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Card number

A spy's card number is simply how many cards get drawn when they go into a Flashpoint.

The subtly is that a spy's card number is increased when their supporting cast is eliminated from the story. Essentially as the spy's normal life crumbles then the more extreme the Flashpoint outcomes become. In a way the spy becomes a better spy (there are more chances for their cards to appear in the resolution) but the consequences of their actions become more severe for good or ill (there are more chances for doubled-cards and Jokers to appear).