I love the original Codenames but haven't played any of the variants (Disney, etc.). However, we do play Codenames Duet, which is the cooperative version for two players. It lacks the tension of the team version, but when you need a Codenames fix and there's just two of you, it's a good substitute.
I would say that to get the maximum out of playing, try to remove as much potential as possible for hints and influencing the guesser. We will sometimes have the spymasters turn around after providing clues so they can't give anything away to the guessers by facial expressions, etc.
Best game ever? Maybe! I love word games: Bananagrams, Scattergories, Scrabble, etc. And this might take the cake. Recently played with a ten year old and they asked to play again and again. I don't think there is anyone that my very large family has pulled into playing Codenames that hasn't ended up buying their own soon after.
I would agree with you. We randomly bought this game and I have never regretted it!
Surprisingly fun word-guessing game! It's not hard to understand the rules and it's so interesting when you trying to guess what's the world the spymaster is trying to hint at you. I have so many LOL memories related to this game. You will never know what crazy hints your spymaster will give you until you play this game! Enjoy this guessing and ambiguous process!
Really fun word-association game! Basically, you need to give a one-word clue and the number of words that the clue is for (for ex, 3 ANIMAL) and your partner has to guess which words you're trying to associate from the board. You can tell really quickly who's on the same wavelength and who isn't!