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If you enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code, you'll love playing Coda! A runaway hit in Japan, CODA is the international code-breaking sensation! Try to crack your opponent's code before yours is revealed. Guess one of the opponents numbers to expose it and then add to your secret code. Guess incorrectly and you must reveal one of your own numbers. On each turn, a new number enters play. Use your intuition and detective skills to be the last player standing!
My husband and I received this game as a gift from our family, and we have quickly become addicted to the fast paced fun it offers. More skill than luck, the premise is a simple dual version of Mastermind. Although, I have long loved Mastermind, Coda is a superior offering in its interaction of play. A quick game might take only ten minutes, and it so it has that "let's play another round" attraction. My only regret is that the tiles are a bit light, as they are made out of light plastic in our edition. The way that they are shaped, they are a bit hard to mix like dominoes (pushing them around without flipping them over). They might even, on rare occasion, tip over when set up–perhaps due to strategic table knocking;). I would love to see a version with more substantial tiles like in dominoes. I believe this could, as one reviewer stated, become a classic. Despite any decoding frustrations, we invariably enjoy ourselves playing it.
Highly recommended as a great travel game for families: it transports easily, takes no time to explain, and plays quickly. Engaging too.
Although Coda presents players with a problem that is basically very similar to the one Mastermind presents (though somewhat more accessible to simple deduction and less exposed to randomness and luck), there are important difference that make Coda fare superior. Not only is it much simpler in terms of components, it is much better as a game, being more interactive (there are even great opportunities for bluffing).
Coda is not going to change gaming as we know it. But what it does do is take the classic 'deduction' genre of games and pare it all the way down to the barest essentials, making for a light, accessible, addictive game that nearly everyone enjoys.
The components? 26 plastic tiles: 13 white tiles numbered 0-11 with an extra '-', 13 black tiles numbered 0-11 with an extra '-'.
That's it. But the game, my friends...ah!it's all about what you DO with those tiles!
To start a game, all tiles are placed face-down in the center of the table. Each player secretly takes any combination of 4 tiles and sets them in front of themselves so only they can see their 'code'. Now they put that code in order, left to right, from lowest to highest. If they have a number in both black and white the BLACK always goes first.
Now one players starts. On a player's turn, he takes one tile from the center and looks at it secretly, then must make a guess (color and number) of one of his opponent's tiles. If he is correct, that opponent must reveal that tile; if he is wrong, he must reveal HIS new tile and add it to his code where in belongs in sequence. If the player is correct, he may continue guessing as often as he wants until he is either wrong (and must show his tile), or until he stops, adding the new tile to his code in sequence without revealing it to anyone, thus making his code larger and harder to break. Obviously as soon as a number is visible, it now only narrows down what the other numbers in the color will be, but it also narrws down, within a player's code, what numbers could be to the left and right of it.
The game is airy, but deductive, and gives deductive games mass appeal. Unlike Black Box or MasterMind or Sleuth which are liable to scare many people away, Coda is so easy to teach, so short to play (10 minutes or less), and so strangely addictive, that I can't see anyone not getting their money out of this one. True, the game can come down to a 50-50 or a 33-33-33 guess, but the amount of tactics in deciding what color tile to pick up, or who to ask first, or what to guess, or when to attack until you are wrong, or play conservative and try and make your code longer, make this game a nice filler AND a nice easy deductive game.
Playable by anyone from about 8 up, and works very well with 2, 3, or 4 players. 5 stars simply because it IS so simple, and gives an old genre a mass-appeal game.