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In a game of Codenames, Team 1 field operative guesses a wrong choice for a word. During or before their next turn they say, "oh, I know which one you meant for last code".

Would that be against the rules?

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Field Operatives are only allowed to discuss the clue after their Spymaster provides it, until their team's turn is over.

Rules, P.4 "MAKING CONTACT

When the spymaster gives a clue, his or her field operatives try to figure out what it means. They can debate it amongst themselves..."

Same page: "Number of Guesses

...Any wrong guess ends the turn immediately..."

This is reiterated and summarized on page 5: "GAME FLOW

Spymasters take turns giving clues. After a spymaster gives a clue, his or her team starts guessing. Their turn ends when they guess wrong, when they decide to stop, or when they have made the maximum number of guesses for that clue. Then it is the other team's turn"

Any other discussion of a previous clue, during another team's turn or on an operative's own turn prior to the new clue being read, is therefore out of scope of the rules (i.e., it's not allowed). This conveniently addresses any clue-related discussion among the operatives, but also any directed towards the spymaster (whether or not it is acknowledged by the spymaster). This would apply equally to basically harmless and vague discussion like "Oh, I know what you meant now" or, taken to its logical conclusion, a field operative explicitly instructing their spymaster to add 1 to the number of guesses on their new clue (effectively providing +2 potential guesses).

So if you're a field operative, unless you want to talk about getting snacks for the table when it isn't your turn or before your team's clue is read, don't say anything!

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No, that is not allowed.

Looking at rules here they say :-

If you are a field operative, you should focus on the table when you are making your guesses. Do not make eye contact with the spymaster while you are guessing. This will help you avoid nonverbal cues. When your information is strictly limited to what can be conveyed with one word and one number, you are playing in the spirit of the game.

Communication such as "oh, I know which one you meant for last code" Is not in that spirit. Doing so risks a reaction from the spymaster. Just as the spymaster can not say "that one is right but its not what I meant".

Once they game is over then its fun to discuss what was meant/misinterpreted by the clues but this is can not be alluded to during the game its self.

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    That paragraph is focused on preventing additional information flow from the spymaster to the field operative. I don't see how it has any bearing on the information flow from operative to spymaster. – Arcanist Lupus May 16 at 13:22
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    The question is about what the field operatives can and can't say. The quoted paragraph is about the what the field operative can and can't say in particular with regard to not saying things in 'the spirit of the game' How does that not have a bearing on information from operative to spymaster? – StartPlayer May 16 at 18:50
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    @ArcanistLupus "That paragraph is focused on preventing additional information flow from the spymaster to the field operative." I disagree. In my opinion it's focused on emphasising the idea that the information flow at the game table should be strictly limited as per rules. I think this is the correct answer. – Andrew Savinykh May 16 at 23:55
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    I disagree with that interpretation from that text, the communication flow is restricted from the Spymaster, and the indication to focus on the game table is in order to avoid picking up clues, not to avoid communicating things to your Spymaster. I agree that doing so to get a reaction is against the spirit, but doing so just to inform (without wanting/looking for a reaction or confirmation) is okay. – Cesar M May 21 at 18:11
  • I would agree with Arcanist. However, I play an online version of the game, so there is no facial expressions/body language from the spymaster, so the field operative can ramble as much as they want about the clue and even say "I know what it is", and it (usually) does not cause the spymaster to respond back giving more hints. I agree with Cesar that you can just not look at the spymaster in real life. – CreativiTimothy Jun 22 at 19:30
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Yes. The communication flow is limited from the Spymaster to the Field Operative, communication from the Field Operative to the Spymaster is not limited. The Spymaster, however, cannot react to it.

The quote from the other answer is part of "Keeping a Straight Face", directed to the Spymaster. The full quote is:

The spymaster is expected to keep a straight face. Do not reach for any card while your teammates are considering the words. When a teammate touches a word, consult the key card and cover the word with the card of the corresponding color. When a teammate chooses a word of the correct color, you should act as though it was exactly the word you meant, even if it wasn't.

If you are a field operative, you should focus on the table when you are making your guesses. Do not make eye contact with the spymaster while you are guessing. This will help you avoid nonverbal cues.

When your information is strictly limited to what can be conveyed with one word and one number, you are playing in the spirit of the game.

My highlights are to show that the intention is to avoid you picking up nonverbal cues from your Spymaster, not to avoid you communicating things to your Spymaster. You can say as much as you want, even talk your thought process out loud so the Spymaster can better give clues going forward (whatever you say can and will be used by your opponents to rule out words as not theirs too, so be careful).

See that the whole section is to avoid the Spymaster giving signs to the Field Operatives, not the other way around. Therefore, if a Field Operative says "oh, I know which one you meant for last code" the Spymaster cannot visibly/audibly react in any way, that would be against the spirit. But the Spymaster can know that so as to not give extra clues on that word.

See this part too:

When the spymaster gives a clue, his or her field operatives try to figure out what it means. They can debate it amongst themselves, but the spymaster must keep a straight face. The operatives indicate their official guess when one of them touches one of the codenames on the table.

The Field Operatives can and should communicate freely, even saying why they think a word is what and other things, their communication is explicitly not restricted. The Spymaster however should not react visibly/audibly to any of it.

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  • "But the Spymaster can know that so as to not give extra clues on that word." I disagree. The only time you can tell the spymaster you know an answer to a clue is by touching it. At any other time is against spirit of game as defined by the rules – StartPlayer May 22 at 8:16
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It's a party game. This happens all the time and it's part of the emotions that make it fun. As long as the spymaster keeps the "straight face", no illegal information is given. The agents are allowed to openly discuss what they think so the spymaster already knows all this. Telling people off for getting excited about the game, does not make it more fun. We had some heated discussions about illegal clues and spymasters giving hints by reaching for a certain card while the agents are still debating, but saying "oh now I know" would not upset anyone.

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  • Sure it's a party game but that doesn't mean the team giving information like that to the spymaster won't take fun out of the game. – Joe W Sep 8 at 18:55
  • Well as long as the spymaster keeps the straight face, I don't see why it should be discouraged. I'm repeating my first post, but the discussion and line of thinking of the agents is open for everyone anyway. Besides, somebody screaming "oh I know what you meant now" might still be wrong. I don't see it as spoiling the game or breaking any rules. – Aukyboy Sep 8 at 19:03
  • It is not about the spymaster keeping a straight face or not. The problem is giving the spymaster instructions about what clues they should be giving. The spymaster should be figuring out what the team is getting from the clues and not being told directly that information. – Joe W Sep 8 at 19:16
  • The spymaster IS getting told directly all that the whole time. The whole discussion between the agents is out in the open. Agents will say things like "if we had to guess picture and wall, he would have given us "hang" as a clue". The spymaster can think "ah yeah, I hadn't thought of that" and use that in the next turn. – Aukyboy Sep 8 at 19:23
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    There is a difference between discussing among themselves after a clue has been given and the spymaster overhearing and directly saying they know something when it is not their turn to be making guesses. – Joe W Sep 8 at 19:32

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