Blogger board game club: Codenames 

Published November 10, 2017 by Bizzimummy

As part of the Blogger board game club, I am sent regular family games to test and try out. I really enjoy being a part of it as not only does it give us the opportunity to try out the games but also that bit of family time without the technology or phones to distract us.

Last month we played The Colt Express. I found this quite a difficult game to get my head around. Far too many rules and things to do. This months game is soooo much simpler.


This is Codenames. It’s a small compact box. No board, no batteries, no dice and no playing pieces. But lots of cards.



These are the Codename cards. There are hundreds but only 25 are played at once. Each card is double sided and each word is meant to be the name of an agent.

These are the agent cards! The bottom card is the assassin and the one card that we don’t want to see whilst playing, the two above him are innocent bystander cards. Yes you guessed it. The game is themed around spies and secret agents.


These are the keycards! Ever played battleships or mastermind? Well there are a few similarities with this game.

The codename cards need aligning as above in 5 rows of 5. It’s best as a team hand but we have our our own unique way of playing with 3 of us.

If playing in teams of two, one becomes the spymaster and the other a field operative. The spymaster takes a keycard (as above) each square on the keycard is a position of the code cards, each colour relates to either a red or blue agent, a bystander or the assassin. This sounds complicated so this picture may show it better.

See the top row on the keycard now matches the top code card row. It’s all about finding the agents on your colour team. This is done by the spymaster giving one word clues on the code card names. For example if the spymaster said – animal 4. This indicates 4 words relating to animals which would be – dinosaur, cat, turkey and bear. Now these answers won’t all be for the correct team. Field players tap the answers one by one. A correct guess means a spy card replaces the word. Am incorrect guess means a card for the other team or a bystander which then stops anymore guesses for that round. The assassin card ends the game.

The winning team has to place all their spy cards over their words.

It is actually a very easy game to master. I would say the most difficult part can be thinking up the one word clues to guess some of the codenames.

As there are usually only 3 of us playing here, we do change the rules slightly. One of us will be a be a neutral spymaster. The other two players will be red and blue (solo). The neutral spymaster will the only one giving the clues to both players. This works really well as we then take turns to be spymasters and field operatives.

Codenames costs between £14.00 – £20.00 from most good toy stores.

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