The game clock is visible as an LED readout for both the spy and sniper in the upper-right corner of their screens. The time limit for the game is set during the game setup phase (either manually or with a quickplay preset). Under normal circumstances, the sniper wins when the game clock reaches 0:00. However, there are exceptions (see below).
As an audio reminder, the game clock beeps for both players at every minute (X:59). Once 30 seconds are left in the game, the clock begins to beep once a second. In certain overtime scenarios, the clock will beep continuously (see below).
Adding Time Edit
When standing at a window pad, two actions become available to the spy: "Check Watch" and "Check Watch and Add Time." Both perform the same animation, but the latter adds 45 seconds to the game clock. The spy's clock always immediately reflects the change. However, the behavior of the sniper's clock depends on the results of the spy's action test:
- Green: The sniper's clock slows down until the full 45 seconds have been added. In this scenario, the sniper's clock will not match the spy's. The spy's clock shows the actual game time; the sniper's will be inaccurate until it catches up. It takes about 95 seconds for the sniper's clock to catch up to the spy's.
- White/ignored: The sniper's clock immediately reflects the change, just like the spy's does.
- Red: The sniper's clock immediately reflects the change, and both players hear a beep.
NPCs will also check the time while visiting window pads, but this obviously has no effect on the game clock.
Overtime occurs when the game continues after the spy's game clock has already reached zero. There are two scenarios in which overtime can occur:
- The spy completes their last mission with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. A 10-second countdown timer (visible only to the spy) starts when the spy completes their last mission. The spy only wins when this timer reaches zero. (This ensures that the last mission still carries some risk of getting shot.) If there are less than 10 seconds left on the game clock when this happens, the game will continue past 0:00 until the win countdown is complete to ensure that the sniper gets their full 10 seconds.
- The spy's last mission is pending. If the spy performs a green action test on the Swap Statue or Purloin Guest List missions (or delegates the purloin on Moderne or Pub), the missions are considered pending until an NPC completes the swap/purloin. If the pending mission is the last one the spy needs to win when the clock hits 0:00, the game will go into overtime, and will continue indefinitely while waiting for the NPC to complete the mission. At that point, the usual 10-second victory timer begins. In case of purloin delegation, if the delegation timer expires before the delegate performs the purloin, the mission is no longer pending, and the spy loses immediately.
In both of the above scenarios, the clock has run out, but the spy has already performed all the actions they need to do to win, and now must simply avoid getting shot until the victory timer expires. When this occurs, the word "OVERTIME" will appear on the screen for both players, and both players will hear the clock beep continuously.
Extension Due to Time Dilation Edit
Because the sniper's clock is slowed down when the spy performs a green time add, it will be inaccurate until it catches up with the actual game time. If the time remaining in the game is insufficient for the sniper's clock to catch up to the extra time the spy has added, the sniper's clock will reach 0:00 before the spy's does. In this case, the game continues until the game clock (the spy's) reaches 0:00. This is not an overtime scenario (the game clock hasn't actually expired yet), so the word "OVERTIME" does not appear on the screen and the clock does not beep continuously.
Spy Strategy Edit
You are under time pressure to get your missions completed. Adding time reduces this pressure and affords you greater leisure to wait for the right moment to perform a mission. However, adding time is often a somewhat conspicuous action. It is best to try to add time while the sniper's attention is focused elsewhere. Another tactic is to attempt to add time close to the same moment as an NPC is checking their watch. This way, if the time add is noticed, there will be doubt about which was responsible.
It's generally not a good idea to add time during overtime or with 30 seconds or less on the clock, because the beeping will suddenly stop, which will immediately alert the sniper to the fact that you're at a window pad. If there are less than 30 seconds left and you don't have enough time to complete your missions, you may want to consider attempting to induce the sniper to shoot the wrong person, instead.
A sniper who does not shoot somebody during overtime is almost certain to lose.  Therefore, when the game goes into overtime, the sniper is highly likely to immediately shoot their top suspect, which might be you. Even if you don't think you're suspicious, it's less risky to finish your missions before time runs out.
If you're planning on performing a swap or a purloin, the clock is getting close to 0:10, you may want to consider doing a white action test rather than a green one to avoid overtime, especially if you believe you're the top suspect.
Sniper Strategy Edit
Newbie snipers will sometimes make the mistake of shooting because they feel like they have to shoot somebody before the time runs out. Remember: if time runs out, you don't lose; the spy does. Your concern shouldn't be how much time is left on the clock, but how close you think the spy is to completing their missions.
If you see a character beginning to check their watch, take a quick look at the game clock to see if it suddenly gains time or start ticking slower. If only one character was checking the time at that moment, you can safely shoot them. Also check for time adds if you hear the clock beep once when it's not the top of the minute, or if the beeping suddenly stops when there is less than 30 seconds left.
If "OVERTIME" appears on the screen, the spy's last mission is complete or pending. You are advised to immediately shoot your top suspect, regardless of your level of confidence, since if you do nothing the spy is almost guaranteed to win.
If you notice that your clock has expired, but the game hasn't gone into overtime, the spy has performed one or more green time adds and still has time on their clock. It is likely that the last time add was performed recently. There is no guarantee that the spy's missions are complete; indeed, a time add that late in the game often means that the spy is in significant danger of not completing their missions. However, more experienced spies will likely not bother with a time add if it wouldn't give them enough time to finish their missions, preferring instead to attempt to induce you to shoot the wrong person. Still, it's a strong indicator that an attempt at a hard tell is imminent, since the spy may not have enough time to perform a soft tell mission.