Award-Winning Codenames is fun for everyone, even when they can’t all arrive on time!

Do you lose as gracefully as you win?

Players:  2-8+

Time: 15 minutes

Age: 14+

I have heard so many good things about Codenames and finally remembered to get my copy of it and try it out with my family. It does not disappoint! If you haven’t tried this game out yet you really should give it a chance. It is inexpensive and has a lot of replayability. We’re already asking each other when we can play it again. It is simple to learn and lots of fun.

To win the game your team must identify all 8-9 of the cards laid out in the 5×5 grid above. Each team has a spymaster that gives a one-word clue and the number of cards tied to that clue.

For example, if I were the spymaster for the blue team  I could give the clue “beach: two”. And nothing else. My team then discusses their potential choices amongst themselves and I cannot give any cues as to whether they are right or wrong but I hope they figure out that I’m talking about the PALM and CRANE cards (since I’m thinking of palm trees and water fowl). The team chooses their first card and if they guess correctly they can take another guess. So long as they don’t guess incorrectly they can continue to guess up to the number I gave PLUS ONE. Three guesses at most in my example.

The card you see with the grid depicted with a series of red, blue, pale, and a black square. The pale squares depict innocent bystanders and do nothing more harmful than ending your team’s turn if that square is guessed. The black square, however, is treacherous. If your team guesses the black square then they have activated the assassin and your team immediately loses. Once again, if your team guesses a card correctly they may continue guessing so long as they do not exceed the number you gave plus one. If your team guesses another team’s card then that team’s spymaster may cover that card with their team’s agent card. This also ends your team’s turn. Play continues until all of one team’s agents. Once the game is over you can simply flip over all the cards and you’re already set up for the next game.

So who will enjoy this game?

Pretty much everyone that enjoys games will like Codenames. We played it with our three oldest children (11- and 8-years old despite the recommended 14+) and two of our nephews (13- and 7-years old) and we all had a lot of fun. I could see playing this with adult friends and family and enjoying drinks and having a good time as well. Take this game to your next family reunion, holiday get-together, or barbecue if your family is even remotely into playing board games at all. This is a game that is easily played with large groups and if someone has to drop out early or you get a late-arrival it will not upset the gameplay in the least. Buy it today at your friendly local game shop or online at Amazon.

Author: Patrick

Journeyman. Melancholiac. Stoic. A rebel and a runner. I think chocolate and caffeine are over-celebrated and I believe hot sauce pairs nicely with ice cream.

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