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Board GameCodenames Review
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Posted: 4 months ago, last updated 6 weeks ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Codenames is a team communication game where you play two competing spy networks. One player in each team gives clues to help them find the cards that are their agents without hitting the assassin. It's a novel combination of push-your-luck, clue giving and instinct that works for all ages.

You first lay out the five-by-five grid of Agent cards and the two Spymasters draw a shared Keycard that only they see. Each turn your team's Spymaster gives a one word and one number clue. You then try and identify each matching card until you hit one that's not you Agent. If you accidentally hit the assassin you lose and if you find all your agents you lose.

It's a simple game with a few twists that extend the fun. You are allowed to keep guessing one more time that your Spymaster's number clue. The team that goes first is indicated on the Keycard but they have one more agent to find.

The result is a team game that requires both clever clues and intelligent guessing. It gets really competitive as both teams get close to winning, particularly if you accidentally reveal an agent from the opposing team's colour.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2015

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Players: 2-12

Genres: Collecting, Communication and Push-Your-Luck

Pieces: Cards



View our choice of games like Codenames. This game is good if you want to:


Learn to Play: This takes 15 minutes to learn. It's simple to learn how it works, although takes a bit longer to understand how to be the Spymaster giving clues.

Before you start, the following is useful to do:
  • Go through an example board with suggested Spymaster clues.
  • Highlight that you can't use any words on the cards, or sounds like clues.
  • Highlight how a good Spymaster (who can see both friendly and enemy agent positions) offers clues that not only directs towards friendly agents but avoids possible enemy agent guesses/associations.

Play Time: This game will take between 15 minutes and 20 minutes to complete.

Play StylePlay Style

You can play with 2 to 12 players in the same room. Best played with 6 or 8 players.

You can play this game in the following styles:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Rating

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players can enjoy this game provided they are able to give and guess clues. Playing with very young children can work as long as they aren't the Spymaster.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.


There are different versions of Codenames you can purchase:
  • Codenames: Pictures (2016) - Pictures version of Codenames.
  • Codenames: Pictures XXL (2016) - Codenames Pictures with large cards.
  • Codenames: Deep Undercover (2016) - Adult/sexy version of Codenames.
  • Codenames: Duet (2017) - Adds a timed cooperative game mode.
  • Codenames: Disney (2017) - Mixed Codenames version with both pictures and words.
  • Codenames: Marvel (2017) - Marvel super hero version of Codenames.
  • Codenames: The Simpsons (2019) - Picture version of Codenames in the Simpsons world.
  • Codenames: Harry Potter (2018) - Set in the J. K. Rowling’s universe.


We haven't documented accessibility features for this game yet. Our Codenames Accessibility Report details system-wide settings that may help, and suggests similar games with accessibility features.

Diversity and InclusionDiversity and Inclusion

We haven't documented diversity and inclusion information for this game yet.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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