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Codenames Review

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14 Dec 2015 01:00 #217247 by Matt Thrower

I love me some Vlaada Chvatil. I delight in his imagination and skill in welding together unlikely elements to create brilliant games. He likes pushing dexterity into unlikely place. Or adding depth of strategy to genres and mechanics that have not, traditionally, had much. So it came as something of a surprise to find that his latest game, Codenames, is a simple party game.

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14 Dec 2015 08:39 #217248 by san il defanso
Replied by san il defanso on topic Codenames Review
I really like Codenames. It reminds me of Dixit, in that it's a party game that's really accessible, but goes for something beyond just laughs. Not that there's anything wrong with a goofy game, but as you say it emphasizes communication, and that's really cool.

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14 Dec 2015 08:53 - 14 Dec 2015 09:00 #217249 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Codenames Review
I love Codenames. It's nearly as simple to teach as Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples, but more challenging and interesting... but also not trying to be funny. It works great as a game for 6-8, but I also really like it as a 2v2 game with two couples. It can be frustrating when your grid makes it hard to put two words together, but it's also quite gratifying when you get those threes.

One thing I've found is that colors seem to be an easy way out. One time I had ALPS and PASTE as my last two words. I said "stuck 2" thinking that people could get stuck in the mountains, and my team didn't get ALPS. After the game someone said, "you should have just said white!" The one time that I saw someone get a 5, it was with "Black 5." Words were things like Knight and Night- no racist overtones on any of it.

The only time that I've seen it flop was when we played it with my girlfriend's cousins and two foreign exchange students. The Pakistani kid and one of the cousins liked it, but the Chinese guy struggled a bit.

The first turn is also the hardest, so sometimes you're sitting there saying, "Hey this game is super fun and cool," and then you sit there really frustrated and thinking hard for a solid 2 or more minutes. Sometimes in that first game you've just go to throw out an easy 1 to get the game rolling.

Since names are valid clues, it's fun to use fictional characters. You can link Ring and Mount by saying "Frodo 2" for example. My girlfriend and I have been watching Breaking Bad, so we've used Walter and Jesse as clues. My friend and his wife once used "cat" to get the word "dragon" because I guess after seeing How to Train Your Dragon they both decided that Toothless acted like their cat.
Last edit: 14 Dec 2015 09:00 by Jexik.

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14 Dec 2015 09:37 #217252 by hotseatgames
Replied by hotseatgames on topic Codenames Review
I was likely going to get this for Christmas, but Amazon is full of scalpers... the game is supposed to cost $20 and it's going for $55. No way.

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14 Dec 2015 10:04 #217255 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic Codenames Review
$55 is nuts for a box full of cards. Shocking. It's good, but not that good - especially since there will be more stock incoming.

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14 Dec 2015 10:11 #217256 by san il defanso
Replied by san il defanso on topic Codenames Review
Has anyone here tried playing with cards from Dixit or Mysterium? That sounds like it would be interesting with people I know really well. Probably not a convention experience or something like that, but I want to take a crack at it sometime.

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14 Dec 2015 15:08 #217301 by Chapel
Replied by Chapel on topic Codenames Review
I like Codenames. It's a cute little filler. I'm not sure how it has gone gangbusters that has become the must have of 2015. It's cute, but game wise it's not very interesting or original.

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14 Dec 2015 15:48 #217304 by SebastianBludd
Replied by SebastianBludd on topic Codenames Review

Chapel wrote: I'm not sure how it has gone gangbusters that has become the must have of 2015.


Probably because it's a party game that combines the word association of Password with the bitter recriminations of Pictionary.

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14 Dec 2015 17:04 #217309 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic Codenames Review

I like Codenames. It's a cute little filler. I'm not sure how it has gone gangbusters that has become the must have of 2015. It's cute, but game wise it's not very interesting or original.


It's not a must have in my book - it's just cheap, flexible and fun. It's the best party game of 2015 but that's not a category that sets a lot of gamers on fire. This is a game in that awkward niche that gamers of any stripe can enjoy.

It might not be original but it is smart design. It's got a lot of clever tweaks to keep it as smooth and as replayable as possible.

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15 Dec 2015 09:52 #217343 by Egg Shen
Replied by Egg Shen on topic Codenames Review
If you're looking for this game it's available on Target.com. $19.99 with Free Shipping.

www.target.com/p/codenames/-/A-50364627#...m_1_2&term=codenames

I'd hop on it sooner rather than later if you're interested. It will probably go out of stock in a wee bit.

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21 Dec 2015 03:06 - 21 Dec 2015 03:07 #217871 by SuperFlySwatter
Replied by SuperFlySwatter on topic Codenames Review
"Playing Codenames will make you a better, clearer communicator."

objection, your honour. I think this is both hyperbole, and demonstrably false.
Citation?
Last edit: 21 Dec 2015 03:07 by SuperFlySwatter.

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29 Dec 2015 14:35 #218521 by Joebot
Replied by Joebot on topic Codenames Review
I got to play this game over Christmas with my extended family. We played 5 games, and I feel like I've seen everything there is to see, and I don't ever need, or want, to play this sgame again.

My biggest issue is that it's too easy to win by simply not taking any risks. If your spymaster goes for easy clues that only reference one obvious word ... your team will probably win. In all five games, my team took risks, tried to make educated guesses, and pushed for connections between multiple words. The other team took the slow-and-steady route of one-word clues. They easily won all five games.

Now, maybe my team just sucks at this game (very possible). But I saw no indication that taking risks in this game is a viable strategy. Just go one word at a time making obvious clues that can't be misinterpreted ... and you'll win. And MAN, does that make for a boring experience. There's just no "game" here.

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29 Dec 2015 16:01 #218537 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Codenames Review
I've never seen a team win by giving only clues that point to one card. Typically the other team will slip in one or two turns where they get two.

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