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Subject: players "cheating" by giving suggestions? rss

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Jaru Rainn
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Hi all,

An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.

Now, most of the time, these suggestions are useless, since the agents are guessing random combination of words. But every once in a while they get a grouping that will help their codemaster and their codemaster would use it, which would instantly score them some words.

I've looked through the rules and I don't think anything is against this. Therefore, I don't think its strictly cheating, but I wanted to get people's opinion on this. Is this something I should house rule out or is this a valid strategy?
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P. oeppel
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pomander wrote:
But every once in a while they get a grouping that will help their codemaster and their codemaster would use it, which would instantly score them some words.


The random grouping might as well hit a set of words of the opposing team, helping the OTHER spy master. So what did you gain?
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Ben Kyo
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Is it fun?

I don't think so, so I'd rule it out.

It *might* seem necessary to some people, if their spymaster is being really slow. Is it fun for the spymaster? Are they relieved that the pressure is being taken off them? If not, rule it out.

It is also obviously breaking the concept of limited communication between spymaster and team, and completely eliminating any debate about what the spymaster meant by their clue. I'd be surprised if anyone thought it improved the game.
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No rule against it, I wouldn't rule it out. It gives people something to do by randomly grouping words and adds to table talk. The game isn't meant to be something super serious, and this is hardly cheating since it doesn't specifically help your team.
 
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Mark L
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There's no actual rule against it, so I think it should definitely be up to the group to decide if they'll allow it.

Personally, I think it goes against the spirit of the game. Yes, it may help the opposing team as much as your own. But if you already have an idea what one of your words may be (because you guessed wrong earlier but now think you know what you should have guessed) you could use that to your advantage by looking for connections between that word and others on the table!

So my vote would be to disallow it.
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Chris
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As the guessing players have no idea which worlds belong to which team, it doesn't really give the spy master any advantage. In fact, it may often hurt the spy master as it can destroy their train of thought.

That said, the only time I have really seen this coming up is when playing Codenames with a larger group. While 4 people will sit very patiently, 10+ people seem to resort to finger tapping much more quickly.

Allowing the guessers to discuss the words amongst themselves, essentially removes the downtime, keeps the pace and party vibe of the game going and importantly allows the spymaster some breathing room to think of his/her next clue (those 4+ word clues take some brain power!).

The only time I would suggest you put a stop to it, is if they are talking to the Spymaster directly and clearly distracting him/her, but the Spymaster is too polite to tell them to shut the hell up.
 
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Ben Kyo
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I'm surprised by the comments about this potentially helping both teams equally. It's all about timing. Since the spymasters can only ever say "clue:number", the only time they can immediately pounce on and benefit from such table-talk is immediately after a clue and matching cards are suggested. The immediacy of the spymaster response informs the team that the spymaster is using exactly what they said in the way they meant it to be used.

Of course, the team might chance on something useful to the other spymaster during their table-talk. But unless the other spymaster can capitalise on the idea that "this is now the way we are playing", by giving an immediate "clue:number" without hesitation once the previous team is done with their turn, there is room for doubt that the "clue:number" given by the other spymaster is intended to be an exact match for something mentioned however many minutes earlier amongst a bunch of other table-talk.

It's all about timing, when other verbal/physical cues are ruled out.

On the other hand, as some people have said, it's a light game, played for laughs. None of this really matters unless you think it makes the game less fun, as I do.
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mfl134
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pomander wrote:
Hi all,

An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.

Now, most of the time, these suggestions are useless, since the agents are guessing random combination of words. But every once in a while they get a grouping that will help their codemaster and their codemaster would use it, which would instantly score them some words.

I've looked through the rules and I don't think anything is against this. Therefore, I don't think its strictly cheating, but I wanted to get people's opinion on this. Is this something I should house rule out or is this a valid strategy?


It is really against the spirit of the game.

Also it will make the game a waste of time, IMO.
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mfl134
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xipuloxx wrote:
There's no actual rule against it, so I think it should definitely be up to the group to decide if they'll allow it.


Rules of games tell you want you CAN do. if you aren't told you can do it, you can't do it.




Correction:

This is more generally true though I still believe my previous statement should be correct:

"Rules of games tell you want you CAN do. You can't assume you can do things just because the rules don't forgive it."
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Mark L
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mfl134 wrote:
xipuloxx wrote:
There's no actual rule against it, so I think it should definitely be up to the group to decide if they'll allow it.


Rules of games tell you want you CAN do. if you aren't told you can do it, you can't do it.

