For our comparative analysis, I played codenames. Similar to our game, there is no specific theme in codenames and similarly, it employs a team structure. However, in code names, teams have to have a strong understanding of each other — and try to put themselves in their teammate’s position — in order to deduce cards. In this sense, the mechanics are team members holding different pieces of information and attempting to communicate it. The dynamics created by this enable a slower pace of game. Because team members are trying to communicate with each other and the rules enable no communication, I noticed that when playing it, it was a slow-paced game.
I also noticed that the idea of the magic circle is a little limiting in this game. Because the rules dictate there can be no communication, the dynamics are a little stricter – whereas in other fellowship games (ours included), you can converse and also use it as a means to socialize, in codenames, when one team was attempting to guess, the other team was very strict about the codemaster talking even if unrelated to the game.
Even though this game perhaps has stricter boundaries than other games, I noticed that it was quite fun in a different way than other fellowship games. The slower pace of the game and boundaries made it more of a strategy game than I first thought – what does the codemaster do if the guesser guesses the wrong word? How do they modify their codes? These strategy questions, though, often fell to the codemaster which created an interesting dynamic. The codemaster was responsible for the majority of the “work” in the game. When playing with friends, I noticed this played a big role – some people really did not want to be the codemaster while others who were more confident in their ability embraced it. In fellowship games, it’s interesting to think about roles that may have “work” and how that appeals to some players but not others.