I founded the Indie Game Reading Club in 2010. I've written and developed RPGs since the mid-90s, now I mostly talk about playing them.
View all posts by Paul Beakley
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28 thoughts on “Codenames”
Better than “Time’s Up! Title Recall”?
I just picked this up. I hate Dixit…alot. but strangely…team Dixit with words seems much more like Mastermind to me…and I loved the hell out of Mastermind.
I’d love to hear more thoughts on this. (From Ralph about Dixit too.)
There’s amazing tech in party games that rpgs barely take advantage of.
I keep not buying this game despite everyone telling me it’s good.
Jesse Coombs there’s some amazing tech in this that feels like it’s emerging from the same zip code as the really good freeforms, actually. Here’s what jumps out at me:
* The handler comes up with a single word and a number that indicates how many clues can be sussed out from that word. So clues accumulate and you can apply that knowledge on future turns.
* Your opponent’s clues are just as important as your own.
* Both teams are trying to avoid each other’s spies but also especially the Assassin, which makes you lose instantly. So that’s super-interesting to watch happen.
Basically it’s that accumulated knowledge thing that is so killer. And then the game’s over in 10 minutes and you can flush it. I can’t tell you what a relief that is: I’ve got room for maybe a dozen games in my head, in detail.
Chris Groff you keep on with the keeping on, man.
It’s a super impressive game. I played Dead Last over the weekend and really like it as well. Easier to play with a more inebriated crowd. Kind of Incan Gold meets Cash N’ Guns.
Phil Lewis I wish I liked Cash N’ Guns better. It just seems so dumb every time I’ve tried it.
My hesitation is I/we’ve had bad luck with social games. Cash N’ Guns, kinda fun but not a huge hit, Dixit some people love it others hate it, Apples to Apples complete flop, Cards Against Humanity is the only one that’s seemed to stick but I find it long in the tooth. Codenames sounds interesting to me but may require to much concentration for the normal social games group.
I’ve even borrowed it from a friend and then when the chance came up to play it, it never happened. I think I’m just cursed when it comes to social games.
Have you tried it WITH Dixit cards?
Chris Groff good news on that front, maybe: Codenames is nothing like Apples to Apples or CAH. I hate those games, and I love Codenames. But you’ve also called that right: it takes some concentration. It’s not a laugh-hysterically-about-racism-while-drinking game.
It’s a game I’ve played with my family, sober, but would not play with my wife’s friends, drunk. If that makes sense.
Paul Beakley there is a new version… CODENAMES ‘Deep Cover’, it has more CAH type names…
Brian Heward huh. I have no idea why I’d want that.
My CAH hat know no limit.
Maybe I’ll try and borrow it again and get a sympathy game out of it from my friends for my birthday.
Paul Beakley, a friend of mine stated it perfectly about CAH. When every card is a trump card, where’s the fun? On the other side of things, I love Apples to Apples and Dixit.
I’ve avoided Codenames because it looks like it had hidden roles. I don’t like Werewolf or games like that. Weirdly, I love Battlestar Galactica and when people say I should play The Resistance because it doesn’t have all the fiddly board game stuff, I’m thinking I love that stuff! Why would I want to get rid of it?
Let me get back in the passenger seat. I don’t want to derail. (And I’m too lazy to post my own thread.)
Jesse Coombs Codenames has no hidden roles at all. You have two teams, and one player on your team is your handler/spymaster who comes up with clues for the rest of the team. That’s it. Nothing hidden.
Totally not a social manipulation/social deduction game.
With Codenames the one potential issue with the game, that I can see from the rules is people giving cue’s to tip each other off. Is that a big probably or not such a big deal?
Not a big deal as long as everyone understands that that’s cheating.
I mean you can’t really litigate away cheating. That may sound like a blowoff answer, and I get that, but cheaters gonna cheat.
Sure and I’m not specifically talking about people overtly cheating more just people with really bad tells. Which I can see being harder to control in a social situation like this. Like would it really ruin the game or is it not as significant of an issue. Or maybe the solution is as simple as those people shouldn’t be Spy Masters.
Oh gosh, we telegraph stuff inadvertently all the time.
It’s a party game. But if your crew can’t play it at that level, like, it’s all SRSBZNZ all the time, then party games as a category might not be a good fit.
A followup: to be clear, I’m totally not passing any kind of judgement here! I tried playing Rampage (Terror in Meeple City) with my ultrahardcore crew and it was deeply, deeply unfun. Oh lordy, very unfun. The struggle is real.
Sounds like I’m onboard! Can’t both teams use information gleamed from one player’s obvious “tells”?
Jesse Coombs absolutely. That’s part of the challenge for clue givers.
OK, that kind of all balances out then and doesn’t sound like as huge of a stumbling block as it came across in the rules. Thanks.
I played a few games of Codenames months ago. I’d definitely categorize it as a game that requires the right group to play with. A portion of the group I played with were alright, but then there was the guy who decided he needed to be the game master. Ultra serious. Pulled up the timer app on his phone. The game needed to be played right and he needed to win. I haven’t really given the game a second glance since, even though I know I should.
I bought it on your recommendation Paul Beakley and it is really fun. We’re on our eighth game in a 7 hour span now, and it’s getting MORE fun, more nail-biting as the teams get more ambitious.
I’m having a tough time envisioning this with my wife’s family who are rampant Euchre table talkers though; it is so easy for the spy master to give away tons of information. Tons.
I too took the plunge based on this thread and picked up Codenames Pictures a few weeks ago. It’s been played a lot. Definitely a fun party game. What I like most about it is that it’s not arbitrary or is playing favourites.