Blogger Board Game Club – Codenames

This is my first review for a new series of posts called the Bloggers Board Game Club. Each month we will be sent a game by Esdevium Games to play together as a family. The aim of this is to share our experiences of these games with you and tell you what we liked and disliked to help you to be able to make informed choices when looking for a game for your family to play. The first game we were sent was Codenames.

Codenames is suggested for players over 10 years old but my two girls are nine and nearly eight and they were both really good at this game. As it is a word game I assume that their proficiency is due to their love of reading as they needed to be able to fully understand all of the cards in front of them and be able to interprete them in different ways.

The game can be played by two or more players but we found that is was best played with four or more. There are separate instructions regarding how to play with two or three players which take out some of the team elements. We mostly played with four players but sometimes we played with five or six players with the odd person helping on both teams or all of the guessers working together and just the spymasters being against each other.

The aim of the game is for the Spymasters to make the field operatives guess the names of their secret agents. The Spymasters have a key card which shows them which codenames represent the different colour agents, innocent bystanders or the assassin.

To help the field operatives to guess the secret agents the spymasters must give a one word clue and say how many of the secret agent codenames  that word relates to in the word grid in front of them. If the field operatives guess correctly the card is covered with a secret agent card. If they guess the assassin then the game is over and that team loses. If they guess either one of the other spymasters agents or an innocent bystander then their turn is over and play moves to the next team. There are a few other small rules but the aim of the game is to guess all of your secret agent codenames before the other team.

We took this on holiday with us to play in the evenings and I didn’t expect it to be as popular as it was. From ages 7 to 56 we all had a great time playing it and we didn’t need to have teams matched by age as Elizabeth (9) proved when she was Spymaster against her Nanny.

The game includes 200 cards which feature 400 codenames which means that there are lots of opportunities to play without getting fed up with the words that come up. There are also 40 key cards dictating which cards are part of which secret agent team.

We loved this game, it challenged our brains, made us competitive and yet it was quick and simple to play.  This is the sort of game that we really enjoy as it does not require lots of knowledge about a particular subject yet does mean that we test our brains. We are looking forward to trying more games as part of the bloggers board game club.