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Czech Games Edition CGE00053 Codenames Duet XXL, Mixed Colours

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As you complete games in mission mode, you will mark off on the map, whether you succeed or not, and then move on to another city and a different set of constraints. They must help their field operatives guess the words representing their agents while avoiding opposing agents, innocent bystanders, and the assassin. If someone accidentally gives an invalid clue, you should take a one-turn penalty by discarding one of the timer tokens from the time bank. We particularly enjoyed Codenames with big groups of friends, so we were nervous about Codenames Duet as a two-player experience, but how does the game play? This indicates that when you gave a clue, your partner guessed this word and ran into an innocent bystander.

Codenames: Duet is Now Playable Online | Board Game Quest Codenames: Duet is Now Playable Online | Board Game Quest

Though each game has limitations in terms of the number of people who can play, I think they’re well worth the restrictions. One of the things that surprised me the most about Codenames Duet is that it is not just a two-player cooperative word guessing game, it’s actually a team-based cooperative game that can be played with two or more players.

The original Codenames can be played with as few as two people (more on that later), but really plays better with four or more (per the box it can accommodate “eight plus,” hence its party-game reputation), while Duet is designed for two players. Nothing’s funnier than unearned confidence gone wrong; nothing more exciting than a daring feat succeeding against the odds. As both players are taking turns giving clues and guessing them, there is no downtime for the clue giver to think. You played with some extra timer tokens, but you contacted all your agents while avoiding the assassins. Each team knows which agents the other team can contact safely and where three assassins can be found.

Codenames | Official Rules | UltraBoardGames How to play Codenames | Official Rules | UltraBoardGames

After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family.

Some challenges allow more bystanders so you can afford to take bigger risks on high-value clues, but others just stretch the game length but allow you to make no wrong guesses at all, rewarding a slower and more precise style of clue-giving. But it’s amazing how much one thinks in this game, about stuff that may have nothing to do with the keywords. Duet feels more focused and more intense than the original and I find we get a greater sense of satisfaction when winning a game of Duet over being on the winning team in regular Codenames.

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