2015 · 2-8 Players · 15 Minutes
Codenames board game
Codenames board game

The two rival spymasters know the secret identities of 25 agents. Their teammates know the agents only by their CODENAMES.

The teams compete to see who can make contact with all of their agents first. Spymasters give one-word clues that can point to multiple words on the board. Their teammates try to guess words of the right color while avoiding those that belong to the opposing team. And everyone wants to avoid the assassin.

Codenames: win or lose, it's fun to figure out the clues.



Year Published2015
Number of Players 2-8
Playtime 15 Minutes
Minimum Age 10
Mechanics Communication Limits, Deduction, Memory, Press Your Luck, Teams
Categories Card Game, Cooperative, Deduction, Family Game, Party Game, Word Game
Learning Complexity 1.10 / 5[Vote]
Strategy Complexity 2.20 / 5[Vote]
Official Site Official Website
Rule URL Official Rules
Wiki Contributors







Frequently Asked Questions

How do you eplain this game?

This is a word-guessing game where two opposing teams compete to get in contact with all of their secret agents first by discovering their codenames. Each team has an assigned Spymaster who possesses a key card that reveals the location of all of the team's agents, and they must give a one word clue to help the team discover their agents. Take a risk by offering a clue that will point to as many of the secret agents, but you may unintentionally alert the assassin instead. (Here are the official rules in PDF.)

What is the best version to buy?

The soaring popularity of Codenames spawned more than 11 different versions to choose from including Marvel, Harry Potter, Disney, and more. If you're looking for the best version that will strike a chord with the most diverse set of crowds, start with the original Codenames. If you're looking for a solid 2-player cooperative experience, get Codenames: Duet.

How can I play online with my friends?

Codenames Online is the official free-to-play digital adaptation of the board game. Create a room, send the invite link, and catch up with friends and families by playing a fun board game alongside your usual Zoom meetings.

Can you play with 2 players?

The official rules include a 2-player variant to allow cooperative play against a simulated opponent. You can try this out even with a large group if they're not in the mood for competitive play. If you're looking for a strictly 2-player game, then I'd recommend Codenames: Duet, which was specifically designed for a low player count.

How many guesses do you get every turn?

In every turn, the spymaster will say a one-word clue and a number, which tells the team how many codenames are associated with the clue. The team is allowed as many guesses as that number plus one extra. Taking this risk is a big part of the fun!