It’s a good time to focus on working together, and there are some great board games that only focus on that experience. Cooperative table gaming has been on the rise for years; a multitude of interesting options are waiting to be discovered.
Highlighted here, you will find seven very different perspectives on the cooperative gaming experience. Any one of them could suit you and your group. Most people spend a lot of time at home these days, and these selections should be ideal for family, friends, roommates, or any other group that could be isolated together.
Editor’s note: An abridged version of this article appeared for the first time in Inside Gamer magazine # 324.
Atlantis Rising (2nd edition)
Publisher: Elf Creek Games
The gods are angry! Atlantis has become too powerful with its mixture of mysticism and technology, and the island is now sinking under the waves. As rulers of this great civilization, you must build a cosmic door through which people can escape, or face defeat as the island is lost in the ocean amid endless attacks from revenge deities . Using a fascinating blend of worker placement, lucky shooters and dice throwing mechanisms, it is a game of tension and thoughtful planning, filled with evocative art and captivating surroundings, designed to to seven players can enjoy as a group.
On each turn, the most precious spaces to collect new resources fall into the sea, requiring difficult choices as to where you go to gather the essential parts necessary for the manufacture of the door. As a bonus, Atlantis Rising also supports a wide range of player accounts, from solitaire play to up to seven simultaneous teammates. If you’re looking for a cooperative game unlike anything you’ve played before, it’s worth trying to save this doomed civilization.
Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons
DC’s best-known superhero finally has a great game to call hers. In this brand new cooperative adventure for two to five players, Wonder Woman teams up with her Amazon comrades to face Ares and Cheetah. The game takes place on the mythical island of Themyscira, and requires all players to capitalize on their unique abilities as they collect ancient and powerful relics like the Lasso of Truth. Challenge of the Amazons features an extremely clever design: players can strategize together at the start of a turn, but additional card options come into play after combat begins, representing each character’s fighting instincts, sometimes allowing to an individual player the plan to adopt a brilliant strategy on their own. The Wonder Woman board game features beautiful illustrations and character components, including particularly striking bronze-colored miniatures that give the whole affair the appropriate mythological flair.
Publisher: Repos Production
Based on the mechanics of the classic cooperative board game, Ghost Stories, Last Bastion throws you and your friends like powerful fantasy heroes in an ancient fortress as hordes of undead monsters and demons attack the walls. Playable in about an hour, Last Bastion is one of those rare games that offers an accessible learning curve, but is also carefully balanced to be difficult to win. Robust components and eye-catching miniatures help bring the game to life, although smart-paced turns and limited action choices demand tough, almost constant decisions for every player at the table. Win or lose, the constant feeling of invasive danger perfectly captures the mood of the desperate final against all odds. One to four players can take advantage of an attempt to maintain the fort.
Publisher: Triton Noir
Do you have a group of military history enthusiasts? Then the V-Commandos could be the right solution. This engaging and tense strategic game for up to four players embodies players as World War II commandos from a variety of Allied nations, dispatched to accomplish specialized goals in the theater of war. Your commandos are always outnumbered and must move stealthily but quickly to accomplish their tasks, then get out alive. Tons of randomly dropped items (like German uniforms for disguise or additional weapons) add variety to the experience. It’s great fun to watch the game transform from a cautious stealth approach into a wild action shootout as enemy soldiers invade the area.
V-Commandos have a simple approach to action and turns, so the focus can remain on the unique capabilities of your different soldiers, as well as on forming a coherent strategy to address each objective. The modular tile-based map allows for a wide range of potential scenarios, and the game includes dozens of terrains to tackle in Quickplay format; once you know the game, you can cross the pitches in about 30 minutes. For more ambitious gaming sessions, you can tackle an entire linked land operation. Fast-paced, tactical and steeped in the flavor of WWII action movies, the V-Commandos are well worth a commitment.
Arkham Horror (3rd edition)
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Arkham Horror holds an important place in the history and popularization of cooperative play. Not only have previous editions helped fuel the growth of cooperative gaming, but gaming (and the RPG Call of Cthulhu that inspired it) also deserves much credit for the growing popularity of the Cthulhu myth in the hobby. of table. The third most recent edition of the game is a worthy follow-up, keeping the focus on existential horror, narrative choices and progression, and the constant feeling that defeat is upon us. But the revision also offers a streamlined game with faster overall gaming sessions, a modular card that allows for more varied configurations and an approach to scenarios that leads to more dramatic changes during the session.
As in previous versions, players play the role of investigators who have come together to stop the rise of an ancient and impenetrable evil in the small town of Arkham, in New England. Up to six players move between locations, confronting encounters and uncovering clues, even as they confront each other in a battle against horrific cultists and monsters. For groups who like the tension of always being defeated, and the feeling that their characters are barely alive, Arkham Horror offers exciting defeats, and from time to time, a slim and satisfying victory .
Publisher: Repos Productions
If simple board games are your thing, but you want a cooperative option in the mix, then go ahead and grab a copy of Just One as soon as possible. This incredibly simple but deeply fun word game challenges players to work together to guess a series of mystery words. A player draws a card (without looking at it) that contains the word mystery, and the other players must write a clue that will help that player guess what the word is. The twist is that all repeated clues are disqualified – so you need to think carefully about how to help. Try to get as many successful mystery word guesses in a series of 13 cards, and see how you do it!
Just One is one of those games that you can remove and start playing, almost without introducing any rules at all. And, unlike many board games, it is not competitive, which can be very attractive to certain groups of players. You will need three to seven players for this to work.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Publisher: Z-Man Games
A long catalog of games awaits players wishing to explore the Pandemic series of games. While a game from one of these games may touch a little too close to home given the current health crisis, other players will find that the themes of Pandemic cooperation to overcome an outbreak of disease around the world are a stimulating experience in the current situation.
While Z-Man has produced a number of games in the series, Pandemic Legacy deserves special recognition for its depth and long-term gaming possibilities. Players work together as doctors and scientists to limit epidemics and find cures, traveling the world to troubled cities even as the pandemic continues to spread. Unlike other games in the series, Pandemic Legacy has a story and related events that take place over several game sessions. The results of one session are carried over to the next and create an emerging story unique to the game. your group. It is a lot of fun, exciting and a great option for groups of players who want something to come back for several nights of sequential play. If you really like it, season 2 is also available, continuing the story of mankind’s struggles against the disease, but taking place decades later.
There is no shortage of great cooperative games to try these days, and I’ve only highlighted a few of my recent favorites here. Feel free to recommend your favorite cooperative board games in the comments below, or if you’re looking for something different, feel free to email me for a personalized recommendation. Good game!