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Codenames» Forums » General

Subject: I'm fairly certain this isn't cheating . . . rss

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David Pontier
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I am fairly certain this is not cheating, but I wanted other people’s opinions.

My in-laws LOVE this game. The only problem is my wife comes from a big family so we rarely just have 4 people. So we are always playing with 2 teams of 3 with one clue giver and two guessers. The guessers always discuss their options out loud before their final guesses. This always leads them to discussing other cards on the table and debating if the clue given is valid. This discussion almost always gives the clue givers help in giving the next clues.

For example, if the clue giver gives a clue for 2 cards and we are debating between 4 of them, we will often say something like, “Well, if these two were the correct answer, he probably would have said something like BLANK.” Then on the next turn, if those 2 cards we didn’t choose belonged to the other team, that player can just say, “BLANK 2,” and his team will instantly know which two cards they are talking about.

A specific example I remember is my team was given the clue Whip 1. The clue giver wanted us to guess “Switch” but we didn’t see that as a potential whip right away. Instead we looked at Lion and Wind (I think). It turns out both of those were also ours, so after we guessed one and got it right, the clue giver the next time said “Whip 2.” The other team said he couldn’t do that, but there was no rule against it.

I don’t think any of the players intentionally try to assign alternate clues to each of the cards that the clue givers can use later, but when debating with your team mate on which chard you think is right, you often have to do this to discount other cards. This turns into an almost necessary table talk.

There are other times when someone will give a multiple clue and after guessing 1, the team debates hard on the second card but ultimately decides to pass, since they can always guess it later and they aren’t 100% sure. But most players assume that card belongs to that team, so the clue giver for the other team gives a clue that could imply that card, but the second team instantly rule it out since it probably belongs to the other team. Basically the second clue giver is using the table talk of the first team to let his team know that the card in question is not theirs.

Does anyone else experience this? In a 6+ player game, I don’t see any way around it. We don’t want to make a rule that the players can’t talk with each other. If they disagreed about which card to pick, there would be no way to decide.
 
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Ben Bateson
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This is fairly common and, short of making your Spymasters wear earplugs, there's not much you can do about it. The rules vaguely hint at the fact that the Spymaster is entitled to take advantage of information received from his team.

It's also quite a nice tool for teams that have one very strong cluer. If he can drop hints to a weak Spymaster, it saves lots of downtime. I like to chalk all this up to part of the game's excellent psychology.
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1 Lucky Texan
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yep - my wife is excellent at using 'call backs' to clue her team.

She will always listen for a possibility to use a discussion by the opposing team to help her.

 
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Sam Cook
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I'm not sure why a team would ever speculate out loud what would be good clues for word combinations. Sounds like their own fault if the other spymaster is taking advantage of this.

In practice this seems like it would be a rare occurrence since there is only a small chance that both those words are going to belong to the same team.
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Andrea R
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It's an interesting note actually. I admit the game for me shines from 6 player up precisely for this reason.
I love the discussion on the hints so much that usually we allow small "interferences" (discussing what the opponents clue could be trying to deviate the answers).

I somehow not only find this legal as I game rules, but I kind of imply to enjoy this part of the game
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Tilou
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Donkler wrote:
In practice this seems like it would be a rare occurrence since there is only a small chance that both those words are going to belong to the same team.


This.

It happened to me once. I can't see how this could happen on a regular basis.
 
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Adam Hostetler
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Piqsid wrote:
..The only problem is my wife comes from a big family so we rarely just have 4 people. So we are always playing with 2 teams of 3 with one clue giver and two guessers.


The problem? This game is pretty boring with less than 6. Also, I think the scenario you described is perfectly legal.
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Evil Jello
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Piqsid wrote:
In a 6+ player game, I don’t see any way around it. We don’t want to make a rule that the players can’t talk with each other. If they disagreed about which card to pick, there would be no way to decide.


The table talk is why Codenames is fun. Take that away and it's a boring game of tryhard strategy nerds. It's way less fun at 4 players precisely because most of the discussion is removed from the game.

As long as players aren't outright trying to game the system, like saying "give us the clue BLUE if it's word A and RED if it's word B" to the spymaster, I think you're fine.
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Evil Jello
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Donkler wrote:
I'm not sure why a team would ever speculate out loud what would be good clues for word combinations. Sounds like their own fault if the other spymaster is taking advantage of this.


Because that's what is most fun about Codenames? Especially when you think you know the answer for the other team's clue, but you speculate about other answers that might also fit, in an attempt to distract them and throw them off.

If you are playing Codenames silently staring at the board and contemplating the clues, and you aren't the spymaster, you're missing the point.
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Zachary Pickel

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Donkler wrote:
I'm not sure why a team would ever speculate out loud what would be good clues for word combinations. Sounds like their own fault if the other spymaster is taking advantage of this.

In practice this seems like it would be a rare occurrence since there is only a small chance that both those words are going to belong to the same team.


This.

We lost a game because speculating about possible meanings gave the opposing spymaster the clue needed to win.
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Dave Moser
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Piqsid wrote:
...my team was given the clue Whip 1. The clue giver wanted us to guess “Switch” but we didn’t see that as a potential whip right away.

I know saying this is going to make me that guy who can always do everything better, but I have to ask about this. "Whip 1" to get "Switch"? Really? I mean, I know what a switch is in that context, but what about "Exchange", or "Swap", or "Lever", or "Toggle"? I would've kept my mouth shut if you were talking about a bunch of new players, but it sounds like you're all experienced with this game.

(Maybe I'm just irked by weak "1" clues ever since we lost a game when our spymaster tried "Car 1" to get "Crash", instead of, oh, I don't know, "Collision 1"?, or "Accident 1"? Yes, I have a hard time letting go sometimes.)


