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Codenames: Harry Potter is a cooperative word game for two or more players. As operatives for the Order of the Phoenix in Diagon Alley, you must pass secret information to other Members of the Order.

Each operative knows the location of 9 Members that the other must contact. Communicating in coded messages, they sneak past Death Eaters in an attempt to complete their mission before time runs out.

A Key card gives you 9 Code cards to give clues for and 3 cards your partner must avoid. A clue is only one word, but it can point to multiple cards that you want your partner to guess.

Your partner also gives you clues for the cards you need to find. Together, if you find all the cards before you run out of time, you both win.


  • 200 Code Cards
  • 100 Double-Sided Key Cards
  • 15 Order of the Phoenix Cards
  • 1 Death Eater Card
  • 12 Time-Turner Tokens
  • 1 Pad of Mission Logs
  • 1 Card Stand
  • Rulebook


You and your partner should sit on opposite sides of the table. Shuffle the Code cards and deal 25 at random into a 5 x 5 grid, as shown. The grid above shows both sides of the cards, but for your first few games we recommend using only pictures or only words.

Place the red Order of the Phoenix cards and the blue Death Eater card where both players can reach them.

Place 10 Time-Turner tokens Ministry Official side up beside the Code card grid, as shown above. This forms the time bank.

Leave 2 Time-Turner tokens in the box. Only 10 Time-Turner tokens are used in the standard game. However, this game is quite challenging. An 11th or 12th token can be added to make it a little easier.

These extra tokens are colored teal to remind you to use only 10 in the standard setup.

Set the plastic stand beside the grid. Shuffle the deck of Key cards and draw one at random. Place the Key card in the plastic

stand so that each player sees only one side of the card. The card should be wider than it is tall, as shown above. Either wide edge can be on top.

Tip: If you hold the deck vertically and draw from the middle, then you will see only your own side of the card.

Key Cards

Each game uses 1 double-sided Key card. On your side of the card, 9 Code cards are marked in red. These are the cards you want your partner to guess.

You also see 3 Death Eaters marked in black. If your partner guesses one of these cards, you both immediately lose the game.

The other cards are Ministry of Magic Officials who get in the way. If your partner guesses one of these cards it is an incorrect guess.

Your partner also sees 9 red cards and 3 black cards, but they are mostly different cards. Your partner will give you clues for the Code cards that are red on the side of the Key card that you can't see.

The Key card is double-sided so you and your partner can take turns giving each other clues. Time-Turner tokens are used to limit your number of turns. And a card that looks like a red Order of the Phoenix Member on your side of the Key card might be something completely different on turns when you are the guesser.

Object of the Game

You both win if you can find all 15 Order of the Phoenix Members in ten turns or less.

Note: You are each giving clues for 9 Code cards, and 9 + 9 is more than 15, but some squares appear red from both sides.

Game Play

Start the game by looking for a clue that will lead to two or more red Code cards. Your partner will also be looking for a clue for cards that are marked red on the other side of the Key card.

Giving a Clue

A clue is one word and one number. The number tells how many Code cards on the table relate to the word in the clue.

For example, Brew: 2 might be a good clue for a CAULDRON and POLYJUICE POTION.

If any of the cards on the table have words, the word in your clue cannot be one of the words visible on the table. So, in the example above, Cauldron: 2 would be an invalid clue. Juice: 2 would also be invalid because Juice is part of POLYJUICE.

It is legal to give a clue for only one Code card, but you will have to give some clues for two if you want to win the game. A successful clue for three or more cards is a big accomplishment.

The First Clue

Either player may give the first clue. Let's suppose you find a good clue while your partner is still looking, so you offer to give the first one.

You say a word and a number and nothing else. Now your partner tries to figure out which Code cards you mean.

Making a Guess

On a turn when you give the clue, your partner will guess. Your partner takes time to look at all the cards on the table. Then he or she guesses by touching one of the cards on the table.

