Codenames Pictures game review

All about mind reads & creative trickery.

Codenames Pictures card game 2016 cover
Release date
2016 October
Card game, Party
15 min.
Czech Games Edition
Our Score
Your rating6 Votes
Great game

Codenames Pictures – a tale of spies, agents, and assassins, a battle of passwords and clues, a cold war of secrecy & deceit between two factions for survival & eternal glory. Try reading that with a little flavor of drama. Sounds fun πŸ˜€

It is easy to play party type game for 2 to 8 players, with a minimum age of 10 and 15 to 30 minutes playtime. The game was released in 2016 and it is a second version of the original Codenames game.


So Codenames Pictures is certainly a game that is worth your attention if you enjoy party gender games, such as ALIAS, Saboteur or Dixit. You can get new players into this in about 5 minutes, and fit multiple plays during your game night. Great icebreaker or closure of an evening, could be the main game of a session that will definitely bring some laughter.

One of the best things about this game is that it does not force you to talk much. You can be chatty catty if you want, or you can say as little as two words…

Players divide into two teams and assign an agent or spymaster for each team, then place 20 pictures on the table. Part of pictures belong to one team, part to another, part to none, but only spymasters do know which pictures belong to their team. And they try to describe the pictures by two words, for team members to guess them. The team that first guesses their pictures wins the game.

So that was shortly about Codenames Pictures board game. Let us get on with our review & rating !

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.


The game is definitely funny and interesting. Therefore, we give a rating of 7.5 out of 10 for Fun category.

This game truly feels funny, involving players in the game quite well. The experience, expertise in the game does not mean much, which makes new players more/less equal for a chance to win the game. The funniest part of the game is hearing people try to interpret and understand clues provided or confuse enemies by interrupting their discussion to provide your insight.

However, in some cases, the game just randomly becomes less fun to play. This is due to the fact that sometimes there is a lack of balance in terms of one team getting easier or harder pictures to explain than the other team, that also creates some downtime as well.

Replay value

I think that this is where Codenames Pictures card game shines the most. There are 140 picture cards that are two-sided. So we got 280 pictures, with 60 different keycard maps having two points of view options based on how you place it. So you probably get the point that there is a very large variety of which pictures get into the game and how are they positioned, which gives a great repeated gameplay experience.

Despite such variety in pictures and other elements, some players would still see this game pretty repetitive, as mechanics and actions variability is limited, as you always do the same thing, someone tells the clue, and others try to guess it. Only your thoughts, ideas, and creativity decide how different, difficult, and funny your game experience will be.

Art & parts

The quality of components feels nice, the faction cards are thick and durable, while pictures seem original and creative, sometimes a little too complex with a very, very high variety of meanings. There is not much to say about the art & quality of components. They are good.

Codenames Pictures colorblindness review

What caught our attention that the pictures are actually colorblind-friendly, making it possible for colorblind people to play this. However, there is another factor that might be making this less convenient, as faction cards and key cards which map and categorize pictures – have only color indications. Below, we are providing the base comparison of these components to have a more precise evaluation.

Codenames Pictures (2016) – colorblind views comparison. Please note that these images are a simulation of max levels of color deficiency views.

So based on the images, it could be said that red color is a little harder to distinguish, bust still distinct even at max levels of colorblindness. So based on that we assign a colorblindness rating of A (Very good). Please let us know if your impression of the game is different in relation to colorblindness.


Honestly, the game price is like an ordinary, average-sized board game. If you want to check the current price, scroll down to the review summary. But generally speaking, the value of what you get seems legit: You get 140 cards with pictures, 60 key cards, and 20 faction cards. I do own my personal copy of the game, been playing it for years, and it is as good as new, played it tens of times, and I am still gonna play it long term.

Codenames Pictures game review
Mind Twister
What a simple, yet thoughtful game, which is super easy to get into, and has tons of fun. I play it with my friends & family. Great game for somebody who is new at board gaming. One of my main quick & light party games.
Replay Value
Art & Parts
Your rating6 Votes
Easy to learn & quick to play
Great for larger groups (5+)
Language, color independent
High replay value
How fun is the game depends on who you play it with
Potential downtime (if more complex pictures)
Great game

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