Exploring cooperative games

Posted by Jim {Power Gamer} | 27-Oct-12 | 43 comments

We want to add more depth and purpose to our game exploration quests so that they are more than a list of random games to explore. Moving forward, each group of explorable games will be a guide to help all types of gamers learn more about a genre, mechanic, theme, etc. (ie: guide to… gateway games, deck building games, one vs many games). Our first will be a Guide to Cooperative Games.

Cooperative Games

The guide will recommend one or two cooperative games that are ideal for a specific gamer type. Another way to think of it would be to ask yourself:

“What are the best cooperative games that a [gamer type] would enjoy?”

We would love to hear your recommendations and thoughts! Feel free to recommend games that aren’t in this list, even games that aren’t on our site yet. Just make sure to recommend games that are in print and readily available. Also, please share a brief explanation for why the game is great for a specific gamer type.

Below is a rough list (nothing set in stone) to get the ball rolling… Please take a look and then share your thoughts. Thanks!

Family Gamers

Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Castle Panic
Forbidden Island

Social Gamers

The Resistance: 3rd Edition
Hanabi

Strategy Gamers

Shadows over Camelot

Casual Gamers

Pandemic
Zombicide

Avid Gamers

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Defenders of the Realm

Power Gamers

Level 7 [escape]
Alcatraz: The Scapegoat
Arkham Horror
Space Alert

Comments (43)

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8
Plaid Hat Games fan
Cave Goblins - Summoner Wars
I Am What I Am

I’d argue that Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game should also be in the Social Gamers category. Sure you could play it like Clue with very little interaction, but it comes alive when you play it with a social group of gamers.

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7
Knight-errant
Old Bones
The Silver Heart

I’d like to second Mice and Mystics as a Family co-op. I can’t wait for my next play.

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6
Movie Lover
Miniature Painter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan

I also would like to recommend, as coltsfan76 and Zentaur and others already have, Sentinels of the Multiverse for Avid Gamers who are seeking a co-op game. In my play group it has allowed us to enjoy long nights of gaming without the normal “nerd-rage” that can occur when an intense, and indepth game cause egos to flair. In Sentinels of the Multiverse, as well as its expansions (Rook City & Infernal Relics), eveyone can have fun as they work together to defeat the villain.

I would also suggest Arkham Horror, and its many expansion, as a great co-op strategy based game. It is a very organized and very fun game that uses also alot of strategy and thinking to acheive victory.

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9
Gamer - Level 7
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Petroglyph
Explorer - Level 3

In general I think the strength of a good coop game is that it appeals to more than 1 type of gamer. Shadows over Camelot works for avid gamers as listed, but it also works for strategy gamers because of the possibility of a traitor. Trying to work out a strategy to win and root out the traitor or make the group lose without being revealed as the traitor is very challenging. I would also recommend Defenders of the Realm for Family- it is a simple enough game to learn that adults can help children learn some of the basics of general gaming tactics, also for Strategy-With the mix of card decks there are some elements of tactics that can be figured out ahead of time, but the randomness of card order means that there is no 1 guaranteed winning strategy, and finally the Casual gamer will like it because at any given time in the game you can always go for simple and direct(kill stuff).

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3
Reviewed My First Game

I would definitely echo coltsfan76 call on Sentinels of the Multiverse for Avid Gamers, its a fanastic co-op game card with GREAT theme.

Another suggestion for that group would be Zombicide, it was definitely designed for group atmosphere in mind. Having got it through Kickstarter with all the promo miniatures, I initially wondered if we would really need so many minis. The answer is yes. It adds a strong visual element to the game and gets everyone excited.

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8
USA
Viscount / Viscountess
Novice Reviewer

Atlantis Rising is a newer fully co-op game that I can see falling into Avid. It was already suggested, so I will also proclaim my adoration of Sentinels of the Multiverse, but I am having trouble deciding between it being better as a Casual or Avid classification. Conquest of the Planet Earth is a competitive game by default but has a fully co-op mode.

Some upcoming games that are fully co-op are Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island and Legends of Andor.

I noticed that several of the games listed are not fully co-operative, such as co-ops with a traitor mechanic (Battlestar Galactica and Shadows Over Camelot). A few of the suggestions thus far are for “one vs. many” (Fury of Dracula) or “team vs. team” type games (Last Night on Earth) where members of an individual team cooperate, but there are definitely winners and losers at the end. It might be a good idea to indicate which games are fully co-op for those that dislike conflict.

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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer

@Richard Malena
Agreed on moving Pandemic to Avid as well. There are some pretty unique mechanics for the casual gamer to understand. If someone knows the game, then Casual might work for the rest of the group.

Gamer Avatar
8
I play purple
Football Fan
Movie Lover

Such a wonderful game genre!

