Codenames

The official Harry Potter edition of Vlaada Chvátil‘s wildly popular and award winning game Codenames is now available in your friendly local game store. Codenames: Harry Potter is actually more a variation on Codenames Duet, being a cooperative puzzle game for 2 wizards. Players take turns trying to locate 15 hidden members of the Order of the Phoenix among a 5×5 grid of both picture and word cards, using their side of the key card. Players give single word clues, along with a number referencing how many cards relate to the clue. The clue receiver can pick multiple cards, but must stop after an incorrect pick. But beware, because the game is instantly lost if the Black Card is picked, leading the players down Knockturn Alley to the waiting Death Eaters. Players win if they find all 15 members before 10 incorrect guesses.

Codenames: Harry Potter is available now, and more information is available on the USAopoly webpage here.

CGE definitely has their holiday release schedule ready enough as-is, but as they’ve proven within the past few years – there’s always room for more word-based party games. That’s not me complaining, though, because CGE has been knocking it out of the park in that category, so it’s with great pleasure to share with you a few more coming quarter four of this year. The most exciting of the two releases is the all-new Trapwords – a party game inspired by the team vs. team play of Codenames with a slight twist thrown in. As described on CGE’s product page:

“Trapwords is a fun and fast-paced party game for two teams, who simultaneously prepare their lists of trapwords. The simple task of giving clues for your word is made fiendishly difficult by not knowing which words you can’t say. If you succeed, you advance to higher levels with more trapwords and additional challenges. Includes a set of regular words as well as a set with a fantasy theme.”

Codenames, on the other hand, does not need any introduction, but it’s still awesome to also announce that it’s Pictures version is getting the same XXL treatment that the base game has already gotten. There are no gameplay changes at all, just a giant version of the game this time featuring it’s unique and puzzling artwork on much bigger tiles. With this next step it is within reason to expect that Duet will receive the same treatment in the future, but I’m curious if the themed versions, such as Deep Undercover, Disney, and Marvel, will as well. We’ll have to wait and see! In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about these, and other, upcoming CGE releases, be sure to check out their website for updates.

Codenames is already big among gamers, and can even can even be said to be big with a growing number of people that wouldn’t use that word to describe themselves. Well, it’s about to get even bigger.

Codenames XXL is set for release in Q2 of 2018. The primary feature of this version is the larger cards, designed for bigger groups to play more easily, as players won’t be leaning over each other and squinting nearly as much. The original’s cards were 2.6″ x 1.7″, but the new version goes big, not home, with 4.7″ x 2.8″ cards, almost 3 times larger (in terms of card area).

Picture from popularmechanics.com

It’s coming to the end of the year, and what does that mean, lots of people putting out their Top X for 2017 lists.  The Dice Tower does this themselves as they have already released their Top 10 Games of 2017 and Top 10 Pop Culture of 2017 on Youtube.  But not to be left out, Popular Mechanics has now released their list for the Top 50 Games of 2017.  What is interesting about their list is that they are a lot of great games on here from across the spectrum, from party games, to micro games, to heavy strategy games, and even Kickstarter games.  Although like any list, some maybe are not as great but get by on notoriety, but strangely also some games not from 2017 make the list.  Some of those games on the list include Star Realms, Quantum, and Codenames, which are great games, but odd choices for being included on a 2017 list.  Either way, check out their list to see the top 50 “new” board games for this year of 2017.

 

In 2016 Codenames won the Spiel des Jahres, popularizing word based spy games. In 2018 Iello will release Decrypto by designer Thomas Dagenais–Lesperance, and artists Fabien Fulchiron, NILS, Manuel Sanchez. Decrypto places two teams pitting against each other to correctly interpret the coded messages their partner is trying to send them while at the same time cracking the code of the opposite team.

In Decrypto two teams face off against each other. Each player has a screen with places for four words, numbered 1-4. A single word card is placed by each number. Players on your team see your four starting words, while the opposing team does not see your words.

In round one, each of the teams has one team member that takes a code card that shows a three digit code made up of a non-repeating set of the 1, 2, 3, 4 digits from the starting screen, e.g. 4-2-1. Only the one team member with the code card creates a three word code to get their team to try to guess the code. “For example, if the team’s four words are “pig”, “candy”, “tent”, and “son”, then you might say “child-mouth-tail” and hope that your teammates can correctly map those words to 4-2-1.” If your team does not guess correctly they get a black mark of failure. Two black marks and the team loses.

Following your team guess, the opposing team will note what the clues were for the opposite team and what numbers they corresponded to. In future rounds the opposing team will also have a chance to guess your numbered code without the advantage of seeing the original words under the screen numbers. If they guess correctly they receive an interception token. Two interceptions and a team wins.

