The 17 Best Cooperative Board Games to Play as a Team

Want to play together instead of against each other? These fun cooperative board games won't rip your group apart!
The 17 Best Cooperative Board Games to Play as a Team

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Board games are often seen as competitive activities where one player emerges as victor while the rest sulk in defeat.

But over the past decade, we've seen so many great cooperative board games appear. That's right! An entire genre of board games where players work together to beat the game itself.

Cooperative board games are less likely to rip a group of friends apart. Instead, they may actually help you and your friends form closer bonds as you collaborate and develop teamwork towards success.

So, here are my picks for the best cooperative board games! I tried to include a wide variety of genres and mechanics because there are so many great cooperative board games worth playing.

17. Mysterium

Designed by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko

Supports 3 to 7 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.2 on BGG

If you've ever played Dixit and wanted a cooperative style of that gameplay, Mysterium is what you've been looking for.

In Mysterium, one player is a ghost who can't speak at all. They communicate with players by passing out Vision cards, which are vague pictures that represent flashes of imagery.

Each non-ghost player has their own murder mystery that they need to solve, and they use the Vision cards to deduce the location, weapon, and person involved in their case.

Mysterium is an immersive experience that isn't difficult to learn, making it a great option for families and casual board gaming groups.

16. Letter Jam

Designed by Ondra Skoupý

Supports 2 to 6 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.2 on BGG

Letter Jam is one of the best cooperative word games if you're looking for something meatier and thinkier than party-style word games.

In Letter Jam, every player has a hidden word that they need to figure out—but they can only work on a single letter at a time.

Players sit in a circle and every player has one letter facing "outwards" toward everyone else, meaning no one can see their own letters but can see everyone else's letters.

Using the letters you can see, you'll take turns giving clues to everyone else by using their letters to spell out words—and those other players will need to deduce their own letters based on the words offered.

15. Betrayal at House on the Hill (3rd Edition)

Designed by Bruce Glassco

Supports 3 to 6 players

About 60 to 90 minutes

7.4 on BGG

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a unique entry on this list of cooperative board games because it starts off as a cooperative experience, but later the Haunt takes place and one person becomes a traitor.

In this game, you'll be exploring a haunted mansion one room at a time, and each room is only revealed as you venture deeper into the shadows. The layout of the mansion is new and random every time.

As you explore, you'll trigger different Events, face various Omens, and acquire different Items to aid you. After the Haunt, it's everyone against the traitor—and there are 50 different Haunt scenarios, each with its own gameplay and win conditions.

Note: In 2022, Betrayal at House on the Hill came out with its 3rd Edition with streamlined rules, smoother gameplay, and improved art and components. It's the version I recommend.

14. Forbidden Desert

Designed by Matt Leacock

Supports 1 to 5 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.1 on BGG

Forbidden Island is a solid cooperative board game for newbies to the hobby, but Forbidden Desert is the better game. It's a bit more complex, more difficult, and more satisfying when you win.

In Forbidden Desert, everyone takes on a role with special abilities and must work together to survive the blistering sands. Your goal is to locate the four missing airship parts, assemble them, and escape.

This is such a fantastic cooperative game because the sands are constantly shifting—not to mention the devastating sandstorms—so you're always on the edge of disaster and you really feel like you can't survive to the end on your own.

13. Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Designed by Kevin Lanzing

Supports 1 to 6 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.2 on BGG

You probably haven't seen this theme before: you're all firefighters working together to save people from within a burning house.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a puzzly cooperative board game that involves navigating smoke, busting down doors, carrying victims outside, and managing flames to keep them from spiraling out of control.

Things can get pretty intense, especially when fires keep exploding across the house. It really feels like you're rescuing people and the theme comes through so strongly. If you want a cooperative game where the stakes feel real, Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a solid pick.

12. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Designed by Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, and Andrew Wolf

Supports 2 to 4 players

About 30 to 60 minutes

7.4 on BGG

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a cooperative deckbuilding game where you'll be using your dynamic decks to fend off the infamous villains.

What's interesting about Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is that the game's cards are split into Game 1 through Game 7, which represent the seven years that Harry spent at Hogwarts—and each set of cards introduces new spells and villains corresponding to those books.

