I wouldn’t call Codenames the best game I’ve played in the past couple years, but it’s probably one of my most-played. This is partially due to its length, short enough that almost no one plays just one game, and its flexibility with player numbers. It handles ten people as well as it handles four. I’ve even gone higher than that, and it’s been fine (your results my be different). But probably the biggest factor has been that it can be pulled out with just about any group at all, regardless of experience level. These days I bring it to just about any gathering where games might be played. If people have played it before, they’ll probably play it again. If no one has heard of it, it almost always ends up with someone asking me where they can buy a copy. It’s cheap too, so people don’t balk at the price like they do with most hobby games. Continue reading
There is no genre of game with which I have quite the same love-hate relationship as traitor games. Part of this is just plain old burnout, since it’s a popular genre over the last several years and one that frequently is trotted out in large groups. The other part is that it’s a difficult genre to do well. It embraces a specific player personality, so they often struggle to be fun for someone besides the most outgoing and verbal person at the table. It’s also tricky to nail the right complexity level. Too much mechanical flourish, and the social component is stifled in a miasma of rules questions, as sometimes happened in heavily-expanded games of Battlestar Galactica. Not enough structure and they meander pointlessly, like the senseless Are You The Traitor? Continue reading
It’s more futile than they let on.
Three years ago I promised I would never play The Resistance again. Back then it was a brand new game, the newest entry in the swelling ranks of suspicion games. Our group had been playing it a lot lately, since it’s short and uncomplicated. The first ten games or so I had a great time, but as it started coming out a little more frequently I realized that it was wearing thin. One particular session was enough for me to decide to close the book on The Resistance, and I stayed with my plan for a full three years. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that I finally returned to this game after my extended hiatus. Continue reading