Disney Codenames How to Play in Simple Steps

We help you learn how to play Disney Codenames with easy to read and reference instructions.
For a concise summary of Codenames Disney, including its gameplay and charm, click here for further details.

Players: 2 to 8 | Game duration from: 15 mins | Game Complexity: EASY

How to play Codenames: Disney Family Edition rules in simple steps
Codenames: Disney Family Edition rules pdf / rulebook

In a 4×4 grid game, two teams compete to find their Disney Treasure Cards first, guided by Cluemasters who provide coded clues. Mistakes can aid the opposing team. The goal is to identify all of your team’s cards first.

Jump to the summarised step-by-step Disney Codenames rules

Setting Up Your Disney Codenames Game

Team and Card setup

  • Split into two teams of similar size.
  • Teams choose one player to be their Cluemaster, who sit on one side and the teammates (guessers) on the other.

16 Treasure Cards should be randomly placed on a 4×4 grid. Grids correspond to Easy Key Cards that identify the cards assigned to each Team.

Disney Codenames Card Setup
4 x 4 Grid

The Key Card

Codenames Disney 1
  • Key Card shows the location of each Treasure Card for each team and is selected randomly and placed (any side up) on the stand. DO NOT let teammates see the Key Card.
  • The Key matches the grid. The Red Team will try to identify cards in red squares, and the Blue Team will try to identify cards in blue squares.
  • Beige squares indicate neutral cards.

Who Starts?

  • Each Key Card has a color bar outside the grid to indicate which team. The starting team has six Treasure Cards to identify, and the rival team has five.
  • A clue is also given by the starting team.
  • Team Cluemasters will have 5 Team Cover Cards in front of them, and the starting team will also use the Extra Cover Card as the 6th Cover Card.

Cover Cards

  • Place Blue Team’s cover cards in front of their Cluemaster, and Red Team’s cover cards in front of theirs.
  • Cards with neutral covers are placed near the Key Card.
  • Blue and Red Team Cover Cards are used in the Easy Game. The Extra Cover Card is added to the starting team’s Cover Cards.

Disney Codenames Gameplay Rules

  • Each team takes a turn. The Cluemaster gives one-word clues to the teammates, and they make guesses. The clue the Cluemaster gives relates to one or more of the Treasure Cards on the table.
  • Teams try to guess which card or cards their Cluemaster has referred to with a clue.
  • Teammates touch Treasure Cards, and the Cluemaster marks whether it’s their team’s, the rival team’s, or neutral.
  • If they guess incorrectly, choose to stop (after at least one guess), or have made the maximum number of guesses according to the gameplay, their turn ends.

Cluemaster Gives a Clue

  • Cluemaster’s gives a clue related to one, or some of the cards your team is trying to guess.
  • A clue consists of one word related to your cards and one number to tell how many are related.
  • While your clue must have just one word and one number, the number part may vary.

Cluemaster keeps a straight face

  • Cluemasters can’t provide additional comments.
  • No staring at sections of the table, never touch or point at cards on the table after seeing the Key Card.
  • Keep a straight face. Do not reach for a Cover Card when your teammates are in discussion. Even if you didn’t mean the card, you must act as though it was yours when a teammate chooses the right color card.
  • Teammates should make their guesses based on the table. Don’t make eye contact with Cluemasters to avoid non-verbal clues.

Identifying Treasure Cards

  • Players try to figure out what clues mean and can discuss it among themselves.
Disney Codenames Guessing a Card
Make a guess by touching a card
  • When a teammate touches a card, it marks their guess. The Cluemaster reveals if the cards belong to their team, the rival, or are neutral.
  • Whenever a player touches a team card, the Cluemaster covers it with their team’s Cover Card. They may keep guessing, but they don’t get another clue.
  • If a player touches a card belonging to the rival team, they help the rival team and the card is covered by the rival’s Cover Card.
  • The team’s turn ends.
Codenames Disney 2
Cluemaster covered the neutral card with a neutral cover
  • Cluemasters cover neutral cards with Neutral Cover Cards if players touch them. The team’s turn ends.

Number of Guesses

  • The Cluemaster gives one clue.
  • One word and one number make up a clue.
  • Cluemasters determine this number by how many cards of their own are related to the clue.
  • The guessers on the team always make at least one guess.
  • Team members can stop guessing at any time
  • The maximum number of guesses a team may make is one more than the clue indicates.

Suppose your Cluemaster says WATER: 2, you can make up to three guesses, provided you get the first two right. You might not have found all Treasure Cards for some clues. Besides Treasure Cards related to the current clue, you can guess cards for earlier clues.

Rules for Disney Codenames clues

  • One word, with no hyphens or spaces.
  • Consult the rival Cluemaster secretly if you are unsure if your clue is one word. If the rival Cluemaster allows it, the clue is valid.
  • Wordplay is allowed. For example, you can use the word knight to lead teammates to a picture of a sky with moon and stars, OR a picture of a medieval warrior dressed in armor.
  • You can spell the word out if the situation arises.
  • The clue should be about the card (picture or word), not the patterns or letters in certain words.
  • You can use titles and names if you follow the other rules.
  • Words (or words with the same root) visible on the table are prohibited.
  • Unless your group permits it, singing, funny accents and foreign words are generally prohibited.
  • The first team to identify and cover all their Treasure Cards wins!
  • If your rival team guesses your last card, you win.

Advanced Game Rules for Disney Codenames

The basic game rules are the same, with a few differences. Easy Key Cards are replaced with Advanced Key Cards, denoted with Mickey icons on the back and featuring a 5 x 5 grid instead of the basic 4×4.

A black “Game-Over” square makes the game more challenging.

The usual setup is performed except for these additions:

  • Choose an Advanced Key Card at random for the Cluemasters
  • The Treasure Card grid should be 5 x 5.

Blue, Red, and Neutral Cover Cards are as usual except more are needed. You’ll now have to guess correctly eight or nine times depending on when you start!

Gameplay is identical except for the “Game-Over” square (black). A team that guesses the card immediately loses! It is covered by the Game-Over Cover Card!

Variant Disney Codenames Rules

Below are some alternatives for expert players.

Expert Clue: Unlimited

By saying unlimited instead of a number, you can allow your teammates to guess as many Treasure Cards as they want.

There is a disadvantage in not knowing how many cards relate to a clue. With the usual risks, they can guess as many cards as they want.

Expert Clue: Zero

Cluemasters can use zero as the number part of the clue in this variant. That would tell your teammates that none of their cards relate to that clue.

There is no limit on guesses if the Cluemaster gives “zero” as the number. As long as players keep guessing right, they may guess as many cards as they want.

Official Codenames Rules PDF

Official Codenames Web Site

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