Saturday, July 14, 2018

Codenames - Boardgame review and game night report

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to the game Codenames. When it first came out it was all the rage and was getting a ton of buzz. When I heard the initial descriptions of the game, I was a little skeptical and wondered how it would catch on with my normal gaming friends, family and other groups of gamers since we don't often go in for party-style guessing games. Once I finally tried it, I decided it was worthwhile and wanted to introduce it to my family. It was a quick hit. Everybody really enjoyed it and was excited to play both as a guesser and as clue givers.

That winter I was going to a family holiday gathering with extended familiy and was asked to bring games. I packed Codenames. Knowing that there would be younger kids there, I went out and bought a copy of the Disney version to bring along. Once again, I was a little skeptical as to whether or not it would go over well and work with younger kids and once again I was pleasantly surprised. Just this past month, I was selected by #Tryazon to be a participant in a Codenames party night showcasing Codenames Disney and Codenames Marvel. I got a copy of the Marvel version and sent out invites.

Party night came and I set up Codenames Disney and Codenames Marvel to meet the tastes of whoever showed up. We had a great mix of kids and adults and some wanted to bounce between versions because of enjoyment for the characters and concepts found in each version. We even had a Chinese exchange student come play. Her English skills were limited but due to the nature of the game she was able to hold her own and was a successful guesser on her team (she didn't want to try and provide clues). Of those who played, only 3 people (including myself) had played Codenames before. Everyone else really enjoyed the game and felt like it was a great title that's easily accessible for pretty much any group. One person was playing Marvel and acknowledged knowing almost nothing about Marvel characters or stories and yet she was able to fully participate and have fun as well.

The Codenames game night really showcased what I've come to love about the game. Codenames is a game with a simple concept that can be played by almost any age or crowd. It can easily accomodate teams of almost any size as long as they can fit around the table and see the cards. It plays quickly which allows for players to jump in and out easily depending on their scheduling opportunities which means you could have an ongoing game of Codenames throughout your entire game night with packs of rotating players as they wait for other games to start or end...or they could just play Codenames all night.

I still haven't tried out the Co-Op "Duet" version of Codenames but based on enjoyment of the game so far, I'm fairly confident that it will also be a hit.

Bottom line, if you haven't yet tried Codenames, you probably should. Unless you are strictly limited to 2-3 player games, this is a game that should be in your library (and now they have Duet for the small player count). I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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