I made a list for my friends years ago. Yours looks good so far. Some comments for those not listed in your original post:

Ghost Stories – great coop game though it can be rather difficult. Maybe more strategy than casual even though the mechanics are similar in randomness as Forbidden Island and Pandemic.

Lord of the Rings – another true coop game. Has a fixed path to Mordor boards with random cards and order of negative events. Most likely for avid category.

Fury of Dracula – haven’t played, but you play a team vs a single Dracula player. Maybe strategy is best here or avid.

Shadow Hunters – this is a team game where you have shadow players vs hunter players and some neutrals in between. Family or Casual. Very easy to pick up and relatively fast.

Bang! – another team game, but maybe seen as less obvious as coop. Casual.

Saboteur – two teams – digging gnomes with hidden traitors. Family/Social.

Last Night on Earth – again, two teams – heros vs zombies. Avid is likely most appropriate, though also Strategy.

Werewolfe – our favorite social/group coop game!!!

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8
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Subscribed to BG News
Platinum Supporter
Advanced Reviewer

@Jay Atkinson

Sounds awesome! Just started reading up on it, definitely need to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

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7
Advanced Reviewer
It's All About Me
I'm a Real Person
I'm Completely Obsessed

I love Co-ops, so this selection is right up my alley! But a quick note, is Pandemic really the best choice for Casual gamers? I’d rather drop Betrayal at House on the Hill on them, and then move Pandemic to the Avid category. I’m admittedly biased, though I haven’t yet burned my copy of the game.

I would add Elder Sign into the Casual category, and maybe Pathfinder Beginner’s Box to Avid and Story Realms to Family? I realize the point of this may not be to poke at RPG’s just yet, but since they are cooperative…

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan

@b0bb33z3r

If you’re looking for something that’s not a cakewalk, you should look at Space Hulk: Death Angel. It will eat you alive.

Also, I forgot about the upcoming Marvel: Legendary appears to be a co-op as well. Probably falls under Avid.

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5
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Denmark

There are definitely some good candidates in the list.
I’d second the recommendation of Elder Sign for casual and family gamers (there’s plenty of fun to be had cooperating to save the world from the horror lurking in the museum, and the setup and gameplay are relatively straightforward), and Mansions of Madness for avid and power gamers (gameplay can become very involved and intricate, and setup is also less than straightforward).
No, I don’t have a Lovecraft fixation; why do you ask?

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8
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@coltsfan76

Sounds great!! Definitely like that it’s “not a game for the faint of heart”, I prefer challenging games to cake walks. 🙂 Thanks!

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9
I play blue
Football Fan
USA
Advanced Reviewer

@b0bb33z3r

You should definitely look into Sentinels. This and LotR are very similar in their feel. There are obvious differences (theme of course, and some mechanics, and fixed vs variable decks) but the concept of all representing different heroes, fighting against a common set of minions with a little environmental effects thrown in for good measure is common in both games.

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8
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
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I’ve really only just discovered coop games not too long ago, so I can’t really contribute here, but I’m excited to explore many of the suggestions you guys are throwing out. I love the genre and play the heck out of Lord of the Rings: LCG, and would love to have a few more of the same type of game in my arsenal. 🙂

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan

I would also recommend “Agents of SMERSH” as a cooperative family game. It’s light yet has a story-telling aspect to it. Overall, your list of family coops looks good.

Ghost Stories seems very popular as well, but I’m not sure if it falls under Avid or Casual.

Space Hulk: Death Angel is more of an avid cooperative card game yet fast.

Gamer Avatar
6
Went to Gen Con 2012
Book Lover

Fortune and Glory can also be played cooperatively.
You and your team of intrepid explorers try to get more gold/treasures than the Nazis or Mobsters.

This is probably most fun for Casual or Avid Gamers.

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8
Gamer - Level 8
Poland

Pandemic

Gamer Avatar
9
Mask of Agamemnon
Paladin
The Gold Heart
Cooperative Game Explorer

With full and absolute certainty I say that these two you are practically forced to be cooperative:

Arkham Horror
Shadows over Camelot

Besides, I think they are the best that explore the theme of teamwork and cooperative.

Gamer Avatar
6
Z-Man Games fan
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
AEG fan
Went to Gen Con 2012

It might be worth separating Co-ops that have betrayal or a traitor in them such as The Resistance, Shadows over Camelot, and Battlestar Galactica into a subcategory. And semi-cooperative such as Mage Knight or Alcatraz.

There are also many fantasy / adventure game coops such as the Dungeon’s and Dragons board games, and the majority of the Flying Frog catalog.

As for additions to the list above I would add Sentinels of the Multiverse (the new version) and Ghost Stories. Sentinels would work for a variety of gamer types (family, casual, avid), has fantastic artwork, an engaging theme and solid game mechanics. Ghost Stories would be more suited for strategy gamers and is one of those games that is so fun that you are OK with losing (which is good because it will happen more times than not).

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