Codenames: Pictures, title, game rules, codename gamerules

OBJECTIVE OF CODENAMES: PICTURES: The objective of Codename: Pictures is to be the first team to correctly guess all your agent clues without triggering the assassin. 

NUMBER OF PLAYERS:  2-8 players

MATERIALS: A rule book, 34 character tiles (14 agent tiles in red and blue, 1 double-sided double agent tile, 4 bystander tiles, and 1 assassin tile), 60 answer key cards, 1 cardholder, and 140 double-sided picture cards.

TYPE OF GAME: Deduction Card Game



Codenames: Pictures is a deduction game where two teams will be pitted against each other to use one-word clues given to them to guess all their agent cards. If you have ever played the original Codenames, it’s similar in concept but with pictures instead of words. 

Each team will have a player who will get to view the correct answers for both teams on the board. It will be their clues that guide the rest of their team to a victory.

This game can be played with two players and three players. The rules are slightly varied, for these rules check the VARIATION tab below. 


Players will separate into two teams, with an odd number of players one team will have an additional teammate. Then one of each team will be the spymasters for this game. Spymasters will setup the board for play.

codenames: pictures, teams, spymasters

All the picture and answer key cards should be shuffled, then a grid of 4×5 should be set up for the picture cards. There should be 20 in total and the grid should match the layout of any of the answer keys. 

Codenames: Pictures, card layout, grid

Then the spymasters will randomly draw one of the answer keys, making sure not to show any other players but the spymasters. This is placed in the cardholder and in front of the spymasters where the can only see it. Spymasters will agree on which row is the top and bottom and take a moment to familiarize themselves with their team’s answer placements. 

Then each team will take their respective agent cards, the double agent will be determined by the color on the answer card and that team will start the round as well. All random bystander tiles and the assassin tile will be placed in a common area for the spymasters. 

Codenames: Pictures, team red, team blue, assassin, civilian, card types

After the board is set up and spymasters have gotten familiar with the board the first spymaster may give their clue.


The game begins with the first spymaster giving their clue. The clue must be only one word. Then a number will be said after the clue. This number indicates how many pictures are associated with this clue. If you have any questions about valid clues there is a section in the rule book about valid and invalid clues.

Codenames: Pictures, clue, word, number, gameplay

The other teammates will then guess pictures according to the clues given. They may guess the number given with the clue plus one or until they guess incorrectly, whichever happens first. 

Players may discuss clues openly, but the spymaster may never give anything away from facial expression and may not speak at all. Answers are final once a picture is touched. Once a picture is touched and finalized the spymaster will cover it with the corresponding tile according to the answer key. If the team was correct that it was their spy, they may continue otherwise their turn is over.

Codenames: Pictures, grid, card choice, picking, red team,

Spymasters will go back and forth giving clues to their teammates until a team either correctly guesses all their spies or once someone has guessed the assassin. 

Codenames: Pictures, assassin, card choice, lose


For two players or games where everyone wants to be on the same team, there will only be one spymaster. The setup is the same, except now your opponent is time. Same rules, spymaster gives clues and the rest guess. Now instead of another team guessing the spymaster will place one of the opposing team’s agents out after each turn. The game ends when you guess the assassin which means you lose. It ends when the other teams are all out, another loss. If you manage to correctly guess all your spies before then though you win. You can look in the rule book for your score.

For three-player, you may play as above, or you can play with two spymasters. In this case, there will be two spymasters and one guesser. The guesser will guess for both teams. The first spymaster to have all their agents guessed wins. 


The game can end in three ways. Either your team will guess all their spies and win the game, the other team will so this, or someone will guess the assassin.

If the assassin is guessed the game automatically ends and the opposing team wins by default.


How do you set up the Codenames: Pictures board game?

After teams are slipt and spymasters are decided, the board is set up. It consists of 25 cards in a 5×5 grid.

What happens when you choose an innocent bystander?

If your field operatives choose a word that is an innocent bystander your team’s turn to guess ends immediately.

Are you allowed to talk during Codenames: Pictures?

The team members guessing may discuss among themselves but the spymaster is not allowed to talk.

Are proper nouns allowed in Codenames: PIctures?

Proper nouns are allowed, but it is up to the group to decide if proper nouns containing multiple words are allowed. Like the name, Daniel is allowed, but it is up to your group if you would allow Daniel Radcliffe to count as a single clue.

Nakoa Davis