  • If your partner touches a Code card that you see as red, that is a correct guess. Cover it with a red Order of the Phoenix card. Your partner has made contact with one of the Members and you are one step closer to winning the game.

    Note: You cover a red Code card with a red Order of the Phoenix card even if it wasn't one of the cards you meant. Do not let your partner know. You should act like you meant that card.

  • If your partner touches a Code card you see as black, that is a Death Eater. The game is over and you both lose. Your partner went down Knockturn Alley looking for a Member and got caught by the Death Eaters.

  • If your partner touches a Code card you see as grey, mark it with a Time- Turner token. Take a token from the time bank and place it on the card, Ministry of Magic Official side up, with the arrow pointing from you to your partner.

    This indicates that when you gave a clue, your partner guessed this card and ran into a Ministry Official. Do not cover the card completely. This still might be a card that your partner wants you to guess.

Running into a Ministry of Magic Official ends the turn immediately, and running into a Death Eater ends the game. On the other hand, finding a red Code card gives your partner a chance for another guess.

One Clue, Multiple Guesses

Your partner can make another guess if the first guess was correct. (You do not give another clue). The second guess is made the same way as the first, and you mark the card according to the same rules. If that guess is correct, your partner can guess again. And again.

Your partner can make an unlimited number of correct guesses.

Ideally, your partner will find all the Code cards indicated by your clue. Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.

End Of The Turn

Each turn has exactly one clue and at least one guess. Assuming you don't run into a Death Eater, there are two ways a turn can end:

  • A wrong guess ends the turn. If your partner touches a Ministry Official card, you mark it with a Time-Turner token from the time bank and the turn ends.

  • After one or more correct guesses, your partner may choose to end the turn by taking a Time- Turner token from the time bank. The token is kept Time- Turner side up in front of your partner.

A turn always uses up a Time- Turner token. The number of Time- Turner tokens left in the time bank is the number of turns (and the number of clues) left in the game.

If everything goes well, your partner will guess as many Code cards as you indicated by your clue and then stop. But your partner may choose to quit early. It is also legal for your partner to take additional wild guesses, but we don't recommend it.

Next Turn

You and your partner will take turns giving clues. So, if you gave the clue on the first turn, your partner gives the clue for the next turn.

The Code cards your partner wants you to guess could appear red, grey, or even black on your side. You should focus on the Code cards and ignore the Key card.

A card that is covered by a red Order of the Phoenix card does not need to be guessed anymore. In particular, if you guess a card that looks red from both sides of the Key card, your partner will cover it, and neither of you will give clues for it anymore. (If this happens, do not tell your partner that you were also giving clues for that same card).

A Code card marked by a Time- Turner token might need to be guessed by the other player. For example, if your partner guessed a Ministry Official, you should have marked it so that the arrow on the token points from you to your partner. Here is what can happen if you guess that card:

  • Your partner might see it as a Death Eater, in which case you lose the game.

  • Your partner might see it as Ministry Official, in which case your partner marks it with a second Time-Turner token, with the arrow pointing toward you. The Time-Turner tokens should be arranged to cover the card, since neither of you can guess it again.

  • Your partner might see it as a red Order of the Phoenix Member, in which case your partner covers it with a red Order of the Phoenix card. The Time-Turner token should be put on top of the cover card to remind you of what happened on the earlier turn.

Using Clues from Earlier Turns

You might not find all the cards related to your partner's first clue. Maybe your turn ended early because of a wrong guess, or maybe you chose to end it early because you weren't willing to risk running into a Death Eater.

When it is your turn to guess, keep previous clues in mind. You are not required to guess cards related to the current clue. You can guess cards related to any clue you have been given. Sometimes you might want to guess the cards you are most sure of first, even if they do not relate to the current clue.

This is also important to keep in mind when you are thinking up clues. Your partner will have another chance to guess a Code card missed on your first clue, so it might not be necessary to give another clue for that same card.

Guessing the Last Card

If all 9 squares that you see as red have been covered by Order of the Phoenix cards, tell your partner that he or she has no Code cards left to guess. Your partner will be the one who gives clues on all remaining turns.

Example of play

You have the Code cards and Key card shown here. You have a good clue for 3, so you offer to start. You say Prison: 3.

Your partner touches the picture of Azkaban, because it is the wizarding prison. You cover the picture with a red Order of the Phoenix card. Confidently, she touches the picture of Barty Crouch Jr. because he is about to be sent to Azkaban.

The incorrect guess ends the turn. You mark the picture with a Time- Turner token, Ministry of Magic Official side up. The arrow points from you to your partner.

It is now your partner's turn to give a clue. After some thought, she says Forest: 4. You touch the image of the trees and she marks it with a red Order of the Phoenix card.

That card happened to be red on your side, too, but you don't tell her that. The other words for Forest are harder to find. Maybe your partner is thinking of all the animals that could be found in a forest? Or it could also be the picture of Barty Crouch Jr. who killed his dad in the forest.

You touch BUCKBEAK. Your partner marks it with a red Order of the Phoenix card. You keep going so you also touch the centaur picture, which is also correct. For your last guess you decide to touch the image of Barty Crouch Jr.

Your partner marks this with an Order of the Phoenix card, placing the Time-Turner token on top of the member card. You have no reason to take a wild guess, so you take a Time-Turner token from the time bank and place it in the front of you with Time-Turner side up.

(Your partner was actually giving a clue that also included a spider instead of Barty Crouch Jr. But since that card was also red on her side of the Key card, it counts as a correct guess. She is not supposed to give any of this information away, so she acts as though Barty Crouch Jr. was exactly the card she meant).

It is your turn again. You say Hogsmeade: 2, hoping to get HOGWARTS EXPRESS and the scene of the kids in the snow. Your partner touches HOGWARTS EXPRESS. You cover it with red Order of the Phoenix card. She's not sure about the other Hogsmeade word, but she has figured out what other cards might relate to the clue prison.

She touches DEMENTOR since they are the prison guards. You mark it with a red Order of the Phoenix card. Her hand hovers over the image with Hagrid, remembering that he was sent to prison. Your stomach tightens, because that card is black on your side, but you act calm, as though it would not bother you at all for her to pick that card.

Fortunately, she touches BELLATRIX LESTRANGE, and you cover it with a red Order of the Phoenix card. You do not sigh with relief, because that would give too much away. She forgets that she still has one more clue for Hogsmeade, and ends her turn by taking a Time- Turner token from the time bank. You have 7 turns left and the board looks like this:

End of the Game

Clear Victory

Once all Members of the Order of the Phoenix have been located (all red cards from both sides of the Key card have been guessed) both players win the game!

There are 15 Order of the Phoenix cards and 15 Code cards to guess. (There are 9 on each side, but 3 overlap). So, you win when the last Order of the Phoenix card is placed.

Of course, there are other possible endings:

  • Death Eater

    If either player guesses a Code card that the other player sees as black, your team has been caught by the Death Eaters and you both lose.

  • Sudden Death

    If you have used up your last Time- Turner token and there are still Code cards to be guessed, it is time for the sudden death turn.

    No one gives any more clues. You have no more time. The sudden death turn just allows you to use all the information you already have in one last attempt to win the game.

    If only one player has cards left to guess, that player is the guesser. If you both have cards left, you are both guessers. You can make your guesses in any order, and you do not have to take turns, but you are not allowed to discuss a guessing strategy.

    Guesses should be made one at a time and marked in the usual way. For example, when your partner touches a Code card, your side of the Key card determines whether the guess is correct or not.

    A wrong guess in sudden death ends the game - both players lose, even if the guess was just a Ministry Official.

    If all your guesses are correct and you find the last red card, you both win!

Additional Rules

Read here all information about the additional rules for Codenames Harry Potter.

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