A lot of people think of board games as a head-to-head activity where each player is tasked with taking out their opponents for their own benefit.
But there’s actually an entirely different type of board game where each player works together in an attempt to best some sort of greater problem.
These cooperative board games won’t rip a group of friends apart like some games. Instead, these games will actually help you and your friends form a closer bond as you work together to solve a problem.
Not only are these games good for bonding, but they’re incredibly fun. If you and your friends love board games (or you have a group of friends you’re trying to turn onto board games), these cooperative games are perfect for you.
When it comes to cooperative board games, few are as beloved as Gloomhaven. The game has a staggering 8.9 on BoardGameGeek, which is extremely high. It’s one of those games that’s meant to be played over the course of numerous play sessions, giving your character time to grow and your story a chance to develop. The card system is innovative, and the story feels a bit like a choose your own adventure book.
Horrified is a game about survival. The players are being stalked by the infamous Universal Monsters, and they need to fulfill certain requirements to bring the monsters down before the monsters get them and the villagers they’re trying to protect. Each of the seven monsters has its own mechanics, with some being more difficult than others. This creates some fantastic replay value.
If you haven’t heard of Pandemic, I have to assume you’ve been living under the proverbial rock, because this is one of the first cooperative board games most players are introduced to. The game is well over 10 years old, and it remains incredibly popular all this time later. In this game of world-ending disease, each player takes on a different role, creating plenty of different strategies and ways to play.
Mysterium is another game that’s been very well-reviewed by BGG, coming with a solid 7.4 rating. One thing that makes Mysterium a fantastic option is the fact that it’s not too difficult to learn, so even if you and your friends are casual board game players, you should be able to dig in and enjoy the ghostly experience. If you like Clue, but want a game with more depth, Mysterium is perfect for you.
Betrayal at House on the Hill is an interesting game because it starts out as a coop game and evolves into an asymmetrical head-to-head game where one player becomes the bad guy. Players are tasked with exploring and designing a mansion while one player ends up betraying the group, leading to a second phase of the game where the remaining players are forced to take down the backstabber. It’s incredibly fun, and it almost feels like playing two separate games.
Zombiecide is kind of like the video game Left for Dead in board game form. Each player takes on the role of a survivor, and they work together to live through attacks from hordes of zombies. It has lots of replay value with multiple scenarios, the ability to download more from the developer, or the ability to create your own. It has a solid 7.2 on BoardGameGeek, which definitely makes it worth playing for anyone who loves zombies and cooperative board games.
Spirit Island is one of the better-reviewed coop games on BGG with a rating of 8.3. It’s also one of the heaviest games in terms of difficulty, so this is one you’re going to want to save for your more experienced board game friends. Each player is a spirit of the land with its own special powers. They are attempting to defend their island from conquering invaders.
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