Even though the concept might be new to some people, cooperative board games are something that’s been around for quite some time. Unlike other types of board games in which players compete against one another to win the game, cooperative games are a little bit different. These games require players to work together to solve some problem or achieve some goal. We liked the concept so much, we decided to find out which board games were the best cooperative ones available and the list below is the ones we discovered. Any of the following games will foster cooperation, creative thinking, and teamwork in the adults and children that play them.
My Top 10 Best Cooperative Board Games Recommendations & Reviews
#10 Exit The Game: The Abandoned Cabin
Exit The Abandoned Cabin is a game that’s designed to replicate the cooperative spirit and excitement of a real escape room. 1 to 4 players can enjoy this game and each game lasts for approximately 2-hours. During that time, players will attempt to gather clues and solve puzzles together to wind the game. All of this makes it a very clever game, but unfortunately, it does have one major flaw. Because of how it has to be played, the game is pretty much destroyed after the game, so it’s only a one-shot game.
- Is a game for 1 to 4 players
- Promotes team work
- Is only a single-use game
#9 The Grizzled Cooperative Card Game
This game is easy to learn, simple to play and features cards that are illustrated by Tignous. Put all together, this makes this game of trench warfare one that promotes cooperative play and teamwork. This game is suitable for 2 to 5 players and will provide up to 30-minutes of play at a time. And it’s an extremely fun game as long as players aren’t too concerned with winning. That’s because it’s a lot easier for all of the players to lose this game than win it, but with enough practice, the players will eventually triumph over the game. This makes it very replayable.
- Easy to learn game
- Has interesting artwork
- Game is hard to win
#8 Peaceable Kingdom Mermaid Island For Kids
This entertaining game is designed for 2 to 6 children 5-years and older and fosters cooperative teamwork and fun. Each game is designed to only last 15-minutes and is also designed to foster social development skills. Because this game is made for small children, no reading is required and it’s designed to help stimulate strategic play. Children can work together to help mermaids swim back to mermaid island so that everyone can win the game.
- Ideal for 2 to 6 players
- Suitable for children age 5-years and older
- May not be suitable for really young children
#7 Betrayal At House On The Hill
Even though this game does have a lot of rules for players to learn, once players get the hang of it, this game will provide hours of cooperative fun. It’s designed for 3-6 players aged 12-years and older and should provide about 60-minutes of play at a time. The concept behind this game is that players are trying to work together to get rid of paranormal activity in a home. Because this game has a lot of variables that can change from session to session, this game is extremely replayable and can be enjoyed over and over again.
- Ideal for players age 12-years and older
- Stimulate cooperative & strategic play
- Can be hard to initially learn
#6 Fireside Games Castle Panic Board Game
This game is based upon a quite simple concept: a tower is being overrun by monsters and it’s up to the players to beat them back. This simple yet alluring concept is enough to keep most children age 7-years and older engaged during each game. This game supports 1 to 6 players, provides up to an hour of cooperative fun and can be played over and over again without losing its appeal. It can even be played as a solo game if no one else is around to play it.
- Is extremely replayable
- Is a whole lot of fun
- The game may seem too immature to older children
#5 Wildcraft! An Herbal Adventure Game
This game is not only designed to encourage cooperative play but is also designed to educate adults and children on medicinal and edible plants. Although this game doesn’t provide enough information on the remedies plants are used for, it is an interesting concept that’s as educational as it is fun. This game is also easy to read, doesn’t require any reading to play, and can be enjoyed by children ages 4-years and up. And it’s also a game that’s made in the U.S using eco-friendly printing methods.
- Teaches about medicinal & edible plants
- Is a fun cooperative game
- Doesn’t provide enough information on the plants
#4 Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle Cooperative Deck Game
This game provides the fun and excitement of the Harry Potter series to life in a deck-building card game that not only promotes cooperative play but also strategic play as well. Although it only has a limited number of characters from the series, the main characters are represented. These characters are Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom. This set comes with 252 cards, 4 dice, 7 game rules, 8 villain control tokens, 4 player boards, and 70 chip pieces and is designed for up to 4-players.
- Promotes strategy as well as cooperative play
- Great for fans of the books and movies
- Is easy-to-learn and play
- Has a limited number of key players
#3 Peaceable Kingdom Hoot Owl Hoot
This player is designed for children ages 4 to 8 years old and can accommodate 2 to 4 players at a time. The concept behind this game is that all of the players have to work together to help the owls back to their nests before sunrise. This storyline helps the players work together to accomplish this goal. This game is made using eco-friendly materials, is brightly illustrated and provides hours of fun. Although its cards seem a little bit thin, the game is otherwise a well made and thought out game that should provide children with a shared problem-solving experience.
