At a Glance: Codenames: Pictures is a game of descriptive finesse. Can you clue your spies in to what’s happening, WITHOUT running into an enemy agent or assassin?
Codenames: Pictures is a team game for 2-8 players where 2 spymasters try to give one-word clues that describe a grid of pictures in order to get their team to guess the correct pictures. Each spymaster has a guide that shows which pictures belong to which team, and where the dreaded assassin is. Only the spymaster knows the secret identities of the cards and the goal is to get their team to guess all the picture cards that belong to their team. Each clue is given in the exact same format, that is, one word with a number. An example would be “Winter, 3”. That would mean that there are 3 pictures on the board that match the one-word clue of “Winter”. Each card that the team gets correct gets flipped over, and they may keep guessing if they want to, to try to string together multiple cards. However, if they choose a card that belongs to the other team or if they choose a card that belongs to a grey regular civilian, their turn is over. God forbid, if they choose the assassin, then the game is instantly over and the other team wins. Therefore, no matter how aggressive the spymaster wants to be with the clues, they must try to steer their team completely away from the assassin picture card. Otherwise, the first team to reveal all their agents is the winner.
The game does accommodate 2 players as a cooperative variant, but I would definitely recommend that you play with a larger group if possible. The game is sometimes described as a party game, but I’m not sure that fits entirely, because most of the game involves staring and thinking. So it is not as boisterous or funny as party games typically are. I like how the images on the cards are not one-dimensional. Instead of just a picture of a bear, for instance, the bear might be also holding a phone. There are non sequitur items that make it more interesting to give and guess clues.
The cards are plentiful AND double-sided, and the agent cards are nice and thick. So there’s not many components, but I really like them and the picture art style. Keep an eye out for this one on clearance. I was able to find it at Target on clearance incredibly cheap.
Check it out: https://amzn.to/2EcPrqT
There are a lot of games out there that involve some sort of clue-giving, but that limits how you can communicate them. Here are some that missed out on my Top 100, but are still worth a try:
Password – Based on the classic game show, this works just as well. In Password, there are 2 couples who are both giving one-word clues to the same word. The sooner someone guesses the word, the more points you get. Great for a couples dinner.
Taboo – This party game doesn’t limit communication too much, but as you are trying to get players to guess the clue, there is a list of “taboo” words you can’t say. If at any point, you accidentally say an illegal word, the person beside you presses a loud buzzer in your face, which is my favorite part.