I’m incredibly grateful that I have a mentor who’s into board games as much as I and the Tiger are. And on one of the days where we were supposed to talk comic scripts and direction, he brought this game for us and Ben to play.
Setup for Codenames is very straight forward and simple, which is probably why it’s one of the best choices for casual party games and small groups. You’ll need an even number of players for this game though.
Within each box, you have:
- 1 deck of Red & Blue Secret Agent Cards
- 1 double agent card
- 1 play mat
- 1 deck of map cards
- 1 deck of word cards
- 1 deck of civilian cards
- 1 assassin card
For setup, just shuffle the word cards, and place a single random word on each empty space of the mat. Form teams of 2, and decide who shall be the handler and who shall be the agent.
Handlers then choose a colour (Red or Blue) set up a random map card in front of them, unseen by the agent.
You’re now ready to play!
The Game We Played
To play Codenames, the Handler will have to look at the map and be the first one to place all their coloured agents on the play mat. To do so, the Handler can only communicate 1 word, and the number of guesses the agent could have to describe words located on the same position as the agents of the same colour. In response, the agent would have to point to their guessed words. So the game went something like this:
Handler: Mountain 3
Agent thinks, then points to the words: “Rock”, “Summit”, and “Climber”
Handler places their coloured agents on those words
If you got it wrong, your turn ended with a civilian card placed on that guessed word. Unless you picked a word where the assassin was – then the game ends and your opponents win.
We played a total of three games, and this was how they panned out:
Game #1: Dave and the Tiger’s team was leading by a point. And when Ben and I were down to our last turn, the Tiger guessed a word hiding an Assassin.
Game #2: I spotted the words, “Racing” and “Chasing” and thought I’d be clever by giving Ben the clue of, “Rhyming, 2”. He never got it. LOLOL.
Game #3: The Tiger took his best description out – “Katniss, 3” for “Kid”, “Arrow”, and “Bow”.
In conclusion, it’s a great game to play, especially if it’s just the two of you. It has a gentle learning curve, and can be scaled according to the size of the playing group. A recommended warm-up game for a party or a game night.
Gameplay Winner: Ben & I in Round 1, the Tiger & Dave in Round 2, and the Tiger & I in the final round. So we all won =)
Codenames was designed by Vlaada Chvátil and published by Czech Games Edition. For more information on the game, click here.