Codenames: Disney Family Edition – The OP (USAopoly) – Review

"Finding common ground and a shared experience, just by looking at cards, is it’s own little miracle. Codenames: Disney is a great entry level game for all ages, even if they are just excited to see their favorite movie character."

Guest Writer: Jeremy Lepper Tweet

Theme and What is it?

Disney movie characters, their friends, and villains all mixed up and on a treasure hunt.  Where else would Jafar and Hercules work together or would Mickey and Minnie on be on opposite sides?  I don’t think those movies have been or ever will be written. The sheer volume of characters is mind blowing.  Just when you think that one character has been missed you discover them. Then you realized they are in cahoots with another character you never thought in a million years they would cooperate with.  Welcome to Codenames: Disney Family Edition where all of the Disney characters are mixed and matched in all the best ways.

Gameplay Mechanics

There is a cooperative (team) version, which is wonderful for family play. In either case, there is a group with one clue giver.  The group are the treasure hunters. The goal to find all of your Disney treasure cards before the other team or game does.

The clue giver has a key card that tells them where all of the treasure cards are.  They have to say one word and a number. They are trying to link as many cards as possible with one word. The number tells the treasure hunters how many cards match that number. You have to be careful not to give clues to the other teams treasures. Trying to find common links between cards that don’t give cards to the other team is tougher than you think. Once the team guesses, the clue giver will do one of three things. One, put a cover card for their team, two, a neutral card or, three a card for the other team. First team to find all of their treasure cards wins.

Initial Impressions

Codenames I can play with my kids?! Sweet! I have played the other versions of Codenames and this version has pictures and words. It gives it more versatility since you can play one way or both. I have kids of various ages and there is something for all of them in this game. I have also played it with a group of adults and it plays just like the other versions. It just has the added bonus of Disney and its huge back catalog.

Game Build Quality

Cards with a good feel to them that stand up to some rough handling even by toddlers.  They are easy to pick up on carpet or a hard flat surface. The box is a sturdy construction and there are enough bags included to put everything in one. The insert is great for shipping, but not needed after the game is ready for play. Only nitpick is that the stand leaves slight creases in the key cards. Overall, very happy with the components. The cover cards for each team are on weighty and thick cardboard. They make a satisfying snap or thump when played.

Artistic Direction

The breadth of movies represented is wonderful to see. Characters, locations and objects from movies are represented. Each is easily identifiable and distinct. The key cards, that tell you where the treasures are located, allow for quick location and identification of your team’s treasures. 

Fun Factor

The Codenames uncertainty of “did he mean this or that?” pervades the game. Playing with those you know adds more certainty in guesses,  since you know how they think. If you are playing with a group of people you don’t know well, it helps you get into their head space. Win or lose, you will walk away with a better understanding of how they see the world, or at least Disney movies.  The Disney theme also adds even more to the experience. The number of times I found myself trying to remember characters was half the fun. This is a game with staying power. Once we finished one game, my kiddos were asking to play again.

Age Range & Weight

The game is simple. If you play with pictures only, you can easily have younger children on your team. The box recommends 8 and up, but I have played with multiple five-year-olds on teams. If those older on the team are supportive, they can easily participate. The cooperative version also allows for younger kids to play since everyone is on the same team.

Conclusions

I love the original Codenames, and adding the Disney theme increases the fun factor. Since the game has words on one side and pictures on the other, you get almost all previous versions on one game.  It is something kids and adults can play together and scales for small or large groups. The simplicity of the game is one of the reasons it has done so well. In addition to that, it helps build a bridge between your childhood, your friends’ childhoods and your children. Finding common ground and a shared experience, just by looking at cards, is it’s own little miracle. Codenames Disney is a great entry level game for all ages, even if they are just excited to see their favorite movie character.