- Provides excellent cooperative play
- Is brightly illustrated
- Is an easy game for children to play
- The cards are a bit flimsy
#2 Gamewright Forbidden Island Game
This game is designed for ages 10-years and older and for 2-4 players. In 2010, this game won the Mensa Favorite Brainy Games competition and ever since then has been a favorite for adults and children. This game not only promotes cooperative play but also does it while building suspense and promoting strategic thinking. And since it’s different each time it’s played, this game can be played over and over again.
- Promotes plenty of cooperative play
- Provides players with a bit of suspense
- Can be played over & over again
- Is a whole lot of fun
- Instructions aren’t well written
#1 Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape Game
Peaceable Kingdom Dinosaur Escape is an award-winning game designed for 2-4 players ages 4-years and older. It’s a game that’s not only designed to promote cooperative play but is also designed to be frustration-free for children. The concept behind this game is also one that appeals to most children. In this game, the players must work together to get all the dinosaurs back to Dinosaur Island. If they complete their task, then everyone wins. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best cooperative games currently sold and why it would make a great Christmas or birthday gift.
- It’s an award-winning game
- Promotes cooperative play
- Is a frustration-free game
- Can be player over & over again
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A Guide To Cooperative Board Games
Currently, there are two different types of board games: competitive board games and cooperative board games. These two genres of games have several things in common and just one thing that makes them different from one another. Both types of games involve players moving pieces around a board or manipulating cards towards an objective, and they both involve the players taking turns. The only real difference between these two types of games is that in competitive games the players work against one another or try to defeat one another, while in cooperative games, players try to work together to solve a shared objective.
This one almost inconsequential difference is what makes these two types of board games vastly different experiences, and each helpful for children in their own ways. While both are fun and provide the players with much-needed entertainment, competitive games foster competitiveness in its players, while cooperative games help children learn the benefits of cooperating with other people. And now studies are beginning to show that cooperative games may have social benefits that extend beyond the child learning how to work together with their peers.
Several peer-reviewed studies have shown that preschool children who were assigned to play cooperative games showed more enthusiasm and better social behavior than children who played competitive board games. Another study suggested that children who played cooperative board games also tended to be more generous than children who played competitive games. All of which are good reasons why parents should introduce their children to cooperative board games.
Of course, children aren’t the only ones who benefit from cooperative games. Although cooperative games don’t have an impact on the social behavior of adults, they can be a fun way for a person to spend an afternoon. Regardless of whether you’re trying to solve a murder mystery, defend your home against zombies, or uncover some ancient ruin, cooperative games can be great for adults as well as for children.
Reasons Why Cooperative Games Are Good For Young Children
Although we covered some of the reasons why children should play cooperative games, we decided to add a few more below to show parents just how beneficial playing cooperative board games with their children can be.
- They encourage children to make decisions.
- They encourage children to rationalize their decisions and discuss them.
- They encourage children to examine both sides of an issue.
Reasons Why Cooperative Games Are Good For Adults
Like we said, cooperative games aren’t just beneficial for children to play, they are also beneficial for adults to play—although the amount of benefit is slightly reduced. Below are some reasons why adults should play cooperative board games.
- They foster teamwork in groups.
- They can help adults develop more positive feelings towards one another.
- They can provide a much-needed change of pace for heavy gamers.
How To Find The Right Cooperative Board Game
Now that we’ve gone over some of the many benefits of playing cooperative board games, it’s time to talk about how a person can find the right games for their needs. Regardless of whether a parent wants to buy one of these games for their children, or an adult wants to buy one to play with their friends, the consumer is going to want to think about a few things before they commit to a game. Below are some of the things that consumers will likely want to consider.
Step One: Consider The Age Range
One of the most important things that a person is going to want to consider before they purchase a cooperative board game is the age range of the people playing it. There are quite a few games that are made for younger children, but there’s also a fair amount of games for older children and adults. A parent is going to want to make sure that they don’t purchase a game that’s above the player’s heads or has content that is too mature for their children, and adults are going to want to make sure that they purchase a game that’s going to be challenging enough for them.
Step Two: Consider The Genre
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to think about is the genre of the cooperative board game. Although the variety of cooperative board games available were very thin only a few years ago, there are now games in just about any genre imaginable. So regardless of whether a person wants to play a medieval fantasy adventure, a sci-fi epic, or a horror game, there’s a game out there for them.
Step Three: Consider How The Game Is Played
The last thing to think about is the game mechanics used by the game. Is the game a board game, or does it combine elements of a card game, too? Is it played with dice or is some other game mechanic used? Not every gamer likes every board game mechanic out there, so it’s important for them to choose the one that fits their preferred playing style.