You start with Game 1 and add subsequent Game decks as you win. When you reach the end, you can mix and match them however you want to play the game however you like best.

And while Harry Potter fans will find joy in all the different references throughout, it's still a fun game even if you've never read the books or watched the movies!

11. Marvel Zombies: Heroes' Resistance

Designed by Fabio Cury and Michael Shinall

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 45 to 90 minutes

7.9 on BGG

Marvel Zombies: Heroes' Resistance is one of the latest iterations on the Zombicide system, this time with a Marvel theme.

In Marvel Zombies: Heroes' Resistance, you play as Marvel heroes who are up against a zombie apocalypse. There are several scenarios to play through, each one with its own hazards and win conditions.

One of the biggest complaints about Zombicide games is that they tend to be prohibitively expensive. Marvel Zombies: Heroes' Resistance is far more affordable and a wonderful entry point to Zombicide gameplay.

10. Horrified

Designed by Prospero Hall

Supports 1 to 5 players

About 45 to 90 minutes

7.7 on BGG

Horrified is one of the best cooperative board games for people new to the hobby—it's easy to learn, fun to play, and it's wrapped in a theme that everyone can relate to: Universal Monsters!

We're talking Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man, and more. Each game of Horrified is played with one or more of these famous monsters, who are threatening your quaint little town of villagers.

Each monster has its own unique gameplay elements and win conditions, which leads to all kinds of replayability based on how you combine them. Plus, you can adjust the difficulty by increasing or decreasing the number of monsters you play with.

9. Switch & Signal

Designed by David Thompson

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.2 on BGG

Most train board games are puzzly in nature, but Switch & Signal is one of the few train board games that's fully cooperative.

In this pick-up-and-deliver game, trains will be appearing and riding down various rail routes. Your job is to control the various switches and signals along those routes to direct those trains properly.

There are several cities that will need to be visited to pick up goods, and then those goods need to be safely delivered to Marseilles. You have to do this before the event deck runs out (and if trains get stuck or collide too many times, the event deck will deplete faster).

Switch & Signal is one of the best cooperative puzzle-style board games because it encourages teamwork without rewarding "alpha gamer" personalities who want to tell everyone what to do on their turns.

8. Paleo

Designed by Peter Rustemeyer

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 45 to 60 minutes

7.7 on BGG

Paleo is a cooperative board game where you play as a small tribe of cavemen living in the wild. Your goal isn't just to survive—your goal is to thrive by rising up and completing a cave painting.

In this game, you'll be exploring the environments, hunting animals, gathering resources, and making tough decisions that you'll be forced to make when unfortunate events befall you.

Resources are used to build tools and develop skills, but players may also need to sacrifice their opportunities to acquire resources in order to help another player and work together on certain tasks.

Paleo is truly cooperative in every way, and the efforts of that cooperation shine through at the end when you can stand back and admire the finished cave painting—assuming your tribe has survived.

7. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Designed by Isaac Childres

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 30 to 120 minutes

8.5 on BGG

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is thematically a dungeon crawler, but the gameplay itself plays out like a hand management puzzle. Smart use of cards from your dwindling deck is key to victory.

While Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a fantastic solo experience, it's always more fun with a partner or two. Together, you can advance through the different scenarios and live out your shared story through the decisions you make as a team.

Level up your characters, acquire new loot and gear, and see how well you can progress through the content-packed campaign.

6. The Crew: Mission Deep Sea

Designed by Thomas Sing

Supports 2 to 5 players

About 5 to 15 minutes

8.2 on BGG

If you're in search of a cooperative game that's purely cards, you won't find any that's better than The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.

This is a trick-taking game where you're all working together to help each other win certain tricks. A random set of task cards are dealt at the start of a hand, which determines how the tricks need to be won.

Maybe you need to win a trick using a Blue 5. Maybe you need to win every 7 card. Or maybe you can't win any tricks at all.

The catch is that players can't communicate at all—except by using a single-use token that lets you reveal a card and mark it as either your HIGHEST of that color, LOWEST of that color, or ONLY of that color.

