Codenames. It’s pretty self explanatory. The goal of the game is to find your agents in the field by their codenames before your opponents find theirs.
Break up into even teams with one person from each team as the Spy Master. Pull 25 random cards from the deck and arrange them in a 5-by-5 grid with the Spy Masters on one side of the board and their respective teams on the other.
One of the spy masters will pull a grid card and place it on the stand so only they can see it. This will show the spymasters where the spies and bystanders are and where the assassin is hiding.
Spy Masters then take turns saying two things: a one word clue that relates to one or more of the spy code names on the board and a number to indicate how many words it relates to. Saying “circus: two” for instance means that the clue “circus” relates to two of the cards on the table. Their teams guess who their spies are. Guess one of the enemy spies and the other team gets that point and your turn ends. Guess a bystander and your turn ends. Guess the assassin and you lose. The first team to cover up all of their spies wins.
In most spy games, you’re trying to deceive, but in this game, you’re trying to make your intentions absolutely clear with your team members. You’re trying to find that one bit of information that will get across everything you need. What really adds to this game is that all the answers are in front of you, just not all the right answers. And then there’s the assassin that you need to dance around.
Codenames is about finding a bond with your team and being able to communicate succinctly. Having that magical and almost telepathic moment with your friends where you say just the right thing also helps. Unlike other games of its kind, everything you need to know sits before you. All the answers you need are right there. You just need to find them.
To find out more about Codenames, check out their site here.
Additional footage thanks to CGE/Paul Grogan.