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Subject: Oxymoron: 2 (A review from a 2 player perspective) rss

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John Hansel
United States
Spencer
IA
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Introduction:
Whether my wife wants to admit it or not, she is a gamer. She has fallen in love with Patchwork, Cacao, and Lost Cities just to name a few. She is finally beginning to trust me when I say she'll like a game. I've nailed down her tastes pretty well.

So here it goes, pitching a new game. I feel pretty confident about what she'll like, but pitching a new game is still nerve-wracking. I knew I would love Codenames from the walkthroughs, the rule book, and the reviews, and I thought she might too.

I start by saying, "This is a brain burning party game." She stops me before I can begin another sentence.

She shoots me a glare and replies, "Isn't that an oxymoron?"

"What?"

"Brain burning party game. Aren't party games supposed to be light, fluffy, and fun. Who wants to go to a party with a bunch of stuck up intellectuals? Doesn't sound like my type of party," she says cooly.

Okay so not off to a great start. She gives me the go ahead and I quickly explain the rules. Good thing this game is easy to explain or I don't think we would have got it played.

Rules:

Codenames plays with 2-8+ players. Cards with words are set up in a 5 x 5 array. Two spymasters are elected to give clues about the words. The spymasters share a code that tells them where their words are (red or blue) in the array. They give clues trying to get their team to guess their color words before the other team does.

I'll stop there with the details because this game has been covered a ton. That brief explanation gives you the gist of the game.

2 Players:

My wife says that she wants to be the spymaster that first game. I tell her sounds great. We were listening to a podcast and enjoying some wine so I was way okay with her taking a lot of time to think of clues. She didn't seem to be enjoying it but when the game was over, she wanted to play again which we did.

We preceded to play 5 more games that first night. I was the spymaster for three and then her for two more.

As a 2 player game this feels a lot like Hanabi because you are pretty much on your own when you decide to pick a word. There is that same level of tension when you make each gut wrenching decision.

I gave my wife the clue musical instead of music in one of the early games. I said musical:three because I wanted her to choose cast, tap, and note. My original idea was to say music:2 but cast would not have fit in that clue. She ended up getting all three and at that moment she had decided to love the game.

When playing with 2 you are racing against a dummy opponent. The spymaster takes a card from the opponent and covers up one of their words each turn. You get a score based on how many cards the opponent/dummy player has left and are awarded a verbal score a la Hanabi.

We love this as a 2 player game. Since that first night we have played over 10 times. I would imagine this would be much different with a group. It would add a whole new dynamic and I would think laughs as well. When playing with more it becomes a social experience.

Hopefully one of these days I can break it out with a group. Until then, I'll be enjoying this oxymoronic game with my wife.
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James Derbyshire
United Kingdom
Norton Mandeville
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Thanks. I just ordered on the back of your review.
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John Henry
United Kingdom
Wellington
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Loophus wrote:

"Brain burning party game. Aren't party games supposed to be light, fluffy, and fun. Who wants to go to a party with a bunch of stuck up intellectuals? Doesn't sound like my type of party," she says cooly.


Sounds like you need Bunny Bunny Moose Moose laugh


I don't think I could ever play a word intensive game with a podcast on in the background, it would confuse my language centres too much surprise
 
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Patuxent River
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Played this the first time a couple of days ago with 6 players and was wondering how it played with 2. Thanks for posting this review. I think this will be added to my short list to buy.
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Mark Jackson
United States
Greensboro
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What is the sound of one card shuffling?
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The 2p game a lot of fun, but I do think 3 is better for coop. That way you have someone to bounce ideas off of while picking words. You can inject some of the laughs from a multiplayer game into the 2p game if the guesser talks through their reasoning as theyre picking words.
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Charlotte Malone
United States
Floyds Knobs
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I love this game, but had zero interest in trying it with 2 or 3 players. I think you've convinced me otherwise. Thanks for the review!
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Mr Deltaz
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That is good to hear.
Been interested on playing it 2 player with my wife (she hasn't tried the 4+ player version yet) and I was worried it might drive her away from the game if it wasn't good.
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Mr Deltaz
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Just played these with the wife and it was great. It loses the fun discussions between the players but nonetheless is fun, I suggest to go thorough your thought process out loud for enjoyment of the spymaster .

Thanks once again, if it wasn't for these review I wouldn't have given it a shot so soon!
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lori k
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Thanks so much! Just read online about this game tonight and I came here to see the info. I was already convinced to buy it for game night with friends, great to know it actually works for two. I'm always looking for cooperative games to play with my husband and this seems like it would be in that category or close to it.
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