Codenames board game gets local edition

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Dec 14 2016 06:23 PM

The Philippine edition of Codenames is played with Filipino words. Photo by author

MANILA -- It’s rare to have a local version of an international board game. Specialty retailer Gaming Library, however, has managed to convince the Czech developer of Codenames to create a Philippine edition of the internationally acclaimed game.

Codenames is a game played with two teams of players. Words on cards are laid out on a five-by-five grid. Each team has a “SpyMaster” whose job is to use word association to let his team of spies guess their words, while avoiding giving clues to the other spies or guessing the dreaded “assassin” word which spells instant defeat for the team.

Codenames won the prestigious 2016 Spiel Des Jahres (Game of The Year) award. 

Since it is a word game, it made sense to make a Philippine version -- at least for the people behind Gaming Library, who wondered if it would be possible to ask an international games publisher to localize a game. 

“The bravery was in making the bet that it succeeds. In order to localize a game, the Gaming Library had to commit to make a certain number of copies. Nobody has ever sold that many copies of a one game before," said Adrian Manahan, Gaming Library vice president for marketing and lead game developer for the Philippine localization.

"Codenames Philippines is the largest number of one game to be attempted to be sold here in the Philippines. Since the original game was made in the Czech Republic, it took some time to secure the license and royalty agreements,” he added.

So far, the game, which has Filipino words like “jeepney,” “bahay kubo” and “balut” instead of the English words in the original version, has been selling well. 

Because of this, there are plans to localize other popular board games using Philippine history and mythology.

Codenames: Philippine Edition can be found at your local board game store or from the Gaming Library website.