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Codenames» Forums » Variants

Subject: Alternative 3 Player Variant - Defecting Double Agents rss

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Tragic TheBlathering
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This is a 3 player variant I have been enjoying with some friends recently and I thought I would post it for others. If there is sufficient interest I'll make a nice rule sheet for it and upload it to the File Section.

I'm not a great rules writer, I hope this is clear the variant is only a tiny modification, but after I typed it all out it looks way more complex than it is! lol.. let me know if it makes sense.

Codenames : Defecting Double Agents


The Theme

The theme of this variant is that the Government's Black Book has been stolen. In it are the details, but not the names of all their double agents working abroad.

Two fresh Operatives, not listed in the Black Book are sent into the field to extract all the double agents before they are assassinated. Each is sent to a different Country and await the coded signals from the spy master which identify the friendlies needing extraction.

Thematically both Red and Blue cards are Double Agents, but choosing the wrong colour thematically means that during extraction the Double Agent was killed.

The scoring is thematically a representation of the secrecy level during the mission of the entire operation. So I high score means the extraction made a lot of noise and was noticed, with tanks driving down the main street of Russia and rocket launchers being used, while a low score is a subtle stealthy mission that went down without anyone being the wiser.

Goals of the Variant

This variant is designed simply to have two Operatives and one Spy Master each round, rather then 2 Spy Masters and One Operative as described in the official 3 player variant. It also puts all players in direct competition with each other.

Rules

Setup

• Set up as normal. With two Operatives and One Spy Master
• You will need a score pad for this variant, Split into 3 rows (each player) and 2 Columns (Score and Medals).
• Each operative is randomly assigned a colour, RED or BLUE.
• Place a RED or BLUE die in front of the player if needed.

Rule Modifications to Original Game

• When the Spy Master reveals a card that which is the correct colour of the Operative
• The Operative removes the codeword form the board.
• The Operative takes the correct coloured card and places it in front of him.

• When the Spy Master reveals a card which is the incorrect colour of the Operative
• The Operative removes the codeword form the board.
• The Operative coloured card is removed from the game.

• When the Spy Master reveals the Assassin.
• The Operative removes the codeword form the board
• The Operative takes the Assassin card and places it in front of him.
• The turn ends immediately.

• When the Spy Master reveals an innocent bystander.
• The Operative removes the codeword form the board
• The innocent bystander is then removed from the game.
• The turn ends immediately.

• Once 8 or more cards of a single colour are collected and/or discarded the round ends and move to scoring.

Scoring
• If an Operative has the Assassin card, discard it and as well as one other card.
• Each Operative counts their total number of collected cards.
• The Operative with the most cards gains a Medal

• The Spy Master looks at the two piles of coloured cards collected by the operatives.
• Then counts them and subtracts the smaller number from the larger number.
• The value arrived at is assigned as the Spy Masters score.
• If an Operative has the Assassin, add 2 to the score.

• If the colour of "The Key" matches the Operative with the most cards, the Spy Master Gains a Medal.

Scoring Example

• The LOWEST score wins!

Score: Example Turn #1
• No one Has the Assassin
• RED score = 4
• BLUE score = 6
• "The Key" is BLUE.

Blue is "The Key" and Blue has the most cards, so The Spymaster gains a Medal.
Blue has the most cards, so Blue gains a Medal.
6-4 = 2, So the Spy Master Scores 2 Points.
╔════════════════════════╦═══════╦════════╗
║ Players ║ Score ║ Medals ║
╟────────────────────────╫───────╫────────║
║ Jack (RED) ║ 0 ║ 0 ║
║ Jill (BLUE) ║ 0 ║ 1 ║
║ Charlotte (Spy Master) ║ 2 ║ 1 ║
╚════════════════════════╩═══════╩════════╝


Score: Example Turn #2
• RED score = 6
• RED has the Assassin
• BLUE score = 4
• "The Key" is RED.

Red has the assassin so discards it and a 2nd card. Leaving him with 4 (6-2).
Red is the Key, and Red dose not have more cards than blue, so no Medal awarded to the Spy Master
Neither Operative has more cards than the other, so no Medal is awarded to either Operative.
and 4-4 = 0, so the Spy Master Scores 0 Points.
BUT the Assassin struck, so add +2 to the Spy Masters Score.
Vales are added to the score.
╔════════════════════════╦═══════╦════════╗
║ Players ║ Score ║ Medals ║
╟────────────────────────╫───────╫────────║
║ Jack (Spy Master) ║ 2 ║ 0 ║
║ Jill (RED) ║ 0 ║ 1 ║
║ Charlotte (BLUE) ║ 2 ║ 1 ║
╚════════════════════════╩═══════╩════════╝


Score: Example Turn #3
• No one Has the Assassin
• RED score = 7
• BLUE score = 5
• "The Key" is BLUE.

