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Subject: This game was a mess and never being played again rss

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Aaron Velox
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So because this game seems to be getting praised everywhere and won GOTY honors, and since I saw it for cheap at $14, I decided to get it to try out and bring to my gaming group to see what all the fuss was about...

This game is never being played again.

Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored. We just saw it as another standard word game, out of the hundreds that already exist.

And the rules... Oh my God, the rules. This game was just meant for house rules. Because some of us kept screwing up on what we were and weren't allowed to say, we just threw that rule out the window and played out how we saw fit because otherwise the little fun left wouldn't be there. But by that point, we were forcing ourselves just to get through the session anyway. Instead of playing another round, we just boxed it up and played Sushi Go instead.

Though I try to be more open about games to give another chance, I just couldn't with this one, and one of the members of my group publicly said he dislikes this game and wouldn't want to play it again; that already limits the players I can play with--if I wanted to.

I guess it's obvious I disagree with this game winning Game of the Year; I can't possibly see how that's the case. Codenames was a bomb for us and I already gave my copy to my little sister. Hopefully she'll get more joy out of it with her friends.
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Derek Thompson
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StarryAqua wrote:
So because this game seems to be getting praised everywhere and won GOTY honors, and since I saw it for cheap at $14, I decided to get it to try out and bring to my gaming group to see what all the fuss was about...

This game is never being played again.

Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored. We just saw it as another standard word game, out of the hundreds that already exist.

And the rules... Oh my God, the rules. This game was just meant for house rules. Because some of us kept screwing up on what we were and weren't allowed to say, we just threw that rule out the window and played out how we saw fit because otherwise the little fun left wouldn't be there. But by that point, we were forcing ourselves just to get through the session anyway. Instead of playing another round, we just boxed it up and played Sushi Go instead.

Though I try to be more open about games to give another chance, I just couldn't with this one, and one of the members of my group publicly said he dislikes this game and wouldn't want to play it again; that already limits the players I can play with--if I wanted to.

I guess it's obvious I disagree with this game winning Game of the Year; I can't possibly see how that's the case. Codenames was a bomb for us and I already gave my copy to my little sister. Hopefully she'll get more joy out of it with her friends.


That's too bad. One of my all time favorites.

If you get the chance, try the pictures version. Much looser rules on what you can say, with no words in the table. Might be more interesting.
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Mark Nicosia
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Perhaps you are playing something incorrectly? Have you watched any play-through videos? I only suspect this, because I can't imagine hitting the assassin, on the very first clue give, in 2 out of your 4 games.

I've played this game dozens of times (actually, probably pretty close to saying hundreds by now) and I think I've seen a game end by picking the assassin maybe twice. Maybe... I only remember once for sure.

It's not very hard for the clue givers to just look at which word is the assassin, and every turn just make sure the word you are going to say doesn't have anything to do with that word. It should be the first and last thing you think/check whenever it is your turn to give a clue.

But, not liking it is okay... maybe you're just not a word + party game group. At least you only blew 14 bucks... pretty cheap lesson. Best 14 bucks I've ever spent though.

Game on.
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David B
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If you picked the assassin twice in under 40 seconds, that is not the game's fault. And the rules about what you are and are not allowed to say are not hard. Clues can not be contained in any of the words and clues must be one word unless it is two words that are naturally together, like New Jersey.
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Jeff Plank
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StarryAqua wrote:
Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored.


Sounds like you guys weren't really putting enough thought into the clues you were giving out.
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Grant
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It's too bad you didn't like it, but hey, it's not going to be for everyone.

What's odd is your implication, particularly given the fact that you know how widely loved it is, that the game is somehow at fault for its failure with your group. Isn't it pretty obvious that it's just your groups particular chemistry that didn't align with the what the game had to offer?
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Aaron Velox
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aldaryn wrote:
If you get the chance, try the pictures version. Much looser rules on what you can say, with no words in the table. Might be more interesting.


I probably wouldn't mind trying out the pictures version. However, I won't be the one who buys it.

zenpunk wrote:
But, not liking it is okay... maybe you're just not a word + party game group. At least you only blew 14 bucks... pretty cheap lesson. Best 14 bucks I've ever spent though.


We enjoy party games, but we are definitely more of a thematic/RPG group. We're completely devouring Mansions of Madness, at the moment.
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This makes sense based on my calculations:

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Aaron Velox
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grant5 wrote:
It's too bad you didn't like it, but hey, it's not going to be for everyone.

What's odd is your implication, particularly given the fact that you know how widely loved it is, that the game is somehow at fault for its failure with your group. Isn't it pretty obvious that it's just your groups particular chemistry that didn't align with the what the game had to offer?


I don't believe a game can be at fault for anything. If every single person who played a game has the very same point to make, then maybe something more would be judged. But overall, this was just about a lot of dislikes. We disliked the rules, we disliked how it played. But the game is still what it is. We can't fault it for that.
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Mr Mason
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jplank wrote:
StarryAqua wrote:
Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored.


Sounds like you guys weren't really putting enough though into the clues you were giving out.


