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Game Review – Codenames

The Forge Herald friends and crew unwrapped another game this week as we sat down to play Codenames.

Released in 2015 by Czech Games Edition, Codenames is authored by Vlaada Chvåtil. This wonderfully simple game is designed for 2-8 players and takes about 20 minutes to play. This was our last game of the night so we only played once.

The game uses word association, deduction and team play.

CodenamesThe concept of the game is your spymaster is trying to make contact with his/her spies. This is done by the spymaster giving a code word to his spies and them guessing what it is they mean. The first team to get all their clues right wins.

An easy game to set up, Codename requires you to deal out 25 codenames (chosen randomly) into a five-x-five grid in front of the players. A key card (also chosen randomly) is placed in front of the spy masters. The spy cards, innocent bystanders, and assassin card are placed in front of the spy masters.

The key card corresponds with the grid. It indicates the locations of the spies. One team will have to find nine spies while the other is required to find eight. The lights on the side of the key card indicate which team will be going first.

Players will divide themselves into two teams of roughly equal size. One member of the team will be the spymaster and will sit on the opposite side of the table with the other spymaster.

There are several rules that dictate what you are and are not allowed to say. For instance, if Howl is on the board, you can’t say Howling.

Once your team thinks they have deduced what you’re are hinting at, they touch the cards. If they are correct, you cover it with a spy card of their color. If they have chosen an innocent bystander, you place that over the card. If they choose the assassin, they lose.

This game was a hit with our crew for a couple different reasons. First, it is easy to play and easy to learn. We like that. Second, because our group tends to be on the larger side, this game works because of the larger player allowance.

There is nothing flashy about the game. There is no board or dice and the artwork on the cards is fairly simple, yet attractive.

With the low price of the game ($19.95) the game is affordable for most budgets. Add to it its small size and lack of a playing board, it is easy to travel with. This game comes highly recommended by The Forge Herald staff.

© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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