BLUE is the Key, and the RED Operative is higher, so no Medal awarded to the Spy Master
RED has the most cards, so RED gains a medal.
7-5 = 3, so The Spy Master scores 3 points.
Vales are added to the score.
╔════════════════════════╦═══════╦════════╗
║ Players ║ Score ║ Medals ║
╟────────────────────────╫───────╫────────║
║ Jack (BLUE) ║ 2 ║ 0 ║
║ Jill (Spy Master) ║ 0+3 ║ 1 ║
║ Charlotte (RED) ║ 2 ║ 1+2(2) ║
╚════════════════════════╩═══════╩════════╝


Score: Example Results
• A round is 1 player playing the Spy Master once
• After you finish as many rounds as you like look at the scores
• Each player subtracts their score by their medal count.
• Score can not go negative, it stops at 0.
• The player with the lowest number wins.
• In a draw, player with the most medals wins.

Charlotte Wins the Game after one round.
╔═══════════╦═══════╦════════╦═════════════╗
║ Players ║ Score ║ Medals ║ Final Score ║
╟───────────╫───────╫────────╫─────────────║
║ Jack ║ 2 ║ 0 ║ (2-0) = 2 ║
║ Jill ║ 3 ║ 1 ║ (3-1) = 2 ║
║ Charlotte ║ 2 ║ 2 ║ (2-2) = 0 ║
╚═══════════╩═══════╩════════╩═════════════╝


Thoughts

So that is the variant. It is a lot less complex than it looks, I dunno if I just suck at writing things out, but it is really simple.

The draw back of the variant is that it is more complex as it uses a scoring system and a pad and one of the great appeals to this game is that it is so simple. Even so it really seams to flow pretty well and it doesn't seam to be that complex, even though I suck at explaining things.

Thanks for reading.. let me know what you think... I hope I made it make sense! rofl!
 
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P. oeppel
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Why wouldn't the spy master simply favour one of the players, maximizing their difference and thus score maximum points? (of course he favours the player with the colour of the key card and make sure the other player hits the assassin)


Am I missing something?
 
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Tragic TheBlathering
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I get what your saying, and I'll address your points below.. but it should be noted this is a "fun" variant. We are not exactly "Min/Max Players". The entire point and "fun" of this game is to get people to correctly guess your clues... so we haven't ever run into the problem of people deliberately tanking clues.

Possible Modifications

• There is basically a "spare" component with the "Innocent Bystander" card. I could use this in some way to effect this? Maybe if you have IB card you can challenge the failed clue, and ask for the explanation.. if not valid AND you haven't picked something they need to provide a new clue.

• Maybe the Spy Master medal should be given only if the two Operatives are equal in rescued spies and the Operative gets the point for having the most cards only if it is the colour on "The Key"?


pinoeppel wrote:
Why wouldn't the spy master simply favour one of the players, maximizing their difference and thus score maximum points?
Well, it is "lowest" points wins, not highest. So if the two Operatives have a large difference between them, it negatively affects the Spy Master.

The goal is for the Spy Master to get one operative 1 point higher than they other. So they gain 1 point and 1 medal. It is usually Medals that determine the winner, btw.

pinoeppel wrote:
of course he favours the player with the colour of the key card and make sure the other player hits the assassin)
The Assassin adds points to the Spy Master, so it negatively affects him. 2 Points seems to be a bad thing, but testing may mean this penalty needs to be increased.
 
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P. oeppel
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Ok, missed the "lowest score wins" hidden in the example.
 
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Tragic TheBlathering
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pinoeppel wrote:
Ok, missed the "lowest score wins" hidden in the example.
yeah sorry.. i am not a great writer!
 
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Tragic TheBlathering
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Added to "The Theme" explanation section at the top

The scoring is thematically a representation of the secrecy level during the mission of the entire operation. So I high score means the extraction made a lot of noise and was noticed, with tanks driving down the main street of Russia and rocket launchers being used, while a low score is a subtle stealthy mission that went down without anyone being the wiser.

Added to the top of the "Scoring" section

• The LOWEST score wins
 
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