Codenames vs Codenames XXL

A new format of the popular party game Codenames has been released in 2018, aptly named Codenames XXL. One thing for sure, they still have similar rules. So, how is the new format different from the original? The following discussion will tell you everything that you need to know about the differences between Codenames vs Codenames XXL. So, continue reading!

After reading this article, you will understand better about:
– The different containers of Codenames and Codenames XXL
– The included items in each edition’s box
– The card size of Codenames vs Codenames XXL
– How to play Codenames and Codenames XXL
– The comparison of their gameplay experience
– Which format that is generally more recommended for you

Let’s start from the packaging. As a matter of fact, the art on the new Codenames XXLbox is similar to the original Codenames, featuring dark silhouetes of two individuals and a background of orange and purple. Their boxes are also made from a similar cardboard material. The difference, of course, is the size. See also: Codenames vs Codenames Pictures.

Codenames comes in a smaller box which measures 2.8 inches x 6.3 inches x 9 inches. If you are looking for a party game that is portable and easy to bring along (for example, if you want to bring it to a sleepover in a friend’s house or to a camping trip with your family), this can be a good choice. The weight of the box is only about 1.2 lbs. The back side has some description about the game.

Codenames XXL comes in a much larger box. It measures 2.8 inches x 9.1 inches x 12.6 inches. It is also quite heavier at about 3.22 lbs. Due to the larger and heavier overall dimensions, this new format won’t be as portable as the original. But that shouldn’t be a problem if you will mostly play the game in your home. The back side also features some description and short directions about the game.

Box Content
The next difference between Codenames vs Codenames XXL is the box content. The original format does not come with a special container for holding the cards and accessories. The new format has its own special container, which is cool. Other than that, however, there is no real difference between the two formats as the included accessories are similar.

Each box of Codenames or Codenames XXL contains the following items:
– 200 cards, each with two codenames, so there are 400 codenames in total
– 7 innocent bystander identity cards
– 8 red agent identity cards
– 8 blue agent identity cards
– 1 double agent identity card
– 1 assassin identity card
– 40 key cards
– 1 stand for the chosen key card
– 1 timer
– 1 rulebook

The original Codenames has smaller items which do not really require a dedicated holder. You can store everything easily inside the box. Taking the cards and accessories from inside the box is also easy. You can use small plastic pockets or rubber bands to keep the cards organized.

Meanwhile, the new Codenames XXL comes with larger items. The cards, in particular, are much bigger. The company has decided to provide a special holder with inserts in the box, which will keep the content neat and organized. The holder is made from plastic, and is quite thick. It is something that you can use for a long time, as the build quality is good. The holder feels solid and durable. It is definitely much better than rubber bands.

Keep in mind that, although the cards are larger, the timer is not. It will not give you any additional time to think and guess, so you will still be on your toes!

Card Size
Of course, the primary difference of Codenames vs Codenames XXL is the card size. According to the company, the increased card size will allow better visibility in gameplay with larger groups, hence reducing misread mistakes. The increased card size is also useful for playing with older people.

The original Codenames has a standard card size of 2.6 inches x 1.7 inches. It is small enough to fit in your hands, so you can shuffle and deal the cards easily. Another advantage is that the cards will not need much space on your game table. You can put everything on a small table.

However, the small text size can be an issue when playing with a large group. Some people may need to lean close to the game table in order to read the cards. Sometimes, a player may make a mistake due to misreading a card. This is something that you need to consider when playing with your grandparents, too, as older people usually don’t have good sight.

The new Codenames XXL comes with larger cards. It measures 4.7 inches x 2.8 inches, so the surface area is twice larger than the standard. The words on the cards are bigger, too. The cards are very easy to read from a distance. You can play with a lot of players and older people comfortably.

According to the company, the bigger cards can still fit in most game tables, but you can still be certain that they need more space. The cards are also relatively more difficult to shuffle.

How to Play
The rules for playing Codenames vs Codenames XXL are still the same. The goal of the game is to find all of your team’s secret agents before the opponent team while avoiding the assassin. The first team to discover all of their secret agents wins. But, you automatically lose if you open an assassin card.

The preparation for the game is not difficult. The game can be played by 4 – 8 players. Split them into two teams with balanced skill and experience levels. Select a spymaster for each team, who will be responsible for providing clues about the whereabouts of the team’s secret agents. The rest of the team become field operatives, who must find the secret agents.

Spymasters will have to sit on the same side. The field operatives sit across their respective spymasters. Then, shuffle the codename cards and pick 25 cards randomly. The chosen cards are placed in a 5×5 grid on the table.

Next, the spymasters should pick a key card randomly and put it inside the stand without revealing the information to the field operatives. The key card will tell which team to go first (indicated by the color on the card’s border; also, the first team to go usually has more secret agents to find than the second team).

The key card contains a 5×5 grid that corresponds to the cards on the table. Blue squares and red squares are blue and red secret agents, pale squares are innocent bystanders, and black squares are assassins.

A spymaster may only give a single word followed by a number. The clue word may be related to the codename of an agent, but the spymaster is not allowed to use a word that is present on the table. Meanwhile, the number indicates how many agents on the board that are related to the clue word. For example, saying “cold, 3” means that there are three secret agents from their team whose codenames are related to ‘cold’.

The field operatives may discuss before choosing a card on the table. After choosing a codename card, the spymaster reveals its identity by placing the corresponding identity card on it. If it is indeed their team’s secret agent, they may continue guessing. However, if it is the opponent’s agent or an innocent bystander, the turn goes to the other team. If it is an assassin, the team immediately loses!

Gameplay Experience
Codenames is a very fun and interesting game, and Codenames XXL is similarly great as it follows the same rules. You need to be creative and quick-witted in order to win the game. The repeatability is very good. You can play the game again and again without getting bored. The card placement and key will be different from game to game. Both Codenames and Codenames XXL are suitable for children and families.

The difference is more about the visibility of the cards. Codenames can be played comfortably with a small group of people. The cards are easy to handle, which is a good thing. However, as mentioned above, the cards are not very easy to read from a distance, so it is less than ideal for playing with larger groups or older people.

On the other hand, the cards of Codenames XXL are much easier to read. You can read the text without having to lean to the table. This is especially important when playing with larger groups or older people. The increased visibility will make the gameplay smoother and overall more comfortable.

Codenames vs Codenames XXL

BrandCodenamesCodenames XXL
Key features- Comes in a smaller, lighter box - Doesn't have a special holder - Standard 2.6 inches x 1.7 inches card size - Relatively lower text visibility - Great portability - Comes in a larger, heavier box - Has a special holder with inserts - Twice larger cards, 4.7 inches x 2.8 inches - Increased visibility - Better for playing with larger groups or older people

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The two games are similar in terms of rules and overall gameplay. The difference is that Codenames XXL comes with a special holder with inserts, which will allow you to keep the cards and accessories organized easily. The cards are twice larger, hence providing better text readability. In general, Codenames XXL is more recommended because it can be played by larger groups and older people more comfortably.

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