A Game by Vlaada Chvátil
Codenames is played between two teams, Red
on a set of twenty-five codenames. Each team consists of a single spymaster who knows the secret identity behind each codename, with the remaining players as field operatives who will contact the codenames. On each turn of the game, the spymaster provides a clue to their field operatives. The field operatives will then attempt to contact at least one of their aligned agents based on the codenames clued. The first team to activate all of their agents wins the game!Game Setup
Players are divided into two teams, Red
. Each team consists of one spymaster, with the remaining players as field operatives. All players observe a set of twenty-five words, representing codenames for agents aligned with each team. While field operatives do not observe the identities of each of the codenames, the spymasters each get to see the identity of all codenames.
There are four different agent identities: Red Agent
, Blue Agent
, and Assassin
. One of the teams will have nine of their-colored agents in the set of codenames, while the other team will have eight agents. The team with nine agents will take the starting turn in the game. Among the eight codenames not aligned with either team, there are seven Bystanders and one Assassin. Effects for contacting these agents are described in the following section.Turn Flow
On a team's turn, their spymaster must start by providing their field operatives with a clue for the identities for their own agents. A clue consists of a single word and a number. The word should be related to the codenames that are aligned with the acting spymaster's team, while the number represents how many codenames are related to the clue word. Further guidelines, including two special number rules, follow in the section below. Spymasters should announce their clue in the thread using their team's color and in bold text, e.g. CLUE - <word>: <number>
or CLUE - <word>: <number>
Once a clue has been given, the field operatives are free to discuss which codename(s) should be contacted. All team discussion must be done in-thread. When the field operatives have decided on a guess, they may register their guess by announcing it in their team's color and in bold text, e.g. CONTACT - <word>
or CONTACT - <word>
. The host or either spymaster will quote the declaration and report its identity in bold (Red Agent
, Blue Agent
), revealing the card.
If the revealed agent is of the same team as the operatives, then they may continue making guesses. A maximum number of guesses may be made equal to the number given in the spymaster's clue, plus one. Alternatively, the field operatives may declare a PASS
to end their turn, so long as they have made at least one guess already on their turn. If the revealed agent is not of the same team, then the turn ends. In the special case that the assassin was revealed, then the team that performed the reveal immediately loses the game.
To keep things moving at a good pace, team actions (spymaster clue, field operative guess) must be made within twenty-four hours (one day) of the previous action. An action consists of a single clue from the spymaster or a single guess from the operatives. If this time limit is exceeded, the opposing team has the option of starting their turn at their leisure.Spymaster Clue Guidelines
Spymaster clues consist of a single word and a number, with the following guidelines:
- Words must be related to the meaning of the codenames being clued.
- The number following the word cannot be used as a clue itself.
- All words must be within standard English usage.
- Clues may not include codenames or related forms of codenames. For compound codenames, this includes the constituent words that comprise the compound word. Once a codename has been guessed, it can be used in clues.
Overall, be reasonable about rules; spymasters may consult with their opposing spymaster and the host for the validity of a clue. If an invalid clue is provided, then the turn immediately ends and the opposing spymaster may declare an agent of their own color before making their own clue.
Spymasters have two special options for numbers associated with their clue words. First, spymasters may declare zero (0) as their clue, suggesting that none of the codenames are related to their declared word. In the case that zero is declared, the field operatives do not have a limit to the number of guesses that they may make before passing. The second special option is to declare "unlimited" as their clue, suggesting at least one codename is related to the declared word. As with zero, the number of guesses that may be made by field operatives before passing is unlimited.Game LinksGame 1Game 2Game 3Game 4Game 5Game 6Game 7Game 8Game 9Game 10Player Signup List
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