Codenames: Party Word Game Review

 Game: Codenames Players 2- 8
 Publisher: Czech Games Edition Time: 20 minutes
 Age: 14+ Replayability: 8/10



Party games are typically involved with a big group, charade-like mechanics, or the czar like best card judge. Seldom do we see board games implicate successfully engaging components and mechanics and deem themselves a party game Codenames have successfully provided players with a very addicting, creative, and uniquely developed party game for anyone of all ages and game experience level. In Codenames, you and a team are Working together through strict verbal rules. You will have cards spread out on a grid of 5 x 5. These are secret agents that only the spymaster of both teams is aware of. On your turn, you will tell your team one word that can be descriptive of one or more of your secret identities (for example, I’ll say ocean+ amount of cards that relate). The team will then point to one or more cards that relate to the said word. Hopefully, you avoid your opponents agents and the assassin. The first player to find all their agents wins!

My Experience

My first gameplay was probably the most memorable because it was just so unique and thrilling I will never forget (and I envy those who have yet to play this for their first time). I was partnered up with a new player of our game group. I just met him moments prior to playing. He was the spymaster, dictating our outcome with one words’ describing 2+ cards. Now, I have never played this nor was I any good at word play so I, unfortunately, hindered our performance. But I didn’t ruin everything. I was able to connect a few words together, however, I remember specifically, the spymaster using “knot” to describe three words–these three ending up being cross, band, and tie. I was wrong, I guess boot (which was the assassin) because I overthink everything. We lost (because of the assassin) and we switched sides.

I was beginning to get the hang of the experience and tried my hardest to incorporate wordplay to the best of my ability. In the end, I was successful in screwing my partner up by totally over thinking my words and trying to sum up too many cards into one word. A few attempts later and I have gotten the hang of the gameplay. In fact, I think verbal interaction is becoming a favorite category for me with board games. I love how fun and thrilling a game can be when you can communicate.

codenamesFinal thoughts

Codenames is hands down, a fantastic party game. While not perfect for two players; it does an amazing job when two teams of two are working on the game together. I think the learning curve is close to none and I feel this way about most verbally communicated board games. Word choice and word play may be the only skill you may need. I love the high-quality components and the concept of the spymaster. It may not be color blind friendly as the two shades of colors (red and blue) have a similar saturation.

You will like this game if you’re a fan of party card games and verbal interaction.

You will not like this game if you’re wanting something with a little more conventional board game components and experiences.



Joseph Nicholas

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Indietabletop. Communication major. Favorite mechanics include: Bluffing and Deduction, modular boards, and action point allowance. Favorite video game genres are Rpgs, Puzzles games, and Sim/Tycoons.

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