I know I say don’t play this while drunk/high/cross-faded. But if you want a hell of a time… well, I’m not saying you shouldn’t give it a shot.
Code Names is one of the simplest and most fun board games out there. It’s a simple game that pushes your knowledge and understanding of your friends to their limits. It can either be a salt-ridden nightmare.
Unfortunately for my friends, they play with me.
The game is a simple guessing/matching game. Everyone is divided into even teams, preferably with three people per team. Before them is a grid of cards, each labeled with simple singular words. Each word is assigned as either a Red Spy, Blue Spy, Brown Civilian, or the single deadly Black Assassin. One member of each team is the Spy Master. Their job is simple: they can give their team a one-word clue and how many of the words fall into that clue. Then, it is up to the remaining members to find all the cards corresponding to their color. Should they find all the cards, find a civilian or a card in the other team’s color, their turn is over. Whoever finds all their cards first wins. However, if they stumble on the Assassin, the game is over and they’ve lost.
It is very simple game once you get into the swing of things. But it’s a lot harder than you’d think. Depending on the people you play with, the game can be an absolute nightmare. Not only does your team’s Spy Master need to be able to think it through in a way that their team will be able to figure it out. At the same time, the other members of the team need to understand how the Spy Master thinks. It’s all about connecting the dots; the ones on the board are easy. However, the second dot, the Spy Master’s hints, can be a little more difficult to find.
The massive number of cards makes it super easy to replay the game! Each board is completely different from another. Bringing in so much as one new person could completely change the dynamic of the game! It’s a ton of fun, no matter who you’re playing it with!
Except you Uncle Tom. Except you.
The artwork on the cards is exceptional! Aside from the singular Assassin, each color (brown civilians, blue spies and red spies) has two varieties of characters: dudes and ladies. Each one is expressive and very well drawn. They have a ton of personality, even if most of them are hidden beneath sunglasses.
I love this game. It’s a great way to tax your mind and test your friendship! I’d highly recommend picking it up and playing it with your family or pals! It’s an absolutely great party game, even if booze isn’t involved.
But again: not saying it can’t be a good time without it.