PeakHope's comprehensive list of purely cooperative games
Kevin B. Smith
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Walnut Creek
California
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This list includes games where players cooperate to defeat "the game". No traitors. