Monday, October 11, 2004

Game review: Coda

Players: 2-4 Ages: 6-Adult

I was browsing at the game store at the mall recently and noticed Coda. It looked intriguing, and was relatively inexpensive, so I picked it up. I played it yesterday for the first time with my 8 1/2-year-old (Dallin) and 7-year-old (Sammy).

Coda is a fairly simple “code-breaking” game, using numerical codes only. There are two sets of tiles, white and black, each numbered 0-11. For “advanced” game play, there is also a dash (-) tile in each color. The players draw tiles and arrange them in ascending numerical order, with black tiles preceding white tiles if they have the same number on them. The players then take turns “attacking” various point of their opponents' “codes”. If they make a successful attack by guessing a tile correctly, the opponent must reveal that tile, and the guesser has the option of continuing to attack or adding a newly-drawn tile to his or her code. If unsuccessful, the newly-drawn tile is added to his or her code in the proper position, but revealed to the other players. The object is to be the last one with tiles concealed.

We played only the simple version, without the dash tiles, which act as “wild” tiles in the more advanced version. Dallin caught on right away, while Sammy needed a little more coaching. They both really enjoyed the challenge of the game and seeing their opponents' codes revealed. I found it to be very easy. It seems to me the game has the potential for real challenge if there were good variant rules developed, or if letter tiles were included, or some such enhancement.

Game play was pretty short for us; I'd say not more than five or six minutes per round. It's like an easier version of Mastermind, which my kids are about to be introduced to. :-)

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