The goal of the game is to free captured resistance fighters. In order to succeed, players must create a code that can’t be deciphered by the alien invaders. Since the aliens lack image-processing skills, the resistance leader has asked code-making teams to create an image-based communication system.

Students work in small teams to build and test the code. Each player chooses three images that he or she thinks will best communicate a word’s meaning to the other players. After making their selections, players transmit their image packs to the rest of the team. Their teammates must agree on which word the images represent in order for that word to be added to the codebook.

Code Masters: Creating the Code

At the start of the game, each Each player’s DSi generates a word and one of its three definitions. (All the words in the game have three different meanings definitions, and the player must communicate the specific definition one indicated.) Each player gets a different word and definition.

Working individually as Code Masters, students put together a set of three images—an “image code”—to communicate their word and definition to the other players. They pick images from a library of 65 photos, which they can alter using simple shapes such as arrows and circles in order to highlight certain features. The evocative nature of the photos nudges players to consider the meaning they are trying to communicate rather than searching for literal representations of a particular word or definition.

Solvers: Deciphering the Code

Now each player gets the chance to have the rest of the team solve his or her image code. In the game’s first level, the team is given three definitions of a single word to choose from. One of those is the definition the player is trying to communicate. Working together, the team must decide which definition is best represented by the images in the cluepack image code.

At the hardest level, the team has nine possibilities to choose from—three words with three definitions each. Since the team must agree on which word and definition the Code Master was trying to convey, they discuss and debate each one option before reaching a group decision. If they choose correctly, their skill as a code-making unit is rewarded when a successful successfully transmitted coded message results in the rescue of dozens of captured freedom fighters.

Players can also create their own images from a selection of pre-determined shapes.

Once the players have completed the three-image image codes that they think best conveys their word and definition, they send it to their teammates’ DSi consoles.