Agree -- how does this happen? You didn't give specifics, and this sounds like groupthink to me.
 
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Mr Mason
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Also, the basic rules are "clue to the meaning of the word(s), not the word's presentation", "use the word for clues, and the number for how many", and "no using parts of a card's word until it's covered up"

If you decide to do multiple word proper nouns, that's fine too (though it would be easy to just say always one word no matter what).
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Mike Beiter
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If you hit the assassin that quickly, I would have to blame the spy master. They must not have been paying attention to the board.
You want to avoid giving clues that even remotely draw peoples attention to the assassin.
Or the guessers just did not synch up with them and completely misinterpreted a perfectly sensible clue.

Do you recall what the assassin was and what the given clues were in those record short games?
That will probably shed some light on it.
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Nathaniel Chambers
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If you think these rules are hard.. How are playing any ffg game?

I think you did something very very very wrong. Picking the assassin twice right of the bat seems impossible if you are playing right. I've only had someone pick the assassin right off the bat once and it's because the spy failed to look at all the cards on the board. And it didn't happen again that night because people figured out that you have to keep the assassin in mind but quick.

It sounds to me like your group doesn't like thinking. If you just want to goof off and have fun without thinking, then this game is not for you. Everyone has a different idea of fun. This is a puzzle party game and I don't think I've taught it to any one or group who didn't have a ton of fun though, so I can honestly say I'm surprised.
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Grant
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StarryAqua wrote:
grant5 wrote:
It's too bad you didn't like it, but hey, it's not going to be for everyone.

What's odd is your implication, particularly given the fact that you know how widely loved it is, that the game is somehow at fault for its failure with your group. Isn't it pretty obvious that it's just your groups particular chemistry that didn't align with the what the game had to offer?


I don't believe a game can be at fault for anything. If every single person who played a game has the very same point to make, then maybe something more would be judged. But overall, this was just about a lot of dislikes. We disliked the rules, we disliked how it played. But the game is still what it is. We can't fault it for that.

I suppose it was your comment that it didn't deserve awards, or you couldn't see how it could win awards or whatever. There are plenty of popular games I can't stand, like Ticket to Ride and Splendor, but I can certainly see why so many people like them and why they win awards.
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Aaron Velox
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contiguity wrote:
jplank wrote:
StarryAqua wrote:
Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored.


Sounds like you guys weren't really putting enough though into the clues you were giving out.


Agree -- how does this happen? You didn't give specifics, and this sounds like groupthink to me.


The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.

It's not that we weren't putting enough thought into it--it's that there were ideas we never would have thought of. I'm not saying it's the game's fault because I know it isn't, but this didn't help.
 
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StarryAqua wrote:

The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.


That's a great summary of the game, that's really the whole game; trying to minimize those crossovers, missing some, pressing your luck on others.
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Mike Beiter
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StarryAqua wrote:
contiguity wrote:
jplank wrote:
StarryAqua wrote:
Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored.


Sounds like you guys weren't really putting enough though into the clues you were giving out.


Agree -- how does this happen? You didn't give specifics, and this sounds like groupthink to me.


The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.

It's not that we weren't putting enough thought into it--it's that there were ideas we never would have thought of. I'm not saying it's the game's fault because I know it isn't, but this didn't help.


So to clarify, was Doctor the only word you were trying to get them to guess???
That is not a strong strategy. 1 word clues are usually given when there is only one word left and it is for the win.
You rarely will want to give only a 1 word clue. You want to get 2 or 3 each turn to get in the spirit of the game.

But I feel Star is way more the logical pick for Death as a clue as most people know Starwars.
However if your teammates knew you didn't know Starwars, then they should have avoided that answer.

Part of the strategy in the game is getting into the heads of your team mates.
You have to think, "If my clue master says ____, what word sounds more likely?"
Like if you were just trying to get me to say Doctor, Physician, medical, pediatritian etc are all better clues than Death. Especially in a room of star wars fans.

But it was your first time playing so mistakes happen.

It really sounds like your group was just not in the right mindset to play Codenames.
I think if you played again with some experienced spy masters, they would make for a better experience.

But if conceptually this game is not your cup if tea, then I say, don't waste your time.
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Andy Burgess
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StarryAqua wrote:
contiguity wrote:
jplank wrote:
StarryAqua wrote:
Not only did 2 of the 4 games we played end in under 40 seconds because of the damn assassin being picked, but we were just flat-out bored.


Sounds like you guys weren't really putting enough though into the clues you were giving out.


Agree -- how does this happen? You didn't give specifics, and this sounds like groupthink to me.


The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.

It's not that we weren't putting enough thought into it--it's that there were ideas we never would have thought of. I'm not saying it's the game's fault because I know it isn't, but this didn't help.


Death -> Star is unfortunate.

Batman -> Hook is inexplicable, especially when Penguin is on the table.

I wonder if your group caught on to the idea that you've got to prioritise the most likely connections, and that you can take your time, rather than just going for anything remotely connected? Also, were you giving clues that connected to more than one word? Because one word clues should be pretty strongly related to only one word on the table.