The game continues until either a team has missed guessing their own clue correctly (losing the game) or intercepts twice (winning the game). The game plays with 3-8 players aged 12+ in around 30 minutes.

Box contents will include:

  • 2 super cool screens
  • 48 Code cards
  • 110 Keyword cards
  • 4 Interception tokens
  • 4 Miscommunication tokens
  • 50 Note sheets
  • 1 Sand Timer (30 seconds)
  • 1 rulebook

Decrypto will hit stores frequented by spies and game-players in the first quarter of 2018.

Czech Games Edition has announced several new games and expansions coming in the next few months.

Pulsar 2849 is a new space based euro game from Vladimír Suchý (Prodigals Club, Shipyard). 2-4 players explore space, build megastructures and discover alien technologies, using a unique dice drafting mechanic. Each round, players roll dice and sort them according to value, and draft with each number corresponding to an action in the game. Expect Pulsar 2849 in Q4 2017.

Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends by Vlaada Chvátil has a new expansion coming, Etherweave. This third expansion brings a new faction and a new mechanic. Warp Effect allows a player to manipulate time, using the effect of a not-yet-summoned being right now. Be careful and do not destroy causality – once you use the effect, there are serious punishments for failing to summon the future being. Expect Tash-Kalar: Etherweave in Q4 2017.

Adrenaline, the 2016 hit FPS simulator by Filip Neduk, also has an upcoming expansion, adding a sixth player and several new elements. Adrenaline: Team Game Expansion promises a new player character, simultaneous team play, a new poison damage mechanism, and character specific weapons and gadgets. The new expansion is due to hit the streets in Q1 2018.

Finally, CGE has announced a digital version of their mega-hit game Codenames. The new computer version promises online matchmaking or play with your friends. CGE also promises the already large word list will be easily expandable. Additionally, a Codenames Gadget App is available for iOS and Android from CGE, providing random key cards and a timer. Interested players can sign up for future news about Codenames Online here.

 

USAopoly is continuing their magic streak this year at GenCon. First off is an entry into the magical world of Disney with this version of Codenames, specifically Codnames: Disney Family Version which was being demo’d in their booth. Codenames was a *huge* 2015 hit from designer Vlaada Chvátil. Codenames: Disney Family Edition keeps the Codenames gameplay, while featuring characters and locations from a variety of Disney and Pixar films, with words on one side of the cards and images on the other. As mentioned the game is only being demo’d at the booth and will be available for purchase soon.

Continuing with their magical flare, USAopoly extended their winning streak with the release of the expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle  namely the Monster Box of Monsters Expansion. Before mentioning a single thing about the booth, however, it’s important to note that their demo area was, again, doused in theme with music playing and smoke brewing.

The Monster Box of Monsters expansion is just that, an expansion, and requires the base game to play.

Venture into the Forbidden Forest with The Monster Box of Monsters, the highly anticipated expansion to Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Play as Harry, Hermione, Ron, Neville or Luna Lovegood as you face frightening creatures and challenging encounters. Beware of any wrongdoing that might earn you detention! Only working together to defeat the evil forces and protecting iconic locations will make the Wizarding World safe once and for all!

Luna Lovegood is now a playable character and can be used in the base game as well

Much like the base game, there is much to be discovered on your own in this game and I don’t want to spoil a thing. Pictured above is a small representation of some of the cards that will be featured. You’ll have to deal with adding “junk” to your deck which will require spells to remove.

Moving right along is Super Mario Bros the Power Up Card Game. In Power Up, players receive, every round, a secret level card at random, with these cards being numbered 1-12. After looking at their card, each player in order can swap their card with the one held by their right-hand neighbor. Will you get something better? Maybe! If someone has a castle card, they’re immune from trade or disasters this round. After everyone has traded or passed, players can play “? Block” power-ups to affect their strength or others. Whoever has the lowest score in a round loses one of their life tokens, and if you lose all four life, you’re out of the game! Both Power Up and Harry Potter are available for purchase at the USAopoly booth.

And if that wasn’t magical enough for you, there’s always Golden Girls…..

USAopoly is can be found in booth 149.

 

 

USAopoly Inc. has announced two themed versions of their highly acclaimed game Codenames inspired by Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel will be released this fall. Codenames is a popular party game in which teams compete to provide clues to cards to their partner(s). In this case, however, the clue-givers run the risk of having their team accidentally choose cards that belong to the opposing team. Additionally, a spy card needs to be avoided by both teams or the game is lost. Only the clue-givers know which cards belong to which team!

