6 Cooperative Games to Play at Home
Feeling cooped up? Add teamwork to your game night rotation
Board games are a great way to pass the extra time inside these days, but sometimes a competitive game just won’t cut it. Maybe your group is overly competitive, or you can already cut the tension in the house with a knife. Whatever the case, we’re here with some recommendations for cooperative games that won’t pit you against your friends. We’re all in this together, so here are 6 games you win or lose as a team!
Remember the good ol’ days of reading and rereading Choose Your Own Adventure books by flashlight until you exhausted all possible paths through the story? We worked with Chooseco to adapt the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books into board games, and these ones are easy to play remotely as long as one player doesn’t mind managing the components.
Currently there are two games in the series: House of Danger, a spooky foray into the mysterious Marsden Mansion, and War with the Evil Power Master, a campy sci-fi adventure that takes you from planet to planet as you attempt to thwart the Evil Power Master’s schemes. Both can be played solo, or with up to 8 players if you’d rather host a virtual party.
Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger, $24.99 USD
Choose Your Own Adventure: War with the Evil Power Master, $24.99 USD
The game is afoot! If you fancy yourself a real Sherlock, see how well your teamwork and detective skills hold up against the Great Detective in this cooperative game for 2–4 players. Taking the roles of various of Doyle’s classic characters, you’ll have to match evidence cards in your hand with leads on the board, but the difficulty is, you can only see other players’ cards, not your own.
Use your powers of deduction and communication to follow the right leads, and you’ll be well on your way to beating Sherlock Holmes at his own game. Can you work together to solve the case before he does?
Beyond Baker Street, $29.99 USD
The citadel is under siege! You and your friends are the city’s last hope to stem the tide of the invading hordes in this castle defense game for 1–4 players. Coordinate your strategy and use mana to clear enemies before they can overrun the castle walls. You’ll have to strike a balance between channeling mana, moving through the city, and defeating enemies to withstand the impending onslaught!
Once you’ve mastered the standard game, up the ante with unique scenarios and more formidable enemies to test your resolve. Clearing enemies will grant you powerful spells, but they must be played at the right moment to turn the tide of battle in your favor. Only by working together can you outlast the siege!
Bastion, $49.99 USD
Your own customizable dinosaur zoo + a twelve-piece sliding puzzle = this quick, quirky card game! While the base game of Mesozooic pits players against each other to create the best dino zoo, the Jurassic Mini Expansion adds a cooperative mode where you work as a team to reach objectives together. (It also adds 8 delightful mascots for hire to entertain your visitors!)
And if you want even more ways to play, there are rules variants for solo, 2-player, and Megazooic modes, plus to the Triassic Mini Expansion, which includes new advanced features to add to your zoo. Play it timed or untimed, cooperative or competitive, solo or together—Mesozooic has as many gameplay options as it has adorable, derpy dinosaurs.
Experience the mysterious dreamscape that is the Oniverse! This lovely series of puzzly co-op games is specifically designed for solo players or pairs, and each game in the series features unique mechanics and challenges as you weave your way through the Oniverse’s distinct otherworldly realms.
Wander a nightmarish labyrinth searching for the right door in Onirim. Protect the grand forest from the great Ravage and his Fire Elementals in Sylvion. Build defensive formations against the dreaded Menace in Castellion. Take to the seas in Nautilion or build a wonderous sky fleet in Aerion. With simple rules, easy setup, and quick playtimes, any of these unique games is a nice bite-sized challenge.
…Too on the nose? Despite its timeliness, the original Pandemic game designed by Matt Leacock is a poignant example of humanity’s ability to overcome the direst circumstances, provided we work together.
You can’t go wrong with the original Pandemic, which plays 2–4 players and features scalable difficulty levels, with the option to include any of the available expansions. If you like a timed challenge, you might try Pandemic: Rapid Response, designed by Kane Klenko. Or, if you’re in it for the long haul, you might try a campaign-style game like Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, the first installment in our Pandemic Legacy series.
And, of course, if you’d prefer something with a less medical theme, there are Reign of Cthulhu, Rising Tide, and Fall of Rome—the same fundamental gameplay adapted to a fantastical or historical setting.
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