I'm playing Codenames online in an iOS app called Codewords, but I do not know the demographics of the game in general. When someone gave me the clue "rob", I picked "nick" because in informal British, nick means "steal" or "prisoner", and it was wrong. I am not British; I'm American, but I assumed the game was meant to be played by all demographics. Unlike playing in real life where you should play it based on where you live like if you live in America, you should just stick to American definitions, this is online, so I was wondering if the game was intended for a certain type of English or it could be any.

  • 5
    As you noticed, there is really no intention for an online implementation (or, I should say, with strangers). The activity is largely about how to connect shared experiences with your teammates. If I know you're British, then that would open up a new set of clues. – The Chaz 2.0 Jun 16 '20 at 1:32
  • Why would you assume it was from a British meaning? – Joe W Jun 16 '20 at 1:38
  • @JoeW I assume that because I assumed the game is played by every English-speaking person, American, British, Australian, etc. so I figured they would also assume the same thing that their words are subject to any English interpretation (American, British, Australian). I didn’t want to assume everyone who played the game was American. – CreativiTimothy Jun 16 '20 at 1:40
  • But what gave you reason to think it meant that instead of an american meaning? Seems strange to jump to that conclusion just because it can be played world wide. What was the clue for? – Joe W Jun 16 '20 at 2:14
  • @JoeW What do you mean by instead of an American meaning? I first look at the general definition that is accepted worldwide "a small cut or notch", and then I look for foreign definitions like American-only, British-only, Australian-only. Because it can be played worldwide, that is exactly why I take into account all possible foreign definitions, like completely the opposite of your logic. "rob 3" was for "thief", "shop", and a third one but the game hasn't finished. – CreativiTimothy Jun 16 '20 at 2:26

Codenames was designed by Vlaada Chvatil, a Czech game designer, and in its original form was published by Czech games edition. So in that sense, the answer is none of the above.

More generally, the best clues in Codenames are the ones that will lead your team to guess the right words, which means you should assume that you are playing in whatever version makes sense for the players. This can include consideration of things like pop culture references (will your team understand that "Mine" is a clue for "Seagull" because if Finding Nemo?), but also deeper cultural associations.

If your team is all from the US, you should feel safe using American English as the baseline for your clues. If you don't know whether your fellow players speak American, Australian, British, Singaporean, Canadian, whatever English, then you have to use clues that are (to your knowledge) as common across them all and hope for the best.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.