Codenames Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Awards

    91%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Simple to learn.
    • Short play time.
    • Lightweight.
    • Fun social interaction.
    • Huge replay-ability.

    Might Not Like

    • Not really suitable for two players.
    • Theme is tacked onto mechanics.
    • Not really suitable under 12s.
    • If your not into social or party games..

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    Codenames Review

    Codenames-Review-blog

    OK agents your mission briefing begins here. From now on everything you thought you knew about the world was in fact a lie. There are spies among us and they are not hiding in the shadows, but who are they?

    Your neighbour? Your work colleague? The mad cat lady from number 47?

    Who is friend? Who is foe?

    What is worse is that there is an assassin is hiding in their midst.

    We cannot risk a leak. Who do you trust? Your only true friends are your team. So your spymaster can only issue you with covert clues to help you identify those trusted agents out in the field. What intelligence we have to hand tells us that our enemy is in the same situation. Will you and your team be able to contact those agents and bring them in safely before the assassin strikes. Or will the opposing forces manage to recover their agents first? Time is critical.

    As always, should you or any of your force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.

    Mission Equipment?

    Agent “X” due to the sensitive nature of this mission you will not be issued with the usual exploding pens, laser watches or bullet proof cars. We cannot risk exposure. Instead we will be issuing you with the following equipment:

    • Eight Red Agent Cards.
    • Eight Blue Agent Cards.
    • One Double Agent Card.
    • Seven Innocent Bystander Cards.
    • One Assassin Card.
    • 40 Key Cards.
    • 200 Double-Sided Codename Cards.
    • One Sand Timer.
    • Eight Red Agent Cards.
    • Eight Blue Agent Cards.
    • One Double Agent Card.
    • Seven Innocent Bystander Cards.
    • One Assassin Card.
    • 40 Key Cards.
    • 200 Double-Sided Codename Cards.
    • One Sand Timer.

    OK Team Let's Go.

    Before you rush off Agent “X”. Be aware that the enemy can hear every word that is said and will be actively trying to feed false ideas and leads to your team. You have been warned!

    Playing Codenames Game (Credit: Czech Games Edition)

    Spymaster Calling

    OK agents, listen very carefully I will say this only once. Once out in the field, all communication will be eavesdropped. So from this point on I will only be using the approved code to communicate. You and your team will need to decode the transmission to locate the relevant covert operatives and bring them in from the cold.

    Wait what is that….

    You have not been issued with the codebreaker?

    Assassin on the loose?

    Right, old school code-form it is then. As you know all agents are identified by one word codenames. I will issue you with one word and a number. You will use that to decide on the names of the agents I am referring to.

    For example if I state “Flying 4," you will automatically know the four agents are, “Plane”, “Robin”, “Balloon” and “Saucer”. Due to all communication being tapped I will not be able to communicate outside those transmissions.

    Be careful if you decode incorrectly, if you're lucky you will just point out an innocent bystander. If not, you might uncover one of the opposing spies or even worse the assassin, and he will wipe out your entire force. GAME OVER!

    Sounds Easy? Well it is Not!

    You will be faced by 25 potential agents. Only the two Spymasters will know the true location of everyone. Using only one word and one number they will try to lead you to your agents, while avoiding the innocent bystanders or the dreaded assassin. You would think that would be easy to do? No one would give a clue that leads you to an instant lose, would they?

    Normally no they would not. But that is the beauty of Codenames. Everyone thinks differently and because the spymaster is not allowed to talk, you are up against a tight time limit, the rest of your team is thinking of different words and the opposing team are trash talking and throwing out red herring suggestions to put you off.

    All of a sudden Codenames becomes a lot more complex than a simple word guessing game.

    Codenames - Word Cards and Grid Cards (Credit: Czech Games Edition)

    Strategy or Luck?

    There is not a lot of room for strategy in Codenames. In saying that do not think it is a game of luck either. Well not in the traditional sense. The luck and strategy all come together when you give your clue. Have you strategically picked the best one word clue linking as many of your agents together as possible without hinting at a random word?

    Will you be lucky enough that the rest of the team are thinking like you? Here is an example.

    Your clue is “White-3.” Your words are Black, Wash, Snow, Rabbit, Paper, Chocolate, Out.

    ………..

    3

    ……..

    2

    ..

    1

    If you said Wash, Snow and Out? Well done you got all three correct. If not? Back to spy school you go. Yes the example I gave was mean because all of the words could be used with white. But hopefully you can see how tricky it can be to interpret the clue.

    It is agonising watching as your teammates discuss selecting the assassin as an answer. I mean who would have picked “Skate” when the clues was “Bored”? Really I ask you.

    Who is it For?

    Codenames is a party game and is best suited for larger groups. I have played with four players all the way up to 12 and the more the merrier. Although, the more timid players might get a bit sidelined with the larger group sizes.

    You can in theory play Codenames with just two players but in my opinion it just loses all of the attraction that a social deduction game can bring. I would suggest only playing with six or more players to get the best from the game and the social fun that can occur.

    Final Thoughts on Codenames

    Codenames is a great fun game for groups of six or more who are up for a bit of banter. It can be a good filler in-between some heavier games, allowing for some brain flexing in alternative way. Having played as a family game I have struggled to enjoy it as much. Although for a large family I could see it making its mark.

    The components, while not mind blowing, are of a nice quality and given the number of words included you would struggle to play the same game twice. Codenames will remain fun and fresh as long as you enjoy the mechanics of the game with the right groups of people.

    I personally am not a big fan of "Social Party" style games but Codenames is the exception to the rule. It does not get to the table a lot but when it does it tends to stay there for a while.

    Zatu Score

    91%

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Simple to learn.
    • Short play time.
    • Lightweight.
    • Fun social interaction.
    • Huge replay-ability.

    Might not like

    • Not really suitable for two players.
    • Theme is tacked onto mechanics.
    • Not really suitable under 12s.
    • If your not into social or party games..

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    Very quick delivery and great service. Communication was also very quick with a related question. Would defiantly use again.

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    great prices, packaging and speed. With everything considered the service was excellent, even without everything considered...it was excellent

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    Always prompt service and never had any troubles

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    A lot of games have reviews both text and video making it easier to pick one to buy. The next day delivery option is really affordable. Browsing could be improved if they had a filter to only show in-stock products.

    A lot of the games have reviews both text and video

    A lot of the games have reviews both text and video

    Ordered Marvel Champions and a player mat at 9pm tues, it was dispatched 7.30 the next morning and with me the next day. really well packaged and a great price. Thanks!

    Ordered Marvel Champions and a player mat at 9pm tues, it was dispatched 7.30 the next morning and with me the next day. really well packaged and a great price. Thanks!

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    Ordered on a Saturday and item arrived by Wednesday which was really great considering current circumstances. Item arrived with no scuffs or marks (which I appreciate as a collector). Much cheaper than Amazon and I much prefer giving that money to an independent like this. Very impressed, will definitely order from here again.

    Thank you here in 3days👍tina

    Thank you here in 3days👍tina

    Very quick delivery despite covid and good prices

    Very quick delivery despite covid and good prices

    Everything arrived within 3 days :D

    Everything arrived within 3 days :D

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