Jayson Myers
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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/item/2728438#it...


Conclusion:

For the last year or two, this has been THE party game for gamers. It is all we hear about and it was nominated for plenty of game of the year awards. I don't get it. It is a fine, even fun, little party game, but it isn't the best game ever made. Now, I should be honest, I am not a huge party game player. They are okay. They hold a purpose for me when non-gamers come over the house, but they are not anything I would pull off the shelf to play with my good friends (people I game with).

This is a very easy to learn party game. It can be really tough to narrow those clues down to what you want. And that is where the fun begins as getting the guessing wrong is about as much fun as getting it right. After we play a round, we always laugh and talk trash about the "terrible" clues and "terrible" guessing that was made. And it is almost as much fun as playing the game.

The game is super light. It is another word game. It is another party game. This is likely better than most, but not as good as the hype. The players will bring a lot of the fun to the table. If you can laugh as this sort of game and the mess ups that are made, then you will enjoy this game more.

As a word game, the game holds up pretty well. The idea is to connect the clue given to the words on the table. This is a pretty interesting dynamic in the game. If you like words, party games and don't mind laughing at yourself, then this may be the word game for you. If not, try before you buy.

Keeper.




Components:

The components are really simple. The cards are these cheaper small cards that have a single word on it (but there are a ton of them). There are also cards that tell you which word cards we are using this turn. There are hard tiles that are used to track the words cards you have selected. For a party game, the components are fine and work. The art is nice enough (where available) but the theme is really pasted on. I do not like the inclusion of a sand timer, it really needs a digital timer (use your phone).




Rule Book:

The rules are fine. This is one of those games where you can set the rules to harder or easier depending on your preference. A lot of the rules are centered around which words you can use. You may only use a single word, the number cannot relate to the clue, and the rest is sort of how far can you push your agenda through the words. The game is pretty flexible in this regard, but you should set these rules up before you start the game.

Flow of the Game:

Set up: You create a 5 x 5 grid with cards that each have a single word on it.

Players break up into teams (we normally play women vs men, but you can choose any teams you want). One player on each team will be the "caller" and the remaining players (for each team) will be guessing.

The caller will say a single word and a single number. For example, the caller may say "keys - 3". The caller is attempting to bring the guessers to the three cards that say "piano, ivory, flute".

Players on the team of the caller point to the cards (one by one) and each time the caller will tell them if they are right, wrong, or picked the dreaded Secret card that ends the game and that team loses if they pick that card.

There is a rub to trying to get the widest clue that can connect the most cards but narrow enough that the players can use that clue to find the correct cards.

Should I buy this game?:

Codenames is a game I bring out with non gamers and I recommend it for this purpose. It is a nice, easy to play game to have in your collection to pull out when you have the need. Gamers and non-gamers will want to purchase this game to add to their collection. A fun little game that we sort of play until we are tired of playing.

Keeper. For party game purposes.
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
Just try Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Dixit, Mysterium, Concept... all shine in comparison. (Edit: Spyfall may also work)
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
william4192 wrote:
not as good as the hype.

I'm trying to understand what this means. "Hype" is generated by people who love the game. To them, it's good. To others, it won't be good. What does "as good as the hype" actually mean? Is there some objective measure of "good" a game must attain to be considered worthy of some level of hype?

I think what you actually mean here is that you heard a bunch of other people like this game, then you didn't like it as much as you thought you would based on all those other people, and rather than just accepting that your taste differs from theirs, you instead project your disappointment onto some abstract concept of "hype," i.e. "all those other people are wrong, not me."

Am I off base? If so, what does "not as good as the hype" mean to you?
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
ionas wrote:
Just try Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, Dixit, Mysterium, Concept... all shine in comparison. (Edit: Spyfall may also work)



I also like all of those. That's a great list.
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
grant5 wrote:
william4192 wrote:
not as good as the hype.

I'm trying to understand what this means. "Hype" is generated by people who love the game. To them, it's good. To others, it won't be good. What does "as good as the hype" actually mean? Is there some objective measure of "good" a game must attain to be considered worthy of some level of hype?

I think what you actually mean here is that you heard a bunch of other people like this game, then you didn't like it as much as you thought you would based on all those other people, and rather than just accepting that your taste differs from theirs, you instead project your disappointment onto some abstract concept of "hype," i.e. "all those other people are wrong, not me."

Am I off base? If so, what does "not as good as the hype" mean to you?


Whoa, that is deep. Maybe deeper than I originally thought it, but I'll do my best to explain it.

Hype to me is the marketing machine around a game/movie, etc. For example, some movies are released as a genre flick, or just a movie; while others are released as the next best thing.

With games, if you think you have a great game maybe you give away more free copies to reviewers because you think if people see it they will love it. Maybe you market it more. Spend more money on the product because you have more faith in it.

If a game is up for a lot of awards and even win some of the awards, that creates hype to me. If a designer/publisher is well liked, maybe their projects have a tad more hype behind. Or maybe if they have done something popular in the past. This all creates hype to me.

I think most of those examples apply to Codenames. This created "hype" to me. Perhaps you and I have different thoughts of what is "hype".

Then, if a lot of people (okay, reviewers) tell me a game is great. One of the best. A wonderful party game even for those people who don't like party games (me!).

Then, when I play it I look at two things: 1. What did I think about it? 2. What could others have seen in this game?

When I say it didn't live up to the hype to me, I mean based on all the information I had (the hype), it wasn't as good as they said or I was led to believe it would. Sometimes I can see the greatness, even if the game is for me. Other times, I just can't see it. I am curious what they liked about it.


