Tech

The Easiest Way To Play Codenames On Zoom With Your Friends

When you've played Scattergories one too many times.

How To Play Codenames On Zoom With Your Friends
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At this point during the ever so lengthy coronavirus pandemic, you’ve probably played a multitude of online games with your friends during your virtual gatherings. Games like Heads Up, Cards Against Humanity, Scattergories, and Charades have all been adapted to fit our online lifestyles, but if you’re looking for something a bit more refreshing and lively, try playing Codenames on Zoom.

Using a bit more brain power than other virtual games, Codenames is the game where you and the other players are divided into two competing spy teams with one person on each team holding the title of Spymaster. A set of 25 “codenames” are set out in a 5x5 grid and your goal as Spymaster is to communicate with the other members of your team using only one related word to hint at which codenames in the grid belong to your team. Be careful, though. Some of the codenames belong to the other team, while others belong to “innocent bystanders,” and another belongs to the secret assassin that everyone is trying to avoid. There is also a double agent card as one member of any team can use to trick others during gameplay. The game is played in rounds where you can only progress to the next when you’ve only successfully guessed your team’s codenames. You win by being the first to contact all of your team members with the correct codenames.

There's a couple ways you can play Codenames at your next virtual hangout. The first is by using the Codenames online website that provides complete gameplay or you can kick it old school by setting up your own cards and rigging your cellphone or spare camera so that your Zoom guests can also see the game grid.

How To Play Codenames On Zoom

Before the online version of Codenames came to be, many had already cracked the code to figure out how to play the game on Zoom using your laptop and your cellphone’s camera (you’ll either need to take a picture of the card layout or use Zoom on your phone to let your guests view). In order to do this, you’ll also need to own your own copy Codenames. A few things to remember on how to play using this method:

- Lay out the 5x5 card grid on a flat surface.

- Rig your cell phone to either keep the camera focused on the cards or to take a picture of the layout to then send to all the players.

- Decide who will be the Spymaster and who will be Field Operatives for each team.

- The four lights around the game board will decide who goes first based on the "key card."

- The Spymaster then chooses one word that can relate to either one or more codenames in the grid. This number indicates the amount of guesses your team has within their turn (i.e. if you have a card that says “marriage,” and you have two cards that relate to marriage you could say “Ring, 2”).

- Teammates then use their Zoom windows to discuss which words they think match with the given codename.

- The round is over and passed to the next team if the other team incorrectly guesses any of their words.

The game is complete once one team has correctly guessed all of their team’s words on the grid.

How To Play Codenames Online

Codenames is usually played in person, but with quarantine becoming a regular part of our lives, there is now a complete online version of the game that you and your friends can connect to play within your own browsers from home.

If you don’t own Codenames (or don’t want to go through the trouble of rigging up another camera), you can always play online. Here’s how:

- Go to Codenames online and select the ‘CREATE ROOM’ button.

- Choose the language.

- Send the given URL to your guests.

- Decide who will be the Spymaster and who will be Field Operatives for each team.

- The game will automatically decide which team begins first.

- The Spymaster chooses one word that can relate to either one or more codenames in the grid. Type the chosen word and the number of cards within the grid it can match with. This number indicates the number of guesses your team has within their turn (i.e. if you have a card that says “marriage,” and you have two cards that relate to marriage you could say “Ring, 2”)

- Teammates can then use their Zoom windows to discuss which words they think match with the given codename

- The round is over and passed to the next team if the other team incorrectly guesses any of their words

The game is complete once one team has correctly guessed all of their team’s words on the grid.

If you're looking for an entertaining game that will keep your Zoom guests on their toes, give Codenames a try and let out their inner spy.