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Codenames is a word association game where players split into two teams and try to guess the correct words based on one-word clues given by their team's spymaster, while avoiding the opposing team's words and the assassin.

7.54 / 10
BGG Rating
published year
2 - 8
player count
4 - 8, 8+
Recommended player count
15 mins
play time

How Complex is Codenames?

1.26 / 5

Codenames is easy to understand and play, with simple rules and gameplay mechanics that can be learned quickly by players of all skill levels.

How much Luck is involved in the gameplay of Codenames?

1 / 5

Luck plays a minor role in Codenames as the game is primarily based on deduction and strategy, with the spymaster's word choices being the only random element.

How much Player Interaction does Codenames offer?

5 / 5

Codenames offers a high level of player interaction as players must work together to decipher the spymaster's clues and avoid the opposing team's words, leading to lively discussion and debate.

How much Replayability does Codenames offer?

4 / 5

Codenames offers high replayability due to the large number of word combinations and the ability to switch up team compositions and spymasters, keeping the game fresh and challenging.

Why you should play Codenames

Easy to Learn

Codenames is a simple game to learn and play, making it accessible to both casual and experienced gamers.

Engaging Gameplay

The game is highly engaging and requires players to think strategically and creatively to win.


Codenames can be played with a wide range of group sizes, from 2 to 8 players, making it a great choice for game nights with friends or family.


The game has a high replayability factor, as the word cards are randomized each time, ensuring that no two games are the same.

Social Interaction

Codenames is a great game for social interaction, as players must work together to decipher the clues and guess the correct words. It's a great way to break the ice and get to know new people.


The game can be played in a relatively short amount of time, making it a great option for a quick game break during a busy day.

Why you should avoid Codenames

Limited Theme

Codenames has a limited theme, which may not appeal to players who prefer games with more immersive storylines or themes.

Language Barrier

The game requires a good understanding of English vocabulary, which may be a barrier for non-native English speakers.

Limited Player Interaction

While the game does require players to work together to decipher clues and guess words, some players may find the level of interaction to be limited compared to other games.

Not Suitable for Competitive Players

Codenames is not a highly competitive game, which may not appeal to players who prefer games with more intense and competitive gameplay.

Where to play Codenames online?

Where to find the Rules of Codenames

Check the rules of Codenames in a PDF file.

You can also find the community-driven rules summary, player aid, etc., in the Codenames files section on the BoardGameGeek website. You need an account on BGG to download files.

Beginner Strategies for Codenames

These strategies are for players who have either not played or played one or two games of Codenames.

Understand the objective

The objective of the game is to correctly guess all of your team's words before the other team does. The first team to correctly guess all of their words wins the game.

Pay attention to the clue giver

The clue giver is responsible for giving a one-word clue that relates to one or more of the words on the board. It's important to pay attention to the clue giver's clues and try to make connections between the words on the board.

Look for commonalities

Try to find commonalities between the words on the board. For example, if there are several words related to food, the clue giver might give the clue "cuisine" or "edible".

Be careful with homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings. Be careful not to confuse these words when giving or guessing clues. If you are the spymaster, it's better to spell such words letter by letter to avoid confusion.

Take risks

Sometimes it's worth taking a risk and guessing a word that might not seem related to the clue. If you're confident in your guess, go for it!

Communicate with your team

Communication is key in Codenames. Make sure to discuss your thought process with your team and listen to their suggestions as well.

Advanced Strategies for Codenames

Pay attention to the opposing team's clues

As you play more games of Codenames, you'll start to notice patterns in the types of clues the opposing team spymaster gives. Pay attention to these patterns and try to figure out what words those clues belong to. During your turn, you can avoid those words.

Avoid invalid clues at all costs

When a spymaster gives an invalid clue, it gives an opportunity for the other team to cover the word of their choice.

Delay your clues to make it harder for opponents

Sometimes it may be better to delay some easy clues as a spymaster. For example, if you have the word spoon and your opposing team has the words bowl, fork, and skillet, it's better to delay giving clues for 'spoon'. This is to trap your opposing team into wrongly guessing your word or to deny your opponents an easy chance of guessing multiple words in one turn with clues like a kitchen: 3.

Remember the previous clues

When the guessers fail to guess the number of words expected by the spymaster, they should try to remember the clue so that they can try to find the word in the subsequent rounds.

Be aware of the number of cards left

As the game progresses, it's important to keep track of the number of cards left on the board. If there are only a few cards left, you might want to take more risks with your guesses.

Use multiple-word clues

As you become more experienced with the game, you might want to try giving clues that relate to multiple words on the board. This can be a more challenging strategy, but it can also lead to bigger rewards.

Be aware of the time limit

If you are playing with the timer, you should try to guess the words before the timer runs out. Try to be as quick as possible.

Practice, practice, practice

The more you play Codenames, the better you'll get at it. Keep practicing and trying out new strategies to improve your skills.


Team-Based Game
Push Your Luck
Communication Limits


Card Game
Word Game
Party Game
Spies/Secret Agents

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