First, Codenames has unusually flexible rules, which explicitly tell you not to be too strict; if in doubt, ask the opposing spymaster (or in this case, I'd say ask all the players and try to get a consensus).


Second, and somewhat off-topic, I see this sort of argument a lot on BGG, and it's not really accurate.

Games don't generally tell you what the players can talk about, or whether they can take bathroom breaks, or stop for lunch. OK, those last two aren't really about the game (unless it has a time limit), but talking can be. Obviously in this case, it is!

The writers of rules are human like the rest of us. They will not necessarily cover every possibility: maybe they didn't think of it, maybe they assumed people would know what they meant, maybe they just don't want the rulebook to be 50 pages long. Just because the rules don't explicitly allow something, it doesn't mean they intended to disallow it.

For example, many games don't tell you to reshuffle the discards when a deck runs out. But of course, unless they actually tell you not to, the intention is usually that you should (this came up recently in the forums for Fury of Dracula, but I've seen it elsewhere too).

For another example, the rules of Catan tell you all trades must involve the active player. They don't mention the possibility of discussing future trades with other players, so some people have assumed it's not allowed (it doesn't say you can, therefore you can't). But when this was asked about, the official answer was yes, of course, you can discuss whatever you like!
 
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Chris
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Seems to me it's perfectly legal and totally boring. Just leads to a less interesting game I'd have thought, so it should rule itself out naturally I'd have thought.
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Jeffrey
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My internal rule (which no one I've played with has broken even though I've never voiced it) is that it's great for the codemaster to hear me talk to my teammates (or talk to myself if I'm alone), but that I don't address the codemaster directly or actually talk just for their benefit. So I might say "no, word X can't possibly be ours or he would have said Y", but I won't say "well, if he wants us to guess X next time, he should say Y".

It's a fine line, because it's part of the game for them to hear my thought processes, but I think of it as like I should pretend I don't know they are listening.
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mfl134
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xipuloxx wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
xipuloxx wrote:
There's no actual rule against it, so I think it should definitely be up to the group to decide if they'll allow it.


Rules of games tell you want you CAN do. if you aren't told you can do it, you can't do it.

First, Codenames has unusually flexible rules, which explicitly tell you not to be too strict; if in doubt, ask the opposing spymaster (or in this case, I'd say ask all the players and try to get a consensus).


Second, and somewhat off-topic, I see this sort of argument a lot on BGG, and it's not really accurate.


I'm fine with saying it isn't accurate. I should have said that you can't logically say that because something isn't disallowed, it is thus allowed.



Quote:
Games don't generally tell you what the players can talk about, or whether they can take bathroom breaks, or stop for lunch. OK, those last two aren't really about the game (unless it has a time limit), but talking can be. Obviously in this case, it is!


agreed, those are out of game and irrelevant. I agree table talk is loosely defined in rulebooks. But in games where the game is about communication, table talk usually hurts the game.

Quote:
The writers of rules are human like the rest of us. They will not necessarily cover every possibility: maybe they didn't think of it, maybe they assumed people would know what they meant, maybe they just don't want the rulebook to be 50 pages long. Just because the rules don't explicitly allow something, it doesn't mean they intended to disallow it.

For example, many games don't tell you to reshuffle the discards when a deck runs out. But of course, unless they actually tell you not to, the intention is usually that you should (this came up recently in the forums for Fury of Dracula, but I've seen it elsewhere too).


If a deck is meant to be reshuffled it is failed rules writing to not mention it. I agree reshuffling more common than just having the deck run out, but it is worth covering.

Quote:
For another example, the rules of Catan tell you all trades must involve the active player. They don't mention the possibility of discussing future trades with other players, so some people have assumed it's not allowed (it doesn't say you can, therefore you can't). But when this was asked about, the official answer was yes, of course, you can discuss whatever you like!


Right, but in this case discussion isn't binding.


But back to this game, the discussion mentioned here hurts the game and makes it not worth playing.
 
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mfl134
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LocutusZero wrote:
My internal rule (which no one I've played with has broken even though I've never voiced it) is that it's great for the codemaster to hear me talk to my teammates (or talk to myself if I'm alone), but that I don't address the codemaster directly or actually talk just for their benefit. So I might say "no, word X can't possibly be ours or he would have said Y", but I won't say "well, if he wants us to guess X next time, he should say Y".

