Code Names is an easy to grasp spy themed card game based on word association. We were sent this game as part of the Blogger Board Game Club and have enjoyed playing it with the older kids in our family.

To play the game, the aim is to correctly identify words on a grid of cards based on one word clues from your team member.

Word cards are set out in a 5 x 5 formation in your playing area, with certain ones assigned as blue and certain ones assigned as red. Others are assigned as innocent bystanders, and one is the assassin card. The “guessers” will not know the location of each of these cards or colours, they can only see the words. Meanwhile, the clue giver will be able to see another card showing a map of these locations.

The map card is shown above, along with the stacks of red, blue and innocent by standers. These cards are placed on top of the words on the grid of cards as that word is guessed by the teams.

So as you can see above the black X is marked in the bottom middle location, so if a player guesses “centaur” then they will hit the assassin card and be out of the game.

The way to quickly win the game, is to give clues which can relate to more than one of your target colour cards. You could for example give a clue “transport – three” if you have three things which somehow relate to that topic and if your guesser can manage to guess all three then they will be able to place three cards down. If they get two correct and one wrong, that is still okay but whatever the third guess actually was they will still need to put that card down even if it means giving a card to the other team.

The rules of the game are very easy to understand once you get started with the game, and we found we got to grips with it very quickly. Our 8, 9 and 11 year olds enjoyed the game and managed well although if you play with just adults you can probably give more abstract or cryptic clues thereby making the game deeper and more challenging.

Code Names is a great game for anyone who enjoys playing with words. It can be played quite quickly with each round taking a short time, but you can keep going with new rounds for as long as you like. It’s quite light hearted and we all enjoyed playing.

Code Names from Asmodee is Available on Amazon