I have a new favorite board game that I’d like to share with y’all. It’s called CodeNames and it’s a great game for groups of at least 4. (You can totally play with more people, but you’ll be dividing into two teams, so try to keep the number even.)
The concept is pretty simple. According to the game creators, “Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.”
There’s a deck of cards with various words printed on them. (These are the agents’ codenames.) Each codename will belong to one of the teams OR be an innocent bystander OR be the dreaded Assassin. The spymaster’s job is to let their teammate’s know which agents belong to them. The spymasters will do this by giving their team clues. The clues will correspond to one or more of the cards on the table.
The photo on the left is the grid of cards and the photo on the right depicts how you know which cards/agents belong to your team. Let’s say you’re the spymaster for the blue team; your agents’ codenames would be: spy (which is a pretty un-creative codename, imho), carrot, thief, mole, water, paper, ninja, police, and pie. You, as the spymaster, give your team a one-word clue each turn along with a number of cards that might correspond to that clue. If I were playing this hand, I’d say “sneaky, 4” because spies, thieves, moles, and ninjas are all sneaky. But be careful to check your opponent’s agents too to make sure your clues don’t apply to one of them! And don’t let your team choose the Assassin (the black square)! This will end the game immediately and your team will LOSE!
It’s a lot of fun to make up and guess the clues, to try to find connections among completely random words, and to see your friends try to follow your logic! I wholeheartedly recommend CodeNames! There are also several variations of the original game! One has pictures instead of words and one is collaborative instead of competitive. This last one is called CodeNames Duet and the Vortex just bought a copy along with about 12 other board games that are free to use in the teen area! Stop on by and give one a try!