Codenames Duet card game 2017 cover

Codenames: Duet game review

Master to decipher & disguise secret messages or get assassinated!

Codenames Duet card game 2017 cover
Release Date
August 15, 2017
Family, Card game, Deduction
15-30 min.
Czech Games Edition
Our Score
Your rating4 Votes
Intense word puzzle

You and your partner are both spies that are trying to communicate secret messages to one another. Make sure to deliver & understand the messages safely, because you just might be spotted by assassins!

Codenames: duet card game, another implementation of a popular Codenames game that is a fully cooperative game. This is not necessary for 2 players only. Works with 3-4 players as well. There are 20 cards with words placed in a grid of 5×4 (or 4×5). Players randomly select a map tile that shows the green cells that represent your team cards (words). So one player will be telling a clue, while the other tries to guess the cards (words) based on the clue provided. On the next turn – the roles are changed.

Shortly how players play this – one or two players look to one side of a map, while the remaining players to the other side. In total, there are 15 out of 20 cards that represent your team words. What is interesting that both map tile sides show 9 cells as your team words, meaning that some of them overlap.

Codenames: Duet (2017) game-play.
Image credit: Noble Knight Games

The clue must 1 word and 1 number. The word describes the meaning behind a particular word or number of words. The number indicated tells the other player how many cards to guess during his turn.

Review details

The review will be covered in the following structure:

  1. Fun
  2. Replay value
  3. Art & parts
  4. Game price

Feel free to read the review details, or just scroll down to the review summary.


This is a super fun version of the game. It is probably even a little more challenging. Especially, that this game is introducing an amazing 2 player experience. I really enjoy that every player gets the opportunity to be a storyteller, within the same round, that’s a great improvement when you look at Codenames & Codenames pictures, where there are no such guarantees.

Another new thing that the game introduces, is a little map (like a real map with cities on it), which symbolizes different difficulty levels. You can select various cities as your “Missions”, where is an indication about the maximum number of mistakes. This way players can gradually increase their difficulty and progress through the game.

One of the negative factors is the challenging puzzles this game offers. For some players, this is too much. For example, beginner players. I think that this game is certainly more difficult to win. In Codenames & Codenames: Pictures – someone is always winning. Here, there are a lot more cases that everyone loses. And sometimes it is just not fun to make a new losing streak record.

Finally, there are numerous assassin cells onto each side of a key card! Three on each side and only 1 is a real assassin (if anyone guesses the black cell, also known as “the assassin” the game is lost). Two of these assassin cells are fake ones, meaning that they actually refer to 1 neutral card, and 1 your team’s card. Only 1 assassin cell actually overlaps with both sides of a keycard. That is your assassin. And oh boy, how much intensity these potential assassins bring to the game!

Codenames: Duet (2017) – game-play summary.
Image credit: Noble Knight Games

Replay value

The replay value is great. There are 200 double-sided word cards, meaning 400 words. These word cards are all different from the original codenames games. So if you want the infinity replay value – just combine Codenames Duet word cards with Codenames cards.

But generally saying, you are safe on those replays. Let’s not forget 100 double-sided key cards. This will guarantee that pretty much every replay will feel somewhat different.

Art & parts

The quality of cards & tiles is acceptable. They feel exactly the same as from other Codenames games. Yes, it is minimal, as the game is words based. What I really enjoy is seeing some fun neutral tiles art. This certainly looks funny, looking at a Snowman as a neutral, innocent citizen: D. If I would have a paranoia about spies & agents, that guy would certainly look suspicious to me.

Finally, the game is colorblind-friendly, as grey, black & green tiles, and squares onto the key cards can be easily distinguished.

Codenames: Duet colorblindness rating: A (Very good)


This is a pretty cheap board game. I would say that based on the components you obtain the value is good. Based on the game value – this is great. A game that is actually worth the money it costs. Feel free to check the price at the bottom of this page.

Codenames: Duet game review
Final remark
Great cooperative card game for family & friends. Think, solve puzzles that are intriguing, intense & challenging. For two players there is no better Codenames game. Budget-friendly, easy to learn, quick to get into. I gladly recommend it.
Replay Value
Art & Parts
Your rating4 Votes
Intense & challenging
Varying difficulty levels
Lots of word cards to play those replays
Surprisingly difficult to win. For some players might be too challenging.
Intense word puzzle

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