Best Cooperative Board Games For 2022
As a very important dinosaur once said, “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”. Even though the actor that played that dinosaur now works as a tantric sex guru, that message still stands. If there’s one thing, that’s going to get us through this screaming threshing madness of a year, it’s working together. Why not practice a little cooperation with some board games.
Cooperative games are a huge part of the board gaming industry and their premise is simple. Instead of working competitively for personal glory, the best way to win is you work as a team to try and conquer the puzzle presented to you by the game itself.
Either winning as one happy family or failing as one big gaggle of losers, they’re a great way to get into the hobby. They’re more inclusive than competitive games that require you to show off your strategic Sherlock Holmes skills straight off the bat.
Fun fact, the first hobby board game I ever played was a co-op game. You could be damn sure it is on this list. This is the collection starter and this time we’re bringing you the best co-op games to provide a fun game night.
Traveling with the family? Keep yourself sane with this list of the best travel board games
Ravensburger might sound like they’re a street food vendor in D&D, but they’re one of the biggest names in puzzles and also pumping out some of the greatest movie tie in board games going right now. Villainous and Jaws are two recent hits for them, but their best of recent years is without a doubt Horrified.
It is such a simple game, you’re being attacked by some of the universal monsters, Dracula, wolf, man, the mummy, the invisible man you know the lads. You have to work together to collect items, evade attacks and send them back to their Jesus. There are only a handful of things you can do on your turn, so it’s super easy for anyone to pick up, and depending on what combo of new cards or monsters you’re fighting you’ll get a different experience. So it’s really re-playable making it a perfect game for anyone even slightly into horror.
This game was almost featured on last week’s list of party games, but it is technically a co-op game, so I’m featuring it here. I know it’s fascinating reasoning. One of the super light best games for large groups. One of your team has to guess a word, a word which everyone else knows, thankfully there is no time limit so you can use some deductive reasoning here.
Let’s say that word is “pool”. Everyone else has to write a one-word clue to help that other team member guess. The word “pool” sounds simple, but Just One has a cruel little trick. Everyone writes their clue down without conferring, then shows them to each other. If more than one person has written the same clue, that clue is removed from the game entirely. So if three people write the word swimming, that clue is gone forever, leaving the guesser with three fewer clues to work with, which means you have to come up with clues that are obscure enough so everyone else doesn’t come up with it too.
But not so obscure that the poor player that doesn’t know the word has a hard time of it. Add to the fact that you’re all trying to work together towards a common goal, whilst accidentally undoing each other’s work – it’s delicious. It’s so good at tripping you up that it gives you that, “just one more game” itch. It has also won the prestigious Spell Dussehra game of the year award in 2019. So yeah, it’s good, y’all.
Chronicles of Crime
Nothing brings the family together at Christmas, like solving a horrible murder “pass the turkey mother” “I think I put it next to the crime scene photos”. For anyone who’s ever played and loved a point-and-click adventure game this is for you. The only way to win is as a team you have to work together to solve cases against the clock. Amassing clues, combining them with suspects and locations, making notes, debating where the best place to go next is, as the seconds tick away.
It’s similar to an escape room, but with one extra bit of flare. The game uses your phone not only to scan clues with Q.R. codes and interrogate suspects, but also to present you with a crime scene that you move your phone around to view in 360 degrees. You can even get V.R. glasses for it. It’s the closest board gaming has come to replicating a video game, which is a great way to trick those video gamers in your life into the hobby. It’s intensely satisfying to solve these surprisingly bloody crimes. Ding dong merrily on die.
Love a good murder mystery? Then you’ll love the list of games board games like Clue
Sentinels of the Multiverse
Non-copyrighted, legally distinct facsimiles of the avengers congregate. The whole hook of the MCU is big beefy bastion’s of basic decency, cooperating against a big bad. That’s what Sentinels of the Multiverse recreates in the form of an ace card game. All of you play a different superhero with completely unique abilities and a completely different deck of cards. You must team up with your fellow players to take on a super villain with their own deck, that’s randomly shuffled but guaranteed to relentlessly kick your good time right in its outerwear underwear.
Minions are deployed, lasers are fired, has the same escalating stress of a climactic superhero super brawl only with fewer murdered parents, which is always a bonus like most great co-ops. Everyone works together, but everyone has different powers which works to make everyone in the team feel like they’re, contributing in different ways. It also encourages you to combine sequences and moves in fun, avengers style ways. It doesn’t get talked about enough these days, not nearly as much as it deserves, but for comic fans trying to get into board gaming it’s got everything you love.
Mansions of Madness
Now the point of the top cooperative board games collection starter and in fact the point of phenomens in general, is to get people who might not know a huge amount about board games into the hobby! As such, we’re trying not to feature too many big boxes on this list. Spoilers Gloomhaven is not on this list because it’s so big, it comes with its own health and safety lifting seminar.
Mansions of Madness, a co-op game set in the Lovecraft cinematic universe, is one of the biggest boxes in gaming with an equally hefty price tag. But – and this is a Cthulhu size but – it’s actually pretty simple to play because all the games, actions, set up, puzzling and board maintenance happens through an app other than the 20 minutes it takes to get everything out of the box.
