I am really excited to be working with Playtime PR over the next 12 months as part of their Blogger Board Game Club. Every month we will be sent a board game from the vast catalogue of Esdevium Games, and after we’ve tried them out I’ll be telling you how we got on. The whole geek family are huge board game fans, so we hope this will give you a selection of games you might want to try out with your own family and friends. This month we were sent a copy of Codenames.
Codenames is a game for two teams of at least 2 players each. A grid of 25 cards are laid out – these cards show the codenames of 25 secret agents. One player from each team acts as spymaster while the other has to guess which of the agents on the table belong to their team based on clues given by the spymaster.
Clues must be one word only and can apply to more than one agent card. The spymaster says how many cards the clue relates to. So the spymaster might say, “insect two”, and the guesser can make one or more guesses about which cards the spymaster meant. Get multiples right on one turn and your team is ahead. Get it wrong and you give points to the other team. It’s a very simple premise that works really well, especially with larger teams where discussions can break out about what the spymaster might have meant. The real challenge of this game is in coming up with clues that suggest more than one card. If you always give clues for a single card then the winner is just down to who went first.
We played this game with the 9 year old geekdaughter and 7 year old geekson. The game actually says for 10 and up so our two were a little young and this did show in how hard they found it. Thinking up multi-card clues is quite tricky even for a grown up. I think this game would really shine at a party with 6 or more players. Games don’t take too long – 30 mins maximum. The rules are simple enough to teach a large group easily. And it’s a lot of fun because it makes you interact with each other and think creatively.
I spotted in our favourite board game shop recently that there’s a new 2016 version of Codenames that would suit kids better called Codenames: Pictures. The premise is the same but instead of words on the agent cards there are pictures and the pictures are drawn so as to give you multiple ways to hint at the card you meant. I think this would reduce the challenge to a level where my 7 year old would be able to join in.
Overall I think Codenames is a clever, simple game that plays quickly and is a lot of fun. The spy theme works well to illustrate what you’re doing and gives another element of fun for younger players. It will appeal to people that enjoy word games and it has a similar feeling to traditional party games like Charades.
Disclosure: As a member of the Blogger Board Game Club I was sent this title for review purposes. All words and opinions are my own.