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Codenames – 006

Codenames: an English vocabulary and word association game!

Episode Overview

In this episode of “Board Gaming with English” Dustin and Rich talk about the tabletop game called “Codenames.” The game is a creative and innovative English word association game. There are two teams, a blue spy team, and a red spy team. Each team needs to have one spymaster (or leader) and other agents (or players). The spymaster tries to get the players to guess different words on the board without saying the actual word. This is a great game for learning vocabulary and for learning new words from different players playing the game. It is really great for all levels and almost all ages of learners, from beginner to even fluent and from elementary to adults.
Let us know what you think of the game in the comments below!
Thank you to Czech Games Edition for their wonderful contribution to the board game and tabletop community by making an enjoyable and educational game.
Thank you to Joshua Empyre for the “Victory Music” in our “Keywords” segment.

You can listen to us on (or any other platform you get your podcasts):

iTunes

Spotify

Stitcher

Sound Cloud

(Transcript coming soon- support our podcast and email us a transcript of episode 4)

Where Can you Play Codenames?

You can purchase “Codenames by Czech Games Edition through our Amazon affiliate link:

Purchasing through, our affiliate link not only supports the board game developers but provides us with a small compensation to keep bringing you more board games to help with improving your English.

Be sure to check out their other Codenames Editions!

Codenames: Disney!

Codenames: Pictures!


 Listener Objective (Learner + Lecture)

If you are a student studying English, after listening to this episode you will be able to…

  • …know and use phrases needed to play the game.

  • …learn new vocabulary from the game and words related to them.

This is a great game for improving your vocabulary. It is a very laid back (easygoing) game to play and learn some new words. Even if you know all of the words the game will still be challenging because you have to try and think what words may be associated (or connected) to other words.

You can take a look at our PDF to learn how to play the game!

Let’s take a look at some phrases you need to know for the game:

You should not guess …

You should not guess computer!

No, we should not guess …

No, we should not guess homework!

I think it is this agent/card/word … because …

I think it is this word machine because it is like a robot.

Let’s take a guess!

Let’s take a shot, and guess …

Let’s take a shot, and guess robot!

I think this word is associated with (related to) this word because …

I think this word is associated with robots because robots are a type of machine.

I bet that it is … because … when you think of … you also think of …

I bet that it is homework because when you think of homework you also think of teenagers who are in school.

I think it is … because when you think of … you also think of …

I think it is homework because when you think of homework you think of teenagers.

I don’t think we should guess … because …

I don’t think we should guess bedtime because teenagers don’t have bedtimes.

We shouldn’t guess … because …

We shouldn’t guess bedtime because teenagers don’t have bedtimes.


 Listener Objective (Teacher + Resources)

If you are a teacher teaching English, after listening to this episode you will be able to…

  • …teach and use a fun, interactive, game to engage your students in the classroom.

  • …teach sets of vocabulary words based on the words in the game.

  • …help students learn from each other by giving students the opportunity to explain the meaning of various words in English.

This is a great game for teaching vocabulary! If you play this game with advanced and lower level students it can also be great because the more advanced students will have to challenge themselves by explaining simple words to lower level students using only English.

One rule we like to implement in the game is by adding language lifesavers. Each team can receive two lifesavers where they are allowed a translation of the word. However, be careful! Some words can have more than one meaning.

You can take a look at our PDF to learn how to play the game! The PDF includes some basic rules and an example that you can use with your learners. 


 Rules

Code names is a team game where two teams compete. Two players on each team (known as the spymaster) gives hints to their teammates to guess their words. 25-word are laid out on the middle of a table in any order.

Some of these cards are on the red team, some are the blue team, one represents an assassin (black card) and the others are innocent bystanders. Only the two spymasters know the true cards. One spymaster will start. He or she can only give 1-word hint to their team and the amount they want their team (or field operatives) to guess.

The team guesses which words are related to the hint. After a bystander is chosen, they pick the wrong team, they give up their turn or they guess one more than the number the spymaster gave, their turn ends and the other team goes and the other team follows the same steps. After each card is picked by the team that card is revealed by the spymaster by placing an identity card. Each team must make a minimum of one guess. Whichever team gets all their colors first wins.

Or if the assassin is picked, then that team loses immediately.

There are a variety of house rules (different rules for your group) for Codenames. You can check out Czech Games Editions’ rulebook for a more detailed explanation.

Download the transcript of our episode here.

0 thoughts on “Codenames – 006

  1. Knowing the meanings of words you used in a sentence is very important. Using accurate words to express yourself and
    discriminating the profound differences are a vital step to apply a language fluently. If we can learn this skill through games, it would be powerful and instant.

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