The game’s got a pretty simple action system perfect for first time family game nights. You either move, interact, or fight and most situations are solved by rolling dice. It’s also – and I probably should have led with this, BRILLIANT! If you like atmospheric games, the kind you can role play, turn the lights down low, put some horror music on in the background, get fully immersed in a gradually unfolding horror plot that ramps up in intensity. Then this is definitely worth splashing out on! Possibly one of the greatest thematic games of all time and being bound against the forces of nameless terror is a brilliant co-op experience!
You know when war based video games try to be profound by plopping a “oh gosh wasn’t war a faff” quote on screen whenever you die? Well, the grizzled actually manages to pull off the difficult job of being respectfully somber, but also one of the popular games set in world war one. You are a band of soldiers going on missions battling the cold, the rain, the paranoia, the stress and also you know the bullets. What’s so affecting about the game is that it starts relatively easy, full of hope, daring doing this is going to be fun, but then missions go wrong.
People end up with conditions that affect their ability to play. The number of cards you can play without failing the mission gets fewer and fewer and claustrophobia starts to set in as hope, dwindles further and further away. It’s tense, brutal and challenging making the rare moments of peace and triumph feel even greater against a backdrop of misery. Beautifully created with cards bearing simple evocative artwork: a tiny, relatively cheap little box, but a very rewarding game of survival against all possible odds.
The Crew Quest for Planet Nine
Possibly the hottest new board game on this list right now. The Crew won the 2019 golden geek award for best co-op game, as well as a 2020 Deutscher Spielepreis, which is basically the gamers game of the year. That being said, it’s a bit of a rulesy game, especially if you’re not familiar with trick taking as a rule. But if you are, or you’re willing to learn, it is so worth persevering with.
As it’s a white knuckle enjoyable experience when it’s cooking a bit like the grizzle, it’s about completing missions by playing cards. But you can’t talk freely about what’s in your hand. You can only leave limited clues and the rest is strategy and deduction. Unlike some co-op games, where the loudest and most experienced gamer can take over and tell everyone what to do There’s no way to do that here.
Everyone needs to be on their game for a mission to succeed that may be a little too tense for first-time gamers, but people looking for a challenge will not find a more satisfying win out there than The Crew Quest for Planet Nine.
In last week’s list about party games. We talked about Dixit a great game about communicating via cards with gorgeous trippy art. Mysterium takes Dixit it throws a whole bunch of Clue in there and ramps everything up a level, especially the artwork!
Genuinely you could frame any of these and hang them on your wall. In Mysterium you’re all psychics communicating with a ghost who’s one of the players. On the table are a whole bunch of suspects, locations, murder weapons. Each sidekick has their own suspect, location and murder weapon they need to find which the ghost knows and he has to try and tell them who’s theirs is without talking, using these beautiful cards.
You feel like an actual psychic detective, trying to translate this vision into a message. Well, the ghost has shown me a picture of a woman in a hat. Maybe it’s this suspect in the hat I’m supposed to guess or there’s a giant fish, so maybe I’m the cook. I suppose that fish would also count as big games.
So maybe I’m the hunter all while everyone else is talking and offering suggestions and trying to help each other, trying and failing to work out. How we interpret signals will never not be funny and at that, Mysterium is one of the all-time greats! There’s a smaller “quicker to set up” sequel coming out very soon called Mysterium Park similar to the original game, which you should also absolutely check out!
Exit The Game
Exit the Game feels like cheating to an entire run of games in one entry, but this is my list, so I guess you can do one. There are many great co-op board games out there that try to recreate that feeling of doing an escape room, Unlock is a very popular escape room. The board game comes with a glorious component called a Chrono decoder, but the best your money can buy are the exit game series. Each one comes in a small box about $10 $15 and provides an hour or two’s of puzzling, riddling and brain teasing new challenges.
What makes the exit game so superior is not just the quality of the puzzles themselves, but also the methods with which they’re worked out. The different scenarios require you to spot the difference in a picture. Some need you to take notes. Some require you to cut up and fold the game manual itself. These games are perfect for couples looking for something different to do on a night in the abandoned cabins. A great place to start, but really all of them have a fun twist to offer personal favorite dead man on the orient express. Not only are you solving puzzles, escape room style but you’re also solving a murder, puerto style magic.
Putting this as anything other than number one would be considered a crime and the board game police would come and take my collection away. It’s not the first co-op player game, but Pandemic is indisputably the base game that launched the co-operative game into what it’s become today. The game board is complex enough to provide a taxing, stressful challenge, but also approachable enough to bridge the gap between hobby gaming and the mainstream. Pandemic is one of the most dominant franchises in the hobby and with good reason, it has great replay value making it my favorite cooperative board games. In a game mechanic that bears borderline, uncomfortable closeness to real world events.
Four diseases are raging across the globe. and your team, each of you with your own special abilities, must work together to prevent outbreaks chaining across the planet, as the clock ticks ever closer to worldwide collapse. Splitting up, swapping cards, strategizing about the most efficient way to curb the spread. It is a formative experience for many gamers, including me.
It was my first proper hobby game I ever played and it takes up a special place in my heart. For that reason, it’s also one of the tightest, tensest, most exciting board game designs of all time and if you haven’t played it, do try to change that! If you enjoyed it and wish it were longer then might I also suggest Pandemic Legacy! The same rules apply, it’s just a longer version of the original board game.
That’s our coop board games list. The are some of the best board games for family members and friends alike! What do you think is the best cooperative game that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments!