Remember that game night that I was telling you about earlier? Well somewhat recently I was introduced to a game called Codenames via game night. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical. It sounded complicated and not like a lot of fun. Which is unusual for me because I will usually try a board game once with enthusiasm and curiosity. I might have just been in a bad mood that night. I was pleasantly surprised to find out what a delightful game this was.
The basic premise is that you have a 5X5 grid of individual words
You split up into two teams: the red v. blue teams. Each team picks a Spymaster. The Spymaster’s job is to get their team to guess the correct words on the 5X5 grid in a specific pattern that is set before them.
The catch is that they can only give one word clues, but their clues should apply to multiple words, because you are racing against the other team to try and get all the words in your pattern before they get their words (each team has their own separate pattern so they aren’t guessing the same words).
There is some added elements to make it trickier. There is one word on the board that if a team picks that word, they instantly lose- the “assassin”. This makes it extra hard for the Spymaster, because their one word clue cannot lead their team to the “assassin” word. Fun fact the first time I attempted to be the Spymaster my team picked the assassin in our first round…my bad.
The premise seems simple, but the job of the Spymaster while lots of fun is exceedingly stressful, because you really have to rack your brain for good clues that will get your team to guess the most amount of words in your grid without getting the assassin.
I would rate this game 4/5 stars. This game is a lot of fun and could be played with everyone from younger kids to older adults. I will say, there is some “collusion” of sorts when you put people who know each other very well on the same team and one of them is the Spymaster they might be given an extra leg up, because if you know how people think and draw conclusions its much easier there seems to be an advantage to that team from my experience.
On the whole a light hearted game, one that I think would be good for families to play around the holidays, It seems like it would only get better after a few drinks and it will keep you and your loved ones from fighting about politics. A win-win situation!
Have you played Codenames before? Let me know if you liked it or not in the comments!