Guest post: Codenames boardgame

codenamesboxOur friends at Rollin’ Dice have written a boardgame review for us, because quite frankly, you can’t beat a great boardgame!

Have you ever been in the position where you need to disclose the identities of your secret agents currently lost in the field using sparse communication whilst racing against the other team? Probably not but thanks to tabletop game Codenames now you can.

Before we continue, if you’re in the boardgames are rubbish and boring camp then let me regale you in stories of adventure, competition and deceit because thats where boardgames live now. Forget your Monopoly, Scrabble and your rest. Codenames belong in modern boardgames, games that are built for fun. Codenames will push your vocabulary, friendships and appreciation of other people’s mindsets to their limits and you’ll love every second of it.


In Codenames, players split into two teams; red and blue (not the most original granted) and then each team chooses one ‘Spymaster’ whilst the rest play as Field Operatives. The spymasters have an important key card which only they can see which will correlate to the five by five grid on the table that is laid in front of everyone. Each cell in the grid is a card which has one word on it and some of these cards will belong to your team, some the others, a few are innocent bystanders and one is an assassin. Spymasters take turns giving clues to their team to try and get them to guess the words that belong to your side while avoiding the deadly assassin and boring bystanders.

The clue has to form a single word and then a number. The number is a clue to how many words the clue corresponds to. For example, if you have both elephant and giraffe as words you could say “animal: two” for your team to guess. You team may then guess up to the number plus one (remembering clues from past turns or simply guessing randomly) which words you’re referring to. If you guess correctly you place one of your team agent’s on the card signalling your team was correct. If your team guess incorrectly your turn ends. If you guessed the other teams word your opposing spymaster will place his agent card on the word and if the assassin was chosen then it’s game over!


The first team to get all of their agent cards down first wins.The team to play first has an extra card to balance the advantage and this is shown on the key card. Playing time takes about fifteen minutes and one game is never enough so you can spend a good couple of hours playing this game.

So that’s the game! Don’t worry, there is a TON of word cards and a lovely chunk of key cards so each time you play you’ll get a nice new combination to have a laugh with. Each word card is also double sided so I’m not sure the exact stats but you’ve probably got roughly 500,000 individual games before you repeat yourself.

So why is this fun? It’s fun because no matter stranger or friend, words connect us all and as long as you have a good grasp of the English language you’ll chuckle to yourself as a person tries to link wave, chip and lemon with salty because they couldn’t think of anything better to say. Due to the game being so quick you’re never stuck too long on a difficult board and you can always pass the spymaster role on to the next person once you’ve finished a round.

Codenames is quite simply delightful – the ease of which you can get a new player playing is a minute and after five will know all the rules to teach others. The only clue left to give you now about how much I recommend Codenames is Buy: One.

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