Codenames Game Review

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Well, the impressions of the detective game Noir had still had time to cool down, when Gaga Games immediately pleased me with a signal copy of a very popular game today, which is called in the Russian version Code Names (the English name of this game is Codenames).

Recently, Russian-speaking boarders have been lucky for hit games. Either they got the game number 1 according to BGG (Pandemic: Legacy), then very soon they will be able to enjoy the number 1 party game according to the same authoritative site.

Yes, indeed, Codenames is currently considered the best party board game. Whether this is true, you can find out by reading this review!

Unexpected part game from a famous eurohardcore player

The author of the game is the Czech developer Vlad Chattel, who has long been known to all fans of board games. It is known for its rather hardcore games like Dungeon Lords, Dungeon Paetz, Mage Knight, Space Alert, Galaxy Truckers, etc. In 2015, all board game fans were waiting for a new complex project from the Eurogame family from the Czech.

And absolutely no one expected that the recognized author of weighty games would present to the world his version of a companion game. Many, including me, waved their hand at Kahvalti with the words “it’s gone bad, man, but there was such a cool author.”

But despite my skepticism, the first impressions of the game, which began to appear on the Internet, were very good. The game was praised and praised, and in the end it became the #1 game in the party game niche. And it’s great that Gaga did not sleep in a hat and managed to buy the rights to localize the game. As a result, we can now feel the world hit with our own hands without any problems.

So, let’s see what this hit looks like visually. The box is medium in size, not heavy. On the lid, the awards received for a short period of its existence flaunt (the game is not even a year old yet). Also on the box is a badge that says that the game is number 1 according to BoardGameGeek (as of May 2016), which is the purest truth.

We remove the cover and see a convenient organizer, which, as always, makes me very happy. In the organizer cells you can find a set of small cards with words (cards are double-sided), a set of square key cards, a set of agent cards, an hourglass and rules.

Maybe I would like to find fault with something, but I don’t know what exactly. Cards with words are smooth, the cutting is excellent, everything is super. Cards of agents made of thick paper (maybe it’s even cardboard). The stand for key cards does not scratch the cards. The sand in the clock pours evenly, without failures. Honestly, I don’t know where the components were printed, but everything turned out perfectly.

You only need to know one word

Codenames is a team game where you have to guess the words. Players are divided into two equal teams (although if some team has one more person, then this is not at all scary). Each team chooses one captain, whose task is to give clues.

Random cards with words are laid out on the table so that they form a 5×5 field. The cards are secret agents, among whom there are also civilians and one murderer.

The captains, with the help of a key that reveals the secret identities of the agents, know who is on the table the agent of one and the other team, who is a civilian.

and who is the killer. The task of each captain is to tell his team exactly where the agents of their team are (one team is red, the other blue). The key is fully consistent with the grid of cards. The squares on the key are filled with color, showing the roles of each card with the word, and the captains see these roles. How can you tell the location of agents to your team?

And very simple! On his turn, the captain must give a one-word clue that matches one or more of the names of his team’s agents (recall that word cards on the table are agents). This word can be a noun, verb, adjective, but not a phrase. Also, the word must be in Russian. The hint word must be followed by a number indicating the number of word agents related to the hint. For example, agents “lion” and “cabinet” can be given a clue “Narnia: 2”.

After receiving a hint from their captain, the team begins to discuss aloud which cards the hint might refer to. While the team is discussing, the captain cannot react to their conversation. He must always keep a straight face. After discussion, one of the players of the team puts his finger on one of the cards, which, in the opinion of the team.

is correct. If the word is guessed correctly, an agent card of the corresponding color is placed on the card and the team continues to guess the next code word (if there are still attempts left). If a player hits a civilian, a civilian card is placed on the card with the word and the turn passes to the other team. If a player touches the card of another team, then the agent of the other team is placed on the card and the turn passes to it. The worst thing can happen if the player touches the killer card, because this means that the team was defeated.

But the game can end earlier if someone runs into the killer.

The captains take turns, i.e. if the team has completely guessed the clue, the turn passes to the other team. Also, the move can be passed earlier if the team is not sure that it knows exactly the solution of the hint.