Board Games for Youth Groups: Codenames

I am a big board game fan and I love to use board games to break down barriers with my youth. One of of the games we play these days is a game called Codenames. 

Codenames is a team based clue giving game similar to games like “Catch Phrase” or “Taboo” where on person is trying to get his team to guess a word based on a clue. The difference with Codenames is that the word is one of 25 words printed on cards set out on a table and your clue can only be 1 word. As the clue-giver you try to give one word clues that can fit multiple cards while avoiding the words that are there for your opponents. 


This is a great youth group game because it scales easily (as many people as can stand around a table can play) and students can drop in and out in the general chaos of a youth room without killing the game too much. Also it requires students to communicate with each other and try to put themselves in someone else’s shoes to figure out what they are thinking. 


As with any of these clue giving games some students just aren’t great at thinking on their feet or coming up wth clues under pressure. In Codenames the clue giver doesn’t change that often so a student who is bad at it can get pretty frustrated (and can be frustrating to teammates which can lead to some negative behavior). Also, for a youth group setting it takes up space (you need a table for the cards) and there is a little bit of set up and clean up  when compared to games like Catch Phrase. 


All in all I love Codenames and have found it to be a great game to play with students. I also made my own version of the game using Bible themes (you will still need a version of the game to play it, these are just some fun Bible clues).

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