Board games are a blast, and it’s a shame that they’ve fallen somewhat out of favor as a recreational activity. Whether it’s an old classic like Monopoly, or a newer game, board games offer great opportunities for bonding, laughs, and fun with those you are close to, whether friends or family.
So in the spirit of enjoying yourself with friends and family, we’re taking a look at some of the best cooperative board games available on the market today. Unlike more traditional games such as Risk or Sorry! Where friends and family are pitted against each other, these modern, innovative games are designed in the spirit of jolly co-operation, allowing you and your friends or family to succeed (and sometimes fail) as a team.
We’ll go over some basics about what to look for, and then give you product recommendations for the top cooperative games on the market, and help you find out which ones are right for you.
Consider This When Buying Cooperative Board Games
Here are a few helpful tips that will help you choose a great cooperative board game.
- Age Range. Age range is quite important when shopping for a cooperative board game.
- Younger players will have an exceedingly difficult time cooperating and playing correctly if they’re playing a game that’s just too far outside their skill and development level, leading to frustration among the other players – after all, since you work together, everyone has to be on the same page.
- Similarly, older players may grow bored if a game is designed exclusively for kids, even if the kids are having a blast, and may lose interest. Because of this, it’s important to know what age range you’re looking for when buying a cooperative board game – is this for the grandkids? Is this for your family? Is this for you and your friends to play over beers? The best co op board games maintain a fairly broad appeal, and can be played by ages.
- Number of Supported Players. This is the next most important aspect to game selection. If you are planning on playing with a large group, some members of your group may feel left out if you don’t have a game that allows most of them to play – or at least gives them the option to choose not to. So bear the amount of players you’re anticipating in mind as you look through these choices, and make a decision.
Top 10 Cooperative Board Games Table
Here are a few extra tips that will help you choose the right cooperative board game.
- Play Time. Beyond age range and amount of players, the length of play of any particular game is another factor to consider strongly when purchasing a new game. A game that’s 60+ minutes long may be appropriate if you know you’re going to be playing with people who will take it seriously, and have time to spare – but it’s probably not best for younger players, or in situations where you don’t have as much time with which to play. Most of these games take under 30 minutes for a full game, but some stretch to 60+, so that’s another important factor to take into account as you look at our table and read our reviews.
- Challenge and Fun. Some of the best cooperative board games on our list are meant to be quite hard to win – meaning that you won’t be able to succeed every time you play them, and often it takes great cooperation and skill to “win” the game. This is fun for people who enjoy a challenge, but some who are just seeking to relax may get frustrated. In our reviews, we’ll note the relative difficulty of each choice, and if you want to know how easy or challenging a particular game is, we recommend checking out further Amazon product reviews.
Top 3 Best Cooperative Board Games Reviews
If you’re planning on buying a board game primarily for younger kids, this game by Peaceable Kingdom – a board game manufacturer that specializes almost exclusively on co-op games for young kids – is definitely your best choice. It aids children in the development of basic math skills, conceptual strategies, and social development, all while the cute art direction and fun gameplay mechanics create a warm and friendly environment for all the players.
Gameplay is fairly simple – a combination of dice rolls and strategic choices to move along a set path, and beat an ogre, who is racing with you, to the treasure. If you reach the treasure before the ogre, you win!
Just as with all co-op games, this game must be played cooperatively to win, and there are no individual winners or losers – players win together, or not at all, so there’s never anyone who is picked on or left out, and it’s generally only about a 20 minute game, so it’ll hold the attention of young kids easily.
This game is designed to be played with 2-4 players, so it’s not as appropriate for larger groups, but if you’re looking to get the kids something fun to play while adults work on other, more complex games, or just distract them for a while, this is one of the best co op games on the market today.
Castle Panic is designed to be an approachable game, but suitable for all ages above 10 years old. Younger players may enjoy the game, but may lack the developmental skills needed to play, so it’s better for an older audience.
The concept is relatively simple – it’s a board and card based game, and each player is a “defender” of the castle, drawing cards, slaying monsters, and moving their pieces in an attempt to prevent the monsters from breaching the castle. If the castle is destroyed, the players all lose – if the monsters are fought back, they win.
This game can be played with 1-6 players, and offers a longer, 60-minute average gameplay experience, and it also features customizable rules – you can increase or decrease the difficulty based on age, board game experience, and desire for a challenge. It can also be played as a solitaire game, unlike some other choices on our list, making it one of the most varied and versatile options in our table.
This game by Z-Man Games is a serious challenge – designed for older teens and adults, this 2-4 player game pits your team against a worldwide pandemic that’s spreading, and forces you to work together as each of you take on a different role, each just as essential as the other to defeating the spread of the deadly virus.
Each player takes on the role of a different character with different strengths – Scientist, Operations Specialist, and others. Each character must understand their role and play it to their best ability in order to defeat the spread of the global virus, and the game is quite difficult and longer – 60+ minutes for each session, so it’s not suited for younger players, or impatient people without any board game experience.
However, if you’re willing to learn the game, you’ll have a blast with this unique and challenging game, and it’s so popular that there are over 5 separate expansions for it – so you won’t get tired of this game any time soon, making it one of the best cooperative board games on the market for adults and game-lovers.