Tips & Strategies (6)

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Tips & Strategies (6)

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9
8 of 8 gamers found this helpful
“avoid unintentional clues”

We have a couple of pairs of very dark sunglasses available for use when playing after it was realized that the effort of studying the board to generate clues by the clue givers was allowing some players to “read” the locations of words on the board. So, when we play with those players we require the clue givers to wear those sunglasses or their own.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“Spymasters: Know your audience”

As with most party games, Codenames requires a bit of psychological finesse. Be aware of your team: their ages, their education, and their cultural touchstones. You may be able to connect your “spies” (words) with a clever reference to a popular Internet meme, but is the clue going to be meaningful if you’re playing the games with your grandparents? Similarly, don’t overlook simpler clues in an effort to be too clever — your team may not get the level you are operating on, or even if one team member does, he may get voted down by others who interpret your clue differently.

“Work the room”, and pay attention to the thought processes your team is bringing to bear. It may help you come up with future clues.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
7 of 7 gamers found this helpful
“Teams: Don't overthink it (or, work from most obvious back in)”

It’s possible when attempting to make sense of a Spymaster’s clue for a team to go too far in logical leaps. If your Spymaster is attempting to link “Plot” and “Cell” with “terrorist – 2”, chances are “Knife” is not a valid answer, and may be overthinking the connections. Try the words that seem “obvious” first; then, if you fail to identify the connections, remember some of the less obvious possibilities when you are answering on later turns. If you miss a clue that your Spymaster felt should have been an easy layup, that tells them to determine a different method of pointing to the same agent.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
6 of 6 gamers found this helpful
“Spymasters: Avoid pitfalls”

As much as needing to find connections between two or more of your team’s spies (words) is important, avoiding the other spies is just as critical. Any wrong guess by your team ends their turn, no matter how many guesses they may have left.

In a recent game, a young Spymaster gave us the clue “fall – one”, which triggered a spirited debate among the team as to whether she meant to match “Spring” (because seasons, and an earlier missed clue of “date”) or “Trip”. Turned out it was neither: she wanted us to guess “Pit”, which we only briefly had considered. Her clue was broad, potentially matching a few too many options.

Consider how to phrase exclusionary clues. If your spies include “Agent” and “Millionaire”, you may be thinking “sports” or “Hollywood”, but if the board includes cards like “Basketball” and “Actor”, which are not your team’s spies, you should either wait for those spies to be covered in other moves, or come up with a clue that excludes those false positives. Something like “realtor” might get the idea across to your team, if they follow your logic.

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10
Miniature Painter
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“Bury the Double Agent”

This game is often played with inexperienced players. They will inevitably inquire why the Double Agent had two colors on it. Save yourself the need to explain it constantly by always placing the Double Agent on the bottom of its current stack. By the time it is visible, the game will be over, and only the most observant players will question it.

This also makes it easy to locate the Double Agent for the next game, making this habit useful for experienced groups as well.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
9 of 10 gamers found this helpful
“Download the free app”

Codenames Gadget is a free app available for most mobile platforms, designed as a companion piece for the Codenames game. It can generate random board layouts for Red and Blue Leaders, determine starting team, and act as a timer during rounds. It eliminates the need for the screen and layout tile from the base game, and has a great built-in screen-tilt function that blanks the layout grid if the device tilts much off of a mostly-vertical angle. It’s great for quickly setting up a new game during a multi-play session. Definitely a recommended extension for the main game!

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