One more thought I had - do you know each other really well, or is this a group that gets together for games only? The reason I ask is because of the Death/Star connection. It's totally understandable that someone who knows Star Wars would make that connection, but the team should also be asking themselves whether it's likely that their Spymaster would make the same connection, and this obviously works best the better you all know each other.
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Aaron Velox
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MajaiofDreams wrote:
So to clarify, was Doctor the only word you were trying to get them to guess???
That is not a strong strategy. 1 word clues are usually given when there is only one word left and it is for the win.
You rarely will want to give only a 1 word clue. You want to get 2 or 3 each turn to get in the spirit of the game.

Part of the strategy in the game is getting into the heads of your team mates.
You have to think, "If my clue master says ____, what word sounds more likely?"
Like if you were just trying to get me to say Doctor, Physician, medical, pediatritian etc are all better clues than Death. Especially in a room of star wars fans.

But it was your first time playing so mistakes happen.

It really sounds like your group was just not in the right mindset to play Codenames.
I think if you played again with some experienced spy masters, they would make for a better experience.

But if conceptually this game is not your cup if tea, then I say, don't waste your time.


For Death, I was also trying to get them to pick "Roulette" based on Russian Roulette.

I didn't bother thinking if this would be our cup of tea or not because we also enjoy party games. Our very first game ended in 40 seconds. Perhaps that may have affected how we felt from the start? I'm not too sure because we were still rather bored upon playing it. We really didn't like this game and have no intention of playing it again--I can't anyway since I gave it to my sister. But someone mentioned the Pictures version. Perhaps that one would fair better?
 
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Aaron Velox
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MercifulBiscuit wrote:
One more thought I had - do you know each other really well, or is this a group that gets together for games only? The reason I ask is because of the Death/Star connection. It's totally understandable that someone who knows Star Wars would make that connection, but the team should also be asking themselves whether it's likely that their Spymaster would make the same connection, and this obviously works best the better you all know each other.


One of them is my best friend. The other two I would consider pals more than friends; my friend introduced me to them. This is my only gaming group that is into board games; my other friends much prefer video games. Also, I didn't really even get back into board gaming until about two years ago, when my friend introduced me to Dominion and I fell in love again. Me and him share a lot of interests, but with the other two pals, it's mostly board games.
 
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Mr Mason
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If you come from different backgrounds, then these sort of hinting games don't work as well. This is also the case for Dixit (and Hanabi to some extent). In this case, I don't see you having more fun with the pictures version.

However it's alright if you don't enjoy putting words together. Many of us personally dislike at least one game that's otherwise popular.
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Jeffrey Bailey
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I'm going to say I didn't enjoy this game either. For all the praise it got, maybe I was expecting something more? When I played it a few months ago, it was an O.K. game. The clue giving was interesting, trying to think of what I was supposed to look for was "eh". It just didn't grab me the way it seems to grab a lot of other people.

Have no problem with games like Mysterium or Dixit. I like word games where you have to think of stuff on the fly like Scattegories, Punch Line, etc.

So I gave it a fair shake, played by the rules, wanted to like it before playing, didn't care for it. I guess I must of played it wrong too.

Again, not every game is everyone's cup of tea. Like the OP, this one wasn't mine or my wife's. (yes we did play in a group, some of those had played before and enjoyed it).
 
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James C
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Agree, this game sucks.

(Not really, try playing with your sister and parents or some other family. Could be fun.)
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Adam Hostetler
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StarryAqua wrote:


The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.

It's not that we weren't putting enough thought into it--it's that there were ideas we never would have thought of. I'm not saying it's the game's fault because I know it isn't, but this didn't help.


Just reading this makes me want to go play it now! How is that not fun?! To each their own, but the charm of this game (for me) is the little quirks like this and the razing and trash talk that happen because of them.
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Chris
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slydog75 wrote:
StarryAqua wrote:


The assassin was on the word "Star". I was trying to get them to pick "Doctor" so I said Death. The very first pick was "Star" because they were thinking the Death Star from Star Wars. I don't watch Star Wars so I didn't even think of that. The second time, the assassin was on "Hook". One player said Batman because "Penguin" was on the board. First choice the other player picked was "Hook" because it's apparently a weapon of Batman's.

It's not that we weren't putting enough thought into it--it's that there were ideas we never would have thought of. I'm not saying it's the game's fault because I know it isn't, but this didn't help.


Just reading this makes me want to go play it now! How is that not fun?! To each their own, but the charm of this game (for me) is the little quirks like this and the razing and trash talk that happen because of them.


Absolutely...



Star... Death...!

"Oh no! I didn't even see Star!!!! What an idiot! Sorry guys, you all get a free arm punch. don't worry, I heal quickly"



Batman.... Hook..!

"Whaaaaa!!!!??? Dave you prat! What on earth were you??!?!! Right, Next game, you have Dave, we'll have this jar of dried pasta instead."


If you think these are flaws in the game and not the players... blimey.
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