Behind the Scenes of Codenames

July 27, 2023

Czech Edition Games is releasing a documentary series called Making Board Games, a behind-the-scenes peek at how some of their biggest titles were created.  One of the things we’re looking forward to seeing at GenCon is the episode on Codenames.

Codenames came out in 2015 and still maintains its status as one of CGE’s biggest games.  Players divide into two teams.  Each team has one Spymaster, the player who can see the grid of secret words.  They’re trying to get their team to guess certain words, but never say one particular word on the grid.  The Spymaster gives a single-word clue that can’t be any of the words on the grid, and the number of words that clue covers; getting your team to guess multiple words with one clue is a big boost for your team’s chances at victory.  The teammates of the Spymaster then try to guess which word the Spymaster is hinting at.

Codenames is quick to set up and quick to play; a single playthrough usually takes less than 15 minutes.  It can also accommodate nearly any number of players, with special rules for only three or even two players.  This makes it perfect for game night while waiting for everyone else to arrive or while others are setting up a more complicated game.  But don’t be surprised if you end up spending more time playing Codenames than you’d originally planned.

If you’ve got a younger or more visual crowd, there’s a version of Codenames that uses pictures instead of words in the grid.  Otherwise, the rules are pretty much the same.  If you’re looking for a game to play with one other special player, there’s a cooperative Duet version as well.  And, of course, there’s nothing stopping you from playing Codenames: Duet with a group as well.

If you’re a big fan of Codenames, but you’ve only played the original game, swing by your local Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy® to ask about the other versions.  If you’ve never played the game yet, it’s a must-have for your game collection.  Get it today.