Codenames Quick Review


Codenames, a cool party game from Vlaada Chvátil and Czech Games Edition. The spymaster has to give the clues, the team has to decipher them. A fantastic word game for the whole family.

Quick Overview

Codenames is a party game from designer Vlaada Chvátil. On the table you place 5×5 cards with a word on it. You the divide the group into two teams, the Red and the Blue team. Every team has a spy master and the two spy masters have one Key card in front of them, hidden from the other players. On this card the spy masters can see which cards belong to the Blue team, to the Red team, neutral and there’s one black card, the assassin. The spy master give clues about the cards their team has to guess and the team that guesses all their card first, wins the game. The team that points to the black card loses the game.


The spymasters take turns. They have to give a one word clue about at least one of their cards. They have to give the clue, and a number, the amount of cards they want their team to guess. For instance, ‘Transport, 3’, when ‘Truck’, ‘Car’ and ‘Bike’ are on the board and they all have to be guessed by their team. It becomes more trickier, if one of those is a Red team’s word, or worse the ‘black’ word.

Quick Review

This is a very fun game. It is pretty hard to find the right clues. Some words have a double meaning, some can be interpreted in other ways than you anticipated, or sometimes you just totally missed some words on the table and your clues is suddenly too vague.

It’s really cool to see that everyone thinks in his own, mostly different, way. Laughter assured. Gamer, non-gamer, old or young, it doesn’t matter, this game can be explained in a minute and you play it in fifteen minutes.

We have played the English version and I think that, as Dutch speaking people, you do miss a bit of subtlety or the finer bits of English language, especially when not everyone at the table understands every word that’s on there. It wasn’t a big problem, but, nonetheless, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Dutch version of the game, so I can play it with everyone I know. Codenames, for me at least, is the best party game of the year.





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