It's a fine line, because it's part of the game for them to hear my thought processes, but I think of it as like I should pretend I don't know they are listening.


agreed. this is how I describe it. the intent of the communication should be figuring out the clue based on what clues were given and what clues weren't given. My intent shouldn't be to help my spymaster give future clues.
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mfl134
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also:

Can the players talk about clues they would give

Opinions on how much talk is allowed.
 
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Alison Mandible
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Why would this be fun?

When a spymaster gives a clue that the operatives were just talking about, what it communicates has nothing to do with the meaning of the clue-- it just, obviously, means "Guess the words you were saying went with this clue". The spymaster doesn't even need to understand why the clue is good (maybe it depends on some trivia that the operatives know but the spymaster doesn't).

In fact, why would the operatives feel the need to suggest GOOD clues? They could just say, "Oh, if dog, cat and umbrella are all words of ours, the spymaster could say 'PIZZA'. If it's dog, umbrella and accordion, then she could say 'NIXON'. And if..."

The suggested clues don't have to have anything to do with the words, and yet if the spymaster interrupted that monologue to say "NIXON 3", the operatives would immediately know which three words to guess.

If the operatives are that antsy for their chance to make up clues, use the app timer and play quick games, so everybody gets a chance to be spymaster.
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Mark L
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mfl134 wrote:
I should have said that you can't logically say that because something isn't disallowed, it is thus allowed.

OK, but you also can't necessarily say it isn't allowed just because the rulebook doesn't specify that it is!

The point is, the Codenames rulebook does have a number of explicit statements about what is allowed and what isn't (so it's not just telling us what is allowed). In this case, it doesn't say one way or another, so i think it should be up to the group.

Quote:
But back to this game, the discussion mentioned here hurts the game and makes it not worth playing.

I do actually more or less agree with this. As I said, I would vote against it. But if the group want to allow it, that's their prerogative.

Of course, even if the rules did explicitly forbid it, the group can allow it if they like. But in this case, it's more a question of whether it's against the spirit of the rules. You and I think it is, but others may disagree.
 
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Matthew Barille
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I see many people making the argument that since the team doesn't know which words are which it could help either team. But since the clue giver does know, all they have to do is hit one that's in line with what is needed. Then give that clue. Pure benefit to current team, cheap. Unless you have a spymaster that is worthless I wouldn't allow it.
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Not pure benfit, because the other spymaster can also pick up suggestions and use them for the other team. I.e. it can help either team, unless the suggested clue helps the first team win... However I agree, it's still lame.

Fun story; the last time I played, using a homemade Norwegian version, my dad gave the clue "Brewing 2". "Hops" was a given, and then me and my brother were discussing if it could be either "Steam" (a lot of steam is generated when boiling wort) or "Hose" (used for transfers and cooling water etc.) or "Light" (as in light beers). Anyways, it turned out all of those words were ours, so for the next clue my dad repeated "Brewing 2". Even though this could be considered suggesting clues, the intent was definitely not that, and it felt awesome instead.
 
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David van Damme
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pomander wrote:
An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.


It's basically guessing words without any consequences. I agree with the general consensus here, a no go.
 
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Hal P.
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Jim Pooley
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mfl134 wrote:
pomander wrote:
Hi all,

An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.

Now, most of the time, these suggestions are useless, since the agents are guessing random combination of words. But every once in a while they get a grouping that will help their codemaster and their codemaster would use it, which would instantly score them some words.

I've looked through the rules and I don't think anything is against this. Therefore, I don't think its strictly cheating, but I wanted to get people's opinion on this. Is this something I should house rule out or is this a valid strategy?


It is really against the spirit of the game.

Also it will make the game a waste of time, IMO.


Grouping words together adn creating a clue is part of working out whether those words could be in a group. Many a time you can see as guessers 3 or 4 words that could easily go together and after a couple of rounds if a spymaster hasn't given any clue that could lin them then it can be assumed those 3 or 4 words (or part of them) are not all blue or all red words.

This enables the guessers to dismiss possible groupings and look for other linked groups using those words.

I don't think it is against the spirit of the game as you are all playing devious spys whose aim is to get one over on the opposition and win.

We make sure we stick to the rules in the book but outside of that we allow other things to be done.

Like allowing a keyword and numebr to directly link to one word and then have that one word link to another.

e.g. I had Down, Novel, Plot that I linked with "Watership 3".

Down was the obvious first guess, Novel the second as Watership Down is a book and the plot as books have plots.

You could say it is against the rules but it is always possible that the guesers will guess totally wrong and give the other side a word hence it is all chance and whether you are willing to push the envelope and trust your guessers...it's also real fun geting those links as the spymaster and adds another level of guessing.
 
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Jim Pooley
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DavidvD wrote:
pomander wrote:
An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.


It's basically guessing words without any consequences. I agree with the general consensus here, a no go.


I would say a definite: go there.

Part of the game is the guessers working out what clues *could* go together and from the spymasters not giving clues for particular groups the guessers realising 'obvious' groups are not groups within the current game. Or that group might also have the killer word in it which is possibly why the spymasters haven't done the obvious and hence another piece of the puzzle.

The last round can come down to a semi-random guess for the team who will lose on the next round when the other team only has one word to guess hence eliminating possible killer or bystander words is part of the game and the grouping technique is part of that.

As others have said it might give a good clue word to the other spymaster.

It isn't guessing words without consequences as you could give the other team a boost. You will be helping the other team anyway as everyone can hear everyone else.

There are consequences: good, bad or possible none.
 
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Robert Stewart
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Alfsterino wrote:
DavidvD wrote:
pomander wrote:
An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.


It's basically guessing words without any consequences. I agree with the general consensus here, a no go.


I would say a definite: go there.

Part of the game is the guessers working out what clues *could* go together and from the spymasters not giving clues for particular groups the guessers realising 'obvious' groups are not groups within the current game. Or that group might also have the killer word in it which is possibly why the spymasters haven't done the obvious and hence another piece of the puzzle.

The last round can come down to a semi-random guess for the team who will lose on the next round when the other team only has one word to guess hence eliminating possible killer or bystander words is part of the game and the grouping technique is part of that.

As others have said it might give a good clue word to the other spymaster.

It isn't guessing words without consequences as you could give the other team a boost. You will be helping the other team anyway as everyone can hear everyone else.

There are consequences: good, bad or possible none.


The major issue here is not whether you can eliminate possibilities by making groupings and observing which easy clues are not given, but that you can remove the heart of the game by just going through a whole bunch of groupings and suggesting a clue for each of them (that needn't even make much sense) and wait for your spymaster to agree with one of them - it stops it from being about coming up with good clues, and makes it about listing all possibilities.

Even if you don't go to extreme lengths with it, the times you hit a group that is all on one team (or mostly apart from a civilian or two) you take the guessing out of the game because the spymaster now knows exactly how you'd interpret that clue, and you know what the spymaster will (or should) mean by it.

Late game, I'd be more inclined to allow it - if there's an obvious group that's been sat there all game, you can probably conclude that it's not clue-worthy, but at that point you're getting an immediate benefit out of it. If the first thing that happens is people start suggesting possible clues, then it can only have the bad effects.
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mfl134
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Alfsterino wrote:
mfl134 wrote:
pomander wrote:
Hi all,

An odd thing evolved in our game group. As the codemaster was thinking about his next clue, his agents (players on his team) randomly started grouping words in the grid and suggesting single words that described them.

Now, most of the time, these suggestions are useless, since the agents are guessing random combination of words. But every once in a while they get a grouping that will help their codemaster and their codemaster would use it, which would instantly score them some words.

I've looked through the rules and I don't think anything is against this. Therefore, I don't think its strictly cheating, but I wanted to get people's opinion on this. Is this something I should house rule out or is this a valid strategy?


It is really against the spirit of the game.

Also it will make the game a waste of time, IMO.


Grouping words together adn creating a clue is part of working out whether those words could be in a group. Many a time you can see as guessers 3 or 4 words that could easily go together and after a couple of rounds if a spymaster hasn't given any clue that could lin them then it can be assumed those 3 or 4 words (or part of them) are not all blue or all red words.

This enables the guessers to dismiss possible groupings and look for other linked groups using those words.

I don't think it is against the spirit of the game as you are all playing devious spys whose aim is to get one over on the opposition and win.

We make sure we stick to the rules in the book but outside of that we allow other things to be done.

Like allowing a keyword and numebr to directly link to one word and then have that one word link to another.

e.g. I had Down, Novel, Plot that I linked with "Watership 3".

Down was the obvious first guess, Novel the second as Watership Down is a book and the plot as books have plots.

You could say it is against the rules but it is always possible that the guesers will guess totally wrong and give the other side a word hence it is all chance and whether you are willing to push the envelope and trust your guessers...it's also real fun geting those links as the spymaster and adds another level of guessing.


Grouping words should be done. But telling the spymasters those groupings is the thing that is against the spirit of the game.
 
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