How to Play Codenames Online

Play for free with friends (4+ people required)

Sean Fisher

2 minute read

How to Play Codenames Online

My wife and I love Codenames, and we love playing with friends. It’s typically played as a board game, but let’s talk about how to play Codenames online.

Or you can just go straight there and play:

Play Free at playcodenamesonline.com

How Codenames Online Got Started

When my wife and I first moved to Houston five years ago we were far away from family and friends. One of our favorite activities was to play Codenames. Unfortunately, you need 4+ people to play. So, instead of doing the logical thing and making friends in our new locale, I set out to find out how to play codenames online.

I couldn’t find anything, unfortunately. There was a link to a “coming soon” official mobile app that has never actually materialized.

So I set out to build one. After some time tinkering around with it, I had a fully functional but extremely ugly version of Codenames. My family and I played it a couple times and then it gradually faded from memory and was inadvertently relegated to the virtual shelf.

Enter 2020. With the coronavirus going around and everyone working from home, I decided to dust it off, pretty it up, and release it. So I’m pleased to announce you can play for free! Try it!

Here are some screenshots:

Configure your online game of Codenames
A view of the spymaster about to give a clue
A view of the operative about to guess their first Codename

Open Source

I’ve decided to open source my implementation here on Github. It would be great to have some people collaborate on improving it.

Specifically, I would love to have some help with the roadmap items, among which are desired visual improvements to make the design stunning.

Alternatives

When I started making Codenames way back when (2015ish) I Googled around for a bit trying to find a good online version, but couldn’t find any - that’s why I started making one at all! Since then, lots of implementations have sprung up, some better than others (and there are some that are quite pretty). I’ve compiled a list:

Go Play

Try out my version, and tell me what you think. Share with your friends.

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