The spymaster says, "Hot: 2." Can you find the 2 words related to hot that win the game?
The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.
The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
The game works very well with 4 players if you prefer to guess without help. Or you can add more players if you prefer lively discussion. There is also a cooperative variant where a single team tries to achieve the highest score they can by playing against the game itself.
Codenames: win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.
Players: 2 - 8+
Time: 15 minutes
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In its favor:
1) short, 15 mins.
2) thousands of combinations so game fresh each time
3) Dixit has the amazing graphics but a person can win by giving secret clues to someone they know. In codenames strangers who team don't need that advantage to win, even against teammates who know each other well.
4) well designed & fun to play
Codenames is terrific for medium-to-large groups who are looking for a game that can be played in as many 10-20 minute rounds as they want. The setup is easy to randomize such that you never play the same one twice. Like Cranium, Catchphrase, Balderdash, Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, etc. Codenames is a highly social game that depends more on how well you know and understand your teammates than practically anything else and it can be fun (and irritating) to see different personalities clashing over how best to interpret clues.