Codenames has won many different awards since it’s release and has spawned several different expansions including adult-themed Codenames: Deep Undercover and Codenames: Pictures.

USAopoly President and CEO John M. Davis had this to say:

“We recognized that Codenames was perfect for pairing with the Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel franchises. We are confident the Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel versions of Codenames will complement our extraordinary portfolio of game brands,”

Codenames has won a number of accolades including Dice Tower Gaming Award’s 2015 Best Family Game and 2015 Best Party game. In 2016 it also won the board game industry’s most prestigious award: the Spiel des Jahres.

Codenames  Disney  Family  Edition  will  feature  characters  and  locations  from  Disney  and Disney•Pixar  films throughout the last  90 years.  Codenames Marvel Edition will appeal to Marvel fans and will be more of a traditional party game. The game will incorporate many fan favorites, including Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s Avengers, Doctor Strange, and Spider‑Man.

Davis went on to say “We’re particularly enthusiastic about the artwork, as it includes a great mix of characters and locations that Disney, Disney•Pixar and Marvel fans will appreciate.”

Both Codenames Disney Family Edition and Codenames Marvel Edition will be available in Fall 2017. Both games are targeted for players 8 and up. They will be sold exclusively in North Americ

USAopoly, Inc. will be at Toy Fair in New York City, February 18‑21. For more information and details on some of the industry’s best games, click here.

Essen is soon to be upon us and so companies are letting us in on what is coming, and Czech Games Edition is bringing some good ones.  First, and to no one’s suprise, will be the release of the latest edition of Codenames called Codenames Pictures.  It plays just like it’s predecessor with the difference being that you now have pictures instead of words on each of the cards.

adrenaline

Next is a new game from Filip Neduk called Adrenaline, which is an arena battle type game set in the future.  In the game you will choose your character to play in the arena, once there you will grab guns and other equipment to enable you to fight the other players.  One nice balancing mechanic to the game is that when you are hit, you take damage but also get faster.  Combat is billed as fast and diceless so it should be a fun game to play.

alchemist-exp

Last is an expansion to the popular heavy deduction game that is Alchemists, called Alchemists: The King’s Golem.  This expansion comes with four different modules that you can add to the game;

  • In Startup Funding, players get a chance to customize the initial resources in their laboratories.
  • The Busy Days expansion makes each round different by offering new rewards (and new costs!) on the order spaces.
  • The Royal Encyclopedia is an entirely new venue for publishing your research.
  • And in The Golem Project, players have the challenge of animating a creature made from magic and clay.

This will bring some new challenges and complexity to the game for veteran players.

Last thing to note is that CGE will also be showcasing the latest app expansion for Galaxy Trucker, Alien Technologies, as well as the progress they are making on their Through the Ages and Codenames apps.

international gamers awards

Each year the International Gamers Awards are given out to the multiplayer and 2 player games that are deemed the best for that year.  Some notable previous winners are games like Twilight Struggle, Agricola, and Terra Mystica.  All highly rated and well respected games, so the nominees for this year are the cream of the gaming crop.  One note is that while this is the 2016 award, the games eligible are those that have been released between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.  And the nominees are;

blood rage

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – Multi Player category

Blood Rage – Eric M. Lang, Guillotine Games / Cool Mini or Not

Codenames – Vlaada Chvatil, Czech Games Edition

Food Chain Magnate – Jeroen Doumen, Splotter Spellen

Grand Austria Hotel – Virginio Gigli & Simone Luciani, Lookout Games

Isle of Skye – Andreas Pelikan & Alexander Pfister, Lookout Games

Mombasa – Alexander Pfister, Eggertspiele

Nippon – Nuno Bizarro Sentieiro & Paulo Soledade, What’s Your Game?

Pandemic Legacy – Rob Daviau & Matt Leacock, Z-Man Games

Quadropolis – Francois Gandon, Days of Wonder

T.I.M.E. Stories – Peggy Chassenet & Manuel Rozoy, Space Cowboys

7wonders duel

GENERAL STRATEGY GAMES – 2 Player category

7 Wonders Duel – Antoine Bauza & Bruno Cathala, Repos Productions

Patchwork – Uwe Rosenberg, Lookout Games

Raptor – Bruno Cathala & Bruno Faidutti, Matagot

Star Wars: Rebellion – Corey Konieczka, Fantasy Flight Games

Trambahn – Helmut Ohley, Lookout Games

Interesting fact, 9 out of the 15 titles being nominated are in the top 100 of games in the entire BGG database.  To see the list as well as previous year’s winners you can head on over to the International Gamers Awards website.