Codenames vs Codenames Pictures

If you think that Codenames can’t get any better, think again. The company has released a new version, but this time with pictures. Yes, you heard that right; Codenames Pictures is based on images instead of words. So, is the new version really better than the original? Read the comparison of Codenames vs Codenames Pictures below to find out.

This article will tell you further about:
– What each game includes in its box
– The standard rules of playing Codenames vs Codenames Pictures
– How many players that can play each game comfortably
– The overall gameplay impression on each version of the game
– The important differences between the two versions of the game
– Which version that is generally more recommended for you

Codenames: Overview
The original Codenames was designed by Vlaada Chvatil. It as released for the first time in 2015 by Czech Games Edition. We have discussed about another version of the game, Codenames vs Codenames Duet, so make sure to take a look. The original Codenames pretty much can be described as a social word guessing game. In this game, you need to work together with your team to understand clues and make correct guesses.

Codenames split the players into team red and team blue. Each team must have one player that takes the role of the spymaster, while the rest are field operatives. In both Codenames and Codenames Pictures , field operatives must guess the locations of their secret agents based on clues provided by their spymasters, while at the same time trying to avoid assassins and the opponent team’s secret agents. The first team to discover all of its secret agents wins.

Codenames can be really fun, thrilling, and challenging. Both the spymasters and the field operatives must play carefully. If you open a card and it is not your team’s secret agent, your team’s turn ends. In addition, if you open a card which happens to be an assassin, your team is defeated right away.

Every card on the board has a word written on it, and a word represents a codename or location. Of course, this is the main difference between Codenames vs Codenames Pictures. Spymasters may use any word as a clue, as long as the word is not present on any card on the board. As a spymaster, you need to be creative, because your clue may relate to multiple cards on the board, some of which are probably assassins.

Codenames comes in a simple box that is colored in hues of purple and orange. The back of the box provides a short guide and description of the game. Inside the box, you can find:
• 200 cards with 400 codenames
• 8 red agent cards
• 8 blue agent cards
• 1 double agent card
• 7 innocent bystander cards
• 1 assassin card
• 1 timer
• 1 key card stand
• 40 key cards
• 1 rulebook

Codenames: Game Rules
Now, let’s take a look at how to play Codenames. But, before delving into the actual game, there is some preparation that needs to be done. First, you need 4 – 8 players that are split into two groups. You should try to keep the size and skill of the two teams as balanced as possible. Then, each team must select a player to function as a spymaster.

Spymasters sit on one side of the table, while field operatives sit across their respective spymasters. Shuffle the codename cards and pick 25 of them randomly. Put the chosen codenames in a 5×5 grid on the table.

Next, the spymasters must choose a key card randomly. Place the key card in the stand. Keep in mind that only spymasters may see the key card; field operatives are not allowed to see it. This key card will show the identities of the cards on the board. Blue squares are blue secret agents, red squares are red secret agents, and pale squares are innocent bystanders. How about the black square? Right, that’s the assassin.

The starting team is indicated by the color on the edges of the key card. Now, the spymaster of the starting team may say a clue for their team. The clue can be any word as long as it isn’t on the board. The clue must be followed by a number, which indicates how many agents on the board that are related to the clue. For example, “sour, 2” means there are two agents whose codenames are related to ‘sour’.

Field operatives of the same team may discuss which card that their spymaster actually meant. They must choose a card on the board. Once a field operative touches a card, the spymaster reveals the chosen card’s identity by placing an identity card on it. If it is indeed their team’s agent, they may continue guessing. However, if it is the opponent’s agent or an innocent bystander, the turn ends. If it is an assassin, the team automatically loses.

Codenames: Gameplay Impression
Comparing the gameplay quality of Codenames vs Codenames Pictures can be difficult because the original game is already really great. It is fun while also thrilling and challenging at the same time. It requires you to be smart, creative, and quick-witted in order to provide good clues and make clever guesses.

The game is suitable for a wide range of people. It is definitely good for children, as it does not have any strong word or mature theme. The recommended player age is at least 10 years old. However, it is also great for teenagers and even adults. It can be an excellent game to be played with your friends or family.

Each game takes about 15 minutes on average, or at least that’s what written on the box. In reality, some games can be a bit shorter due to unfortunate encounters with assassins, while some others are just difficult and take several extra minutes, but usually still under an hour.

Codenames Pictures: Overview
Now, we’ll continue our discussion with Codenames Pictures. This game is also designed by Vlaada Chvatil and released by Czech Games Edition. Actually, the core concept and basic rules are still similar to the original version. There are just some twists that make this version even more interesting.

As mentioned above, Codenames Pictures uses images instead of words. So, you need to use a clue that can describe the image that you mean. Some people find this intriguing, but some others don’t really find it fun.

Also, the board size has been reduced as well. Compared to the original version, Codenames Pictures is relatively smaller. The game comes with fewer cards and involves fewer secret agents.

The box of Codenames Pictures is colored in gradations of orange. It includes:
• 140 cards with 280 pictures
• 7 blue agent cards
• 7 red agent cards
• 1 double agent card
• 4 innocent bystander cards
• 1 assassin card
• 1 key card stand
• 60 key cards
• 1 rulebook

Codenames Pictures: Game Rules
The core concept of Codenames vs Codenames Pictures is similar. If you already understand how to play the original Codenames, you can jump into Codenames Pictures right away without any difficulty.

The preparation is still similar. You need 4 – 8 players that split into two teams. Each team needs one spymaster. However, the team only need to find 7 or 8 agents (whereas the original version involves 8 or 9 agents for each team). You only need to pick 20 cards from the deck and arrange them in a 5×4 grid on the table.

Then, the spymasters choose a key card randomly and place it in the stand. Next, as usual, the starting team’s spymaster may give a clue word followed by a number indicating how many agents on the board that are related to the clue word. For example, “vehicle, 3” means there are three agents whose symbols are related to ‘vehicle’.

After the field operatives choose a card, the spymaster reveals the card’s identity. They may continue playing if the card is correctly their team’s agent. However, the turn goes to the opponent team if the guess is wrong. A team that discovers an assassin automatically loses. The first team to find all agents wins.

Codenames Pictures: Gameplay Impression
The overall experience of Codenames Pictures is similar to the original, but it is not totally better. At times, it actually feels easier. This is probably because the images provide easy ideas for clues. For example, when referring to an image of a car, you can use the word vehicle, tire, windshield.

Well, this is not always the case; some images are indeed quite hard to describe. However, with words, you need to be more creative. At times, you need to visualize the word in order to get a good clue.

Another reason why Codenames Pictures feels easier is the smaller board. Each team only needs to guess one less agent than the original. So, Codenames Pictures tends to end a bit more quickly.

Overall, Codenames Pictures is still a nice game. It is suitable for children, teenagers, and adults. It can be a great family game as well.

Codenames vs Codenames Pictures

BrandCodenamesCodenames Pictures
Key features- Uses words as agents's codenames - Each team must find 8 agents (9 for the starting team) - Includes 200 cards with 400 words - 40 key cards - Generally feels more challenging - Uses images as agents's symbols or codes - Each team must find 7 agents (8 for the starting team) - Includes 140 cards with 280 images - 60 key cards - Generally feels a bit easier

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In general, the original Codenames is still more recommended. It has a bigger content. In the original Codenames, the teams must find more agents. It uses words instead of pictures, and this is one reason it feels more challenging.

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