Codenames has been on the Amazon.com Best Seller list for months now. When I was shopping and saw all the positive reviews I knew I had to try it for myself. I am glad I did, even though this game appears confusing at first, it ends up being rather simple and challenging at the same time!
When you open up this board game there are several cardboard cards in perforated framed that have to be removed individually. You also have to unwrap the three decks of cards to get started. The instructions are inside and walk you through setup and game play with ease.
The Playtime Experience
To start you will need one of the code word card decks, shuffle these well and then use them to assemble a grid on the table top that is 5 cards long x 5 cards deep. Next you will assemble two teams, a red and a blue team. The teams choose a spy master for each side, these are the only ones that know the answer to the grid and the secret agents code name. The premise is that the code words on the table are actually code names for the secret spies of your team, the spymasters are the only ones who know the answer and it is the rest of the team’s job to guess based off just the one word clues given by their spymaster. The spymasters use a grid card, only they can see, to tell which code names their team must guess. They are allowed only one word clues, nothing else. No hints, no sounds, no additional clues. Just one word.
Things I Liked
I like that this game is competitive but also offers a cooperative side of things.
Things I Didn't Like
I both like and dislike how difficult it is to just give one word clues!
Codenames is a fairly challenging and intensive game so it is recommended for children 14 and up.
I enjoyed learning how to play Codenames, I would love to see how this goes with a large group, since I can only imagine when learning on my own. This is a challenging game but I have always enjoyed a good brain teaser!