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Sam Cook
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eviljelloman wrote:
Donkler wrote:
I'm not sure why a team would ever speculate out loud what would be good clues for word combinations. Sounds like their own fault if the other spymaster is taking advantage of this.


Because that's what is most fun about Codenames? Especially when you think you know the answer for the other team's clue, but you speculate about other answers that might also fit, in an attempt to distract them and throw them off.

If you are playing Codenames silently staring at the board and contemplating the clues, and you aren't the spymaster, you're missing the point.


I agree that discussion is a fun and important part of the game, but I was talking about a team discussing specific clue words a spymaster should/could use for random word combinations on the board. Just seems not fun to me since it seems very random as to what Spymaster it would benefit.
 
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Michael Logan
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I see it all the time. My rule is you can discuss all you want if the goal is to decide what to pick. If the goal is to help the clue giver with later clues, it is bad form. So basically we just all play where you can discuss but the intent shouldn't be to help the clue giver.

That being said, there is one guy in our group who likes to speak out loud even in 2 vs 2 games because he feels the information of the thought process of the guessers is part of the game and he wants that information out there. I personally don't like playing like that.

So our new rule is to play with an aggressive timer. If you want to spend time talking about the clues that could have been given and things along those lines, it eats into your time. Hopefully this ends up a happy middle ground.
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Locutus Zero
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Donkler wrote:
I agree that discussion is a fun and important part of the game, but I was talking about a team discussing specific clue words a spymaster should/could use for random word combinations on the board. Just seems not fun to me since it seems very random as to what Spymaster it would benefit.
Say the clue is "Embassy 2", and my guessing partner thinks the words are "Iran" and "Russia". I would say to him "If those were the words, the spymaster would've said 'Countries'. Let's see what else would apply specifically to 'Embassy'.".
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A. Mandible
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Not cheating. Totally part of the game. And two randomly selected words have only at most about a 1/9 chance of belonging to the same team, usually decreasing as the game goes on, plus the opposing spymaster may have future plans that make them not want to clue those two together.

The thing where people give terrible 1 clues drives me crazy too. I understand why it happens-- they're trying to use the same kinds of elliptical thinking that leads to good clues for multiple words. But clues for a single card should be very rare and boringly literal.
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P. oeppel
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To me, you're playing Codenames 100% as intended....

Edit: whoops, never reply on an already opened tab without hitting refresh first... ninja
 
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Sam Cook
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LocutusZero wrote:
Donkler wrote:
I agree that discussion is a fun and important part of the game, but I was talking about a team discussing specific clue words a spymaster should/could use for random word combinations on the board. Just seems not fun to me since it seems very random as to what Spymaster it would benefit.
Say the clue is "Embassy 2", and my guessing partner thinks the words are "Iran" and "Russia". I would say to him "If those were the words, the spymaster would've said 'Countries'. Let's see what else would apply specifically to 'Embassy'.".


Well that's fair. I guess in the games I have played where people say things like that, it is a seemingly obvious association that a spymaster would likely be able to come up with on their own. Since it's Codenames though, "Obvious" has a very different meaning
 
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Peter Hazlewood
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If you think this is a problem don't offer suggestions for words to link clues. Instead you should be discussing the most likely words related to the clue you've just been given.
 
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Andy Kerrison
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If your spymaster is giving clues of 'Whip 1' for switch whilst 'Lion' is on the board, you need all the advantages you can get...
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Moose Detective
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It hasn't been an issue in my games, but I think we've had an unspoken agreement that if you say " X would be a perfect clue for those words" that X becomes a cheap if not illegal clue.

Because...that's cheap. If I was ever in that position I would never use X as a clue, and if someone else did it I would just "Really?" at them.
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David Pontier
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dmoser22 wrote:
Piqsid wrote:
...my team was given the clue Whip 1. The clue giver wanted us to guess “Switch” but we didn’t see that as a potential whip right away.

I know saying this is going to make me that guy who can always do everything better, but I have to ask about this. "Whip 1" to get "Switch"? Really? I mean, I know what a switch is in that context, but what about "Exchange", or "Swap", or "Lever", or "Toggle"? I would've kept my mouth shut if you were talking about a bunch of new players, but it sounds like you're all experienced with this game.

(Maybe I'm just irked by weak "1" clues ever since we lost a game when our spymaster tried "Car 1" to get "Crash", instead of, oh, I don't know, "Collision 1"?, or "Accident 1"? Yes, I have a hard time letting go sometimes.)


Forget about your other ideas. He should have said Whip 3. Which is the point of my bringing it up.
 
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Dave Moser
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Piqsid wrote:
dmoser22 wrote:
Piqsid wrote:
...my team was given the clue Whip 1. The clue giver wanted us to guess “Switch” but we didn’t see that as a potential whip right away.

I know saying this is going to make me that guy who can always do everything better, but I have to ask about this. "Whip 1" to get "Switch"? Really? I mean, I know what a switch is in that context, but what about "Exchange", or "Swap", or "Lever", or "Toggle"? I would've kept my mouth shut if you were talking about a bunch of new players, but it sounds like you're all experienced with this game.

(Maybe I'm just irked by weak "1" clues ever since we lost a game when our spymaster tried "Car 1" to get "Crash", instead of, oh, I don't know, "Collision 1"?, or "Accident 1"? Yes, I have a hard time letting go sometimes.)


Forget about your other ideas. He should have said Whip 3. Which is the point of my bringing it up.

You're right, of course. Evidently my brain started twitching after the "Whip 1" part and the irritation kept me from making any sense of the rest of it.
 
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