactly which four missions were selected.
These different variables affect the relative difficulty of the game for each player.
- Pick games are generally harder than Any games for the spy, since they cannot adjust on the fly to game conditions. For example, in an Any game, if the spy sees the sniper camping statues, they can opt to do a non-statue mission; if the spy has selected Swap Statue as a mission in a Pick game, they'll have to attempt it, whether the sniper is camping statues or not. Known games are hardest for the spy, as the sniper knows all the missions the spy will have to do and can camp one with near-impunity.
- Larger numbers for Y favor the spy, as they increase the universe of missions for the sniper to have to monitor. Larger numbers for X favor the sniper, as they decrease the missions the spy can choose to avoid and increase the possibility that the sniper can narrow their scope to one or two missions to guard against.
It is customary after playing a game to switch roles with the same map and rules. This provides a balancing effect regardless of what map or rules are selected. However, a skew that is too heavy towards a particular role, particularly between players of similar skill, makes the game's outcome more predictable, and therefore less fun. Thus, it is still desirable to use the previously-mentioned methods of balancing the game, even when mirroring.
Beginner Maps Edit
As beginner versions of maps set both the map and mission choice, they have relatively known difficulty curves for both sides. For brand new players, the maps favor the spy, as the sniper will be unfamiliar with the tells and overwhelmed with information overload, meaning that even very sloppy mission execution can go unnoticed. As player skill increases, the spy's advantage decreases, and between advanced players, the sniper has a large edge on beginner maps since the sniper knows all four of the missions the spy must complete and can simply camp one of them.