Codenames - Pictures

Codenames - Pictures

What are these strange looking symbols you might ask... They are locations codes for clandestine rendezvous, the spymaster is giving you coded messages, it’s up to you to decipher them and extract our agents.

We must be quick and contact all our agents before the rival organisation does, be clever with the clues as a mistake could lead to an encounter with an enemy agent or worse the assassin, compromising the entire operation!


Game Play

Codenames - Pictures is an espionage themed deduction party game, which pits two teams of field agents against each other in a battle of wits and lateral thinking!

Players take and thoroughly shuffle the 140 picture cards, laying out 20 of them in a 5 x 4 grid. Each team will elect a Spy Master for the round, elected players sit next to each other opposite their teams so the key card for the round is visible to them both..  and now the fun… I mean intrigue begins! 

Spy Masters take it in turns giving their team of field agents a clue which will lead them to their agents and away from enemy agents, innocent bystanders and the assassin.. hopefully… 

Clue format is structured as a single word descriptor and the number of cards the clue relates to, for example, Three Boat, or Two Animal.  One number, one word, that’s it!! No miming, no wiggling your eyebrows, no smiles or frowns keep that Spy Master face straight! 

Teams are allowed to discuss possible choices, but Spy Masters can have no further input… and believe me, this is the hardest part of the game, listening to your team discuss options for your clues that you had not even considered potentially leading your teams’ demise!

Once the field agents think they know the answers they indicate their guesses one at a time, if its correct you pop one of your team’s spy cards on the tile and continue... 

If your team guess wrong your turn ends, if its the oppositions agent then they are one step closer to winning, and if there was a big miscommunication which reveals the assassin... Well, that’s all she wrote, the game is over!

Assuming there are no stuff ups Spy Masters keep taking turns until one team has contacted/revealed all their agents securing all the intel and bragging rights!


Game Information

Codenames: Pictures can be played from as few as 2 people however we would recommend 4+ players to get a good feel for the game, more players make deciphering the clues easier.. Right?

We have found that rounds usually last about 15 - 20 min, though more players usually lead to more debate over the clues, and if the assassin is revealed the game ends a lot quicker. It is easy to get through a few rounds of Codenames in pretty short order.

While the recommended age for codenames is 10+ we think that it is a fantastic game for kids of 7+. You would need to cater the clues to the audience but this game is a fantastic opportunity to develop imagination, observation, collaboration, and deduction in kids. Genuinely a great game for the whole family.

Final Thoughts

Clues, guesses, face palms and hilarity pretty much sums up an evening of Codenames, we have played a ton of it and no two games are alike. With 140 double-sided picture cards, there are.. *math noises*.. a heap of combinations, not only that but every Spy Masters clues will be different which lends itself to loads of replayability.

It is a great game to play with people who may not have had much exposure to games, with family or even with a big lot of friends at a party. The number of times I have given a clue or been given one and thought to myself how the hell did you end up with that has led to some of the funniest moments I have had playing board games.

Will your team succeed in locating your agents first or will your lines get crossed and your team run afoul of the assassin!?

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