The Crew: Mission Deep Sea elevates the trick-taking card game genre to a new level and forces players to synchronize in ways that few other cooperative board games manage.

5. Just One

Designed by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter

Supports 3 to 7 players

About 20 to 30 minutes

7.6 on BGG

Just One is a brilliant party-style word game that feels a lot like Scattergories, except everyone is working together.

Every turn, one player is the guesser who needs to guess their target word for the turn. Every other player knows the target word, and they each secretly write a one-word clue for the guesser.

But before the guesser can see those clues, the clues are compared—and if the same one-word clues were given by multiple people, they're all negated and removed. The guesser only gets the remaining clues.

As simple as it sounds, Just One is surprisingly engaging and a lot of fun. Everyone always has something to contribute, there's often a lot of laughing, and no single person can ever be blamed for losing a turn.

4. Marvel Champions: The Card Game

Designed by Michael Boggs

Supports 1 to 3 players

About 45 to 90 minutes

8.1 on BGG

Marvel Champions: The Card Game is exactly that: a cooperative card game where you each play as a Marvel champion.

In this deck construction game, each Marvel champion has a preconstructed deck of action cards, but you're free to build your own decks using the cards in the base game plus any expansion packs.

Together, you'll be up against one of several Marvel villains and using your cards to fight off minions and thwart the villain's master plans.

The base game comes with four champions (Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Spider-Man) and two villains (Rhino and Ultron). Include all the expansion packs and the possibilities become endless!

3. Adventure Tactics: Domianne's Tower

Designed by Nicholas Yu

Supports 1 to 5 players

About 45 to 90 minutes

7.9 on BGG

If you've ever wanted to play Final Fantasy Tactics in board game form, this is the game. Adventure Tactics: Domianne's Tower is exactly that with its tactical grid-based card-centric scenarios and multi-classing character progression.

Together as a party, you'll be advancing through the campaign and story, earning rewards and leveling up to unlock new abilities that get added to your personal deck of cards.

There are five Basic Classes and you're free to advance in any of them whenever you level up. Certain combinations of Basic Classes allow you to become Elite Classes with unique powers (e.g. Cleric 1 + Rogue 1 + Archer 1 = Demon Hunter).

While the campaign doesn't change much with replays, it's fun to try new character/class combinations to see how well you do. In that sense, it's very much like Final Fantasy Tactics!

2. Tales From the Red Dragon Inn

Designed by Geoff Bottone, Jennifer Kitzman, Jeff Morrow, and Sam Waller

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 60 to 120 minutes

8.5 on BGG

Tales From the Red Dragon Inn is a cooperative dungeon crawl board game for up to four players. You'll be adventuring across dozens of scenarios, fighting monsters, looting items, and leveling up your characters.

The scenarios are primarily tactical combat encounters that involve moving around grid-based maps and playing cards from your hand to take actions. As you progress through the campaign, you'll acquire more cards to add to your personal decks.

Based on the characters from previous The Red Dragon Inn games, Tales From the Red Dragon Inn is a wonderfully immersive and engrossing experience that's great for any board gaming group that can reliably get together on a regular basis.

1. Spirit Island

Designed by R. Eric Reuss

Supports 1 to 4 players

About 90 to 120 minutes

8.4 on BGG

To this day, there's no board game quite like Spirit Island. It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but it provides one of the greatest cooperative board gaming experiences of all time.

Spirit Island has you playing as elemental Spirits who are trying to fend off invaders from colonizing your island. The invaders are relentless—but if you can strike enough fear into their hearts, they'll leave.

The beauty of Spirit Island is that it isn't very complex to learn, but it has complex decisions that really make you think. You're just playing a few cards every turn, but the cards and the game systems are so exquisitely designed that every decision involves many considerations.

Not to mention the Spirits, which each have their own unique mechanics that change how they approach the board, and they synergize with each other in various ways. No two Spirits are alike, no two games are alike.

Spirit Island is the ultimate cooperative board game because you're each dealing with your own areas of the island, but your actions directly influence what happens across the island. It's a uniquely intriguing balance of both solo and group play.