Codenames is a team-based party game for 2 to 8 players. Two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their Codenames.
Two teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right colour while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.
Teams take turns, on each turn, the spymaster gives a hint about their agents’ identities by giving verbal hints about the words on the respective cards. Each hint may only consist of one single word and a number. The spymaster should give a hint that is related to as many of the words on their own agents’ cards as possible, but not to any others – lest they accidentally lead their team to choose a card representing an innocent bystander, an opposing agent, or the assassin.
The hint’s word can be chosen freely, as long as it is not (and doesn’t contain) any of the words on the code name cards still showing at that time. (Code name cards will be covered as guesses are made; and covered words may be used as hints.) If the teams agree, two words that act as one might be permissible – such as “Taj Mahal” or “Sean Connery” or “New York” – but if a spymaster has any question about a hint they might give or about the meaning of any of the code name cards’ words, they should simply ask the rival spymaster for a ruling, out of earshot of the field operatives.
Win or lose, it’s fun to figure out the clues.
- Ages 10+
- 2-8 Players
- 15 Minute Playing Time