I hope that explains what is in my head a little bit.
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
Hype is when every year the average rating for new top 10 games is even higher, until you need to rearrange the scale because suddenly only 9.3 is great
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
Thanks for the explanation. To be fair, I don't recall CGE doing any of this initially:
william4192 wrote:
Hype to me is the marketing machine around a game/movie, etc. For example, some movies are released as a genre flick, or just a movie; while others are released as the next best thing.

With games, if you think you have a great game maybe you give away more free copies to reviewers because you think if people see it they will love it. Maybe you market it more. Spend more money on the product because you have more faith in it.

I was at GenCon two years ago or so when it released, and I remember it being one of the the sleeper hits of the con. There hadn't really been any marketing I'm aware of. People just started playing it and loving it and it blew up.

Of course being designed by Vlaada certainly helped and got it in front of more people than it would have otherwise. But the hype was entirely grass roots and genuine, not manufactured by a marketing machine.

Now codenames pictures on the other hand...
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
william4192 wrote:
They hold a purpose for me when non-gamers come over the house, but they are not anything I would pull off the shelf to play with my good friends (people I game with).


"Hey honey, don't forget we're having non-gamers over to the house this weekend."

"Damn. Can't we have good friends over instead?"
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
grant5 wrote:
Thanks for the explanation. To be fair, I don't recall CGE doing any of this initially:
william4192 wrote:
Hype to me is the marketing machine around a game/movie, etc. For example, some movies are released as a genre flick, or just a movie; while others are released as the next best thing.

With games, if you think you have a great game maybe you give away more free copies to reviewers because you think if people see it they will love it. Maybe you market it more. Spend more money on the product because you have more faith in it.

I was at GenCon two years ago or so when it released, and I remember it being one of the the sleeper hits of the con. There hadn't really been any marketing I'm aware of. People just started playing it and loving it and it blew up.

Of course being designed by Vlaada certainly helped and got it in front of more people than it would have otherwise. But the hype was entirely grass roots and genuine, not manufactured by a marketing machine.

Now codenames pictures on the other hand...



Sorry, didn't mean to imply they did this. I was answering a question about hype in general and was giving an example I think most people can relate to.
 
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Re: The Purge: # 1263 Codenames: Another party game with a pasted on theme of guessing words
kjamma4 wrote:
william4192 wrote:
They hold a purpose for me when non-gamers come over the house, but they are not anything I would pull off the shelf to play with my good friends (people I game with).


"Hey honey, don't forget we're having non-gamers over to the house this weekend."

"Damn. Can't we have good friends over instead?"


You laugh. But that is nearly word for word our conversations! whistle
 
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william4192 wrote:
kjamma4 wrote:
william4192 wrote:
They hold a purpose for me when non-gamers come over the house, but they are not anything I would pull off the shelf to play with my good friends (people I game with).


"Hey honey, don't forget we're having non-gamers over to the house this weekend."

"Damn. Can't we have good friends over instead?"


You laugh. But that is nearly word for word our conversations! whistle


I want to explain this so I don't sound like a tool.


Most of my good friends, Know I'm in to these games and they play them with me (that's how we became good friends: by playing games). Most, if not all, of my friends never buy games.

If I meet someone new (at Church or whatever) and I invite them over for games. I'll pull out some party games or light gamers unless I know they can deal with the longer heavier stuff.
 
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william4192 wrote:

The game is super light. It is another word game. It is another party game.


As a spymaster: Are trying to make your game plan from the very beginning? i. e. asking yourself how many turns you will take (3 vs. 4 vs. 5 for instance) and how many turns the other team will probably take? Are you using the latter consideration to adapt your game plan from a more conservative 3-2-2-2 towards a more risky 4-3-2 in case opponents have easier words? Are you trying to identify most difficult words for your opponents due to similarities with your words and keep those words open till the end?
Have you ever used corner cases such as zero clues or repeated clues and felt it was the best solution in the given situation?

As operatives: Are you considering the clues given and the clues not given? i. e. will you avoid guessing words that seem natural guesses, but could have been explained much easier?

I'm not saying everybody should play that way - and I'm pretty sure, many people don't (or maybe this is still superlight to you). Still, the game can be played very competitively and as an intellectual challenge - at the same time encouraging party atmosphere and trash talk among operatives (which needs disciplined spymasters who use their "spare time" to think on - so that the downtime is low). It works very well with all the gamers I know and isn't super light or a pure party game to me.
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We do some of it, but not all of that. It isn't a game we take too seriously.


Califax wrote:
william4192 wrote:

The game is super light. It is another word game. It is another party game.


As a spymaster: Are trying to make your game plan from the very beginning? i. e. asking yourself how many turns you will take (3 vs. 4 vs. 5 for instance) and how many turns the other team will probably take? Are you using the latter consideration to adapt your game plan from a more conservative 3-2-2-2 towards a more risky 4-3-2 in case opponents have easier words? Are you trying to identify most difficult words for your opponents due to similarities with your words and keep those words open till the end?
Have you ever used corner cases such as zero clues or repeated clues and felt it was the best solution in the given situation?

As operatives: Are you considering the clues given and the clues not given? i. e. will you avoid guessing words that seem natural guesses, but could have been explained much easier?

I'm not saying everybody should play that way - and I'm pretty sure, many people don't (or maybe this is still superlight to you). Still, the game can be played very competitively and as an intellectual challenge - at the same time encouraging party atmosphere and trash talk among operatives (which needs disciplined spymasters who use their "spare time" to think on - so that the downtime is low). It works very well with all the gamers I know and isn't super light or a pure party game to me.
 
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