Vlaada Chvátil‘s Codenames is a great party game for 4-8 players.  Players are divided into two teams in front of a 5 x 5 grid of words.  Each team has a “spymaster”, seated across the table, who knows which words belong to the team.

Fig 1. codenames gameplay

The teams take turns to identify all the cards belonging to their team.  They do this using only one-word clues from the spymaster.  The first game takes 20 minutes; subsequent games finishes in fifteen.

The game relies on players seeing the relationships between words.  I thought the idea would work great with chemistry as well, and tried it out with my students in a pre-Christmas class using a handwritten set of organic chem vocabulary.  It worked well — when the spymasters know their chemistry!

I tidied this up in Illustrator, and the PDF is available here: chemistry codenames PDF.  This is designed for printing to A3 size.  In the PDF you can find:

The team cards (anilinium and carboxylates):

Fig 2. Team cards – the PDF has 9 yellows, 8 purple, and 7 grays.

(These games must start with the yellow carboxylate teams.)

Scenario cards

Fig 3. Twenty scenario cards – these work with the 9-8 distribution, with one extra yellow for starting first.

Chemistry “words”

Fig 4. Organic chemistry codename words – the inverted gray words for the spymasters.

Fig 5. Organic chemistry structures.

This works with my students who will be working on the Drugs option of IB chemistry.  There is also a set of blank cards for you to write / draw your own setup.

Customizations: If you have a Silhouette you can use the guides to directly cut out some cardboard backing, using the Cards layer.    There is an Adobe Illustrator action embedded in the PDF, called codenames that automatically generate the inverted version.  It does so by creating a copy of the selection, rotating it 180, scales, and lowers the opacity.

If you enjoy the game, please support the original creator – both Codenames and Codename Pictures are quick good fun with friends and family.