24th November 2019
Sunday at 'The Sovereigns' in Woking continues.
The next game was 'Codenames'.
I have it on good authority that spies, above all other things, really like having codenames.
So it's a good thing that the game 'Codenames' is all about spies.
Actually, it's a team based card game about words, but I digress...
Whats in a game?
How's it play?
Codenames requires a bit of setup.
When describing Codenames I've not really explained the dilemma and challenge facing the spymaster players.
The example I used had 'cat', 'pigeon' & 'ant' as all being blue. But in reality, it's more likely that not all of them would be the same colour, 'pigeon' might be red. Now the blue spymaster could simply say, "Animal, two.". But then they run the risk that the team might select 'pigeon' instead of the other choices and if they select the wrong word first, it stops their turn straightaway!
So the spymaster has to select clues that don't draw their teammates to the wrong answer. This can be downright tricky.
Now the spymaster could play it safe and select, "Meow, one." for 'cat' and use 1 word clues. The problem with playing it safe though, is that it probably won't win you the game unless you're already ahead. So doing 2 or 3 word clues can be a good way of getting ahead.
The same principle applies to the other team members. When the spymaster gives you a clue for 3 words, managing to find all of them grants the team a good advantage. But getting wrong can prove a bad thing.
It's a good implementation of a 'risk/reward' mechanic. A successful risk pays off and a unsuccessful risk penalises.
There's only one small drawback to Codenames and that is that it basically needs at least 4 players to play and ideally even numbers of players too.
The game goes up to 8 players, but I can't see a reason why team size should be limited to 4 (Other than it takes a longer to come to a consensus with bigger teams!).
Codenames is easy enough to learn to be a 'crossover' game and has a high replay value. It's probably a bit too long for a filler game, but makes an excellent party game. Particularly when with larger groups and/or family members.