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Czech Games Codenames
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- For 2 8+ Players
- 15 minute playing time
- Age 14 and up
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From the manufacturer
Codenames is a social word game with a simple premise and challenging game play. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their codenames. The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the table. Their teammates try to guess words of their color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin. The game works very well with 4 players if you prefer to guess without help. Or you can add more players if you prefer lively discussion. There is also a cooperative variant where a single team tries to achieve the highest score they can by playing against the game itself.
The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames.
The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
Codenames: win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.
Shut up & Sit down
Codenames is a deep game with simple rules, it’s tense and silly at the same time, and it’s fun when you’re winning and even better when you’re losing.
Peter H. Møller from Tabletop Together
This game is a blast to play.
Ocean:3 No wait! Don't Say Shark. Don't Say Shark.
This is the Codenames Party Game.265 Cards Rule Book Card Stand Timer.
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What this game IS, however, is a very solid word game with a little bit of deduction, press your luck, and "party" thrown in.
In short, the game plays like this: two teams, each with a clue-giver (spymaster) and one or more guessers. On the table are 25 random words. Each spymaster is trying to give their team one-word clues that help them relate one or more of the words on the table together (without saying the actual words, of course) so that the guessers can figure out which of the random words are affiliated with their team (only the spymasters know this information). The spymaster hopes their team will pick the words that they intended based on their clue without picking cards affiliated with the enemy team, neutral words, or the "spy" word, which immediately ends the game. Whichever team can identify all their words first wins.
As an example, a clue of "animal" might be great if you're trying to get your team to guess "cat" and "dog", but horrible if the opposing team also controls the "lion" card. On the other hand, maybe the word "pet" gives just enough information about a cat and a dog without also implicating lion. Should you risk it?
A little tricky to explain in one paragraph, maybe, but takes about 2 minutes to teach to a group in person.
Personally, I think this game works best with 4 or 6 players, where each team has a spymaster and 1-2 guessers. We tried playing it with 8 and in my opinion having that many guessers on each team does nothing to enhance the experience of the game. Instead, it felt to me like a lot of people sat and waited around while each of the spymasters tried to come up with good clues, then argued more than was necessary about which cards to guess.
Despite the fact that this game appears "meh" based on the concept, it's a lot of fun to play. Spymasters will agonize over what clue can safely implicate their own cards on the table without overlapping (and therefore helping) those of the opposing team. Teams will struggle to come up with the logic that the spymaster *must* have used, some wrong guesses will be made, hilarity (and frustration) will likely ensue.
There is some downtime when the spymasters take a while to come up with their clues, so be prepared for that. Otherwise this game is a blast and easily one of the best in my collection under the $20 price point. I have no doubt I'll be able to pull this out with any type of group (gaming, friends, family, work, etc.) and have a great time. It is a must buy at retail price ($20) or less.
(***Note: This review is for the original Codenames, and NOT Codenames: Pictures. Amazon combined the listings after I wrote this review***)
Two players are chose as the ones giving the rest of their team clues while the rest desperately try to make sense of what they are talking about. A 5x5 grid of word cards is laid out and then using a key card that shows what words are for each team and which ones are bystanders or an assassin, the clue givers take turns saying a clue word and a number which indicates how many of their team words are related to the clue. The team guesses and the clue giver places a token on their guesses corresponding to the red team, blue team, bystander, or assassin. The first team to cover all their words wins, though guessing the assassin automatically makes you lose.
The game is surprising simple, but provides hours of entertainment, especially as everyone laughs over the connections that everyone makes.I cannot recommend it enough!
Top international reviews
Concept: A word game in which there are 2 teams and 25 words on a board. 8/9 of them belong to each team (9 for the team that go first). Each team has one 'spymaster' who knows the identity of the all the words and using 1 word clues has to get his team to guess which words belong to that team.
Players: 4+, but works well with bigger groups - I played with 8.
Learning curve: Very fast - I would say that for anyone over the age of 11 they should be able to fully understand the game within the first play.
Game time: Each game lasts about 15 minutes, maybe less when you get better, but you find that you will play back to back games changing who is the spymaster
Excitement - The game is pretty exciting and given the short gametime teams who are losing at the start are rarely in a position in which they have 0% chance of winning (unlike games like monopoly where the winner is determined long before the end of the game)
Overall would recommend this game and if I lost this game I would buy it again.
In basic terms the game is made up of a grid of 25 words and two teams (red and blue). Each team nominates a spymaster who has to try and get their team to guess their words first. A grid card is taken at random by a spymaster and will show the spymasters which words their team needs to guess. This card also shows which team goes first. The team going first has 9 words, the team going second has 8 words to help make the game fair. Then teams take turns with the spymaster giving a one word clue trying to link as many of their words as possible. The clue is followed by the number of words the spymaster is linking it to. For example the grid might have the words England and France, if your team has these words and no other countries are on the board the clue could simply be "countries, 2". It gets more tricky when there are other similar words on the board e.g. if America is on the board but that is incorrect for your team. Play goes on until a team find all their words.
Each game starts out quite relaxed but the tension builds every game when it nears its end. It really is funny to see how involved everyone gets. The beauty lies in the simplicity of the rules as even newcomers can understand the game within one round. Each round only takes 10-15 minutes and it's up to you how many rounds you play so it's really flexible in terms of time. Every time I have played, games have gone on for 2-3 hours of laughing and joking!
If you need a simple party game then definitely look at codenamed. Honestly, I've never bought a game that has been enjoyed by so many people!
We have even played it with a 10 year old who enjoyed it very much, although I would say it was more suitable for 13 upwards and adults.
It helps to have a good vocabulary. It is very good fun and causes arguments in a fun way.
I bought this as a Christmas gift for a few people and they've already reported back saying how fun it is. A few tips: It's absolutley essential that the Cluemaster does not give the clues with any inflection or possibe hints in their vocal delivery. Also, don't stare at the cards too long, that's a dead giveaway. And this was the #1 thing that drove people crazy when we played and was a hard habit to break: Before you give the clues, you can't say anything like "This is a stretch, but..." becuase THAT'S a clue!! When we stopped doing those sorts of things the game became way more fun.
I bought this with my own money and was not compensated for my review.
In Codenames, two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
It really makes you think hard!
Also, I found it's a great game for kids and non-english speaking people to improve their vocabulary.
I have played this game a dozen times already since I bought it and I can't recommend it enough.
The concept it quite simple, but the playing hard in the best possible way. However, the instructions are not very clear, best to search for a better explanation. Especially on the double agent card (basically whichever team goes first has an extra word to get and this card is used for it)
I've docked a star because at nearly £15 for a bunch of cards and a sand timer there really should've been a better box to store everything. Instead you get awkward plastic pouches to prevent chaos ensuing inside the box, which happens anyway with rattling during transportation to meet friends.
I'm curious about the digital version but otherwise recommended.
I really like the simple idea of this game and the moments when you get a psychic connection with your team are great fun.
Unfortunately the game can very easily descend into a snore fest of a crawl as less creative players struggle for 5 minutes, only to come up with "ANIMAL, ONE"! yawn.
There is a sand timer but it's a bit anal using this and only further encourages players to take it waaaay too serious.
If they'd included a comedy ticking bomb then this would be 5 stars - played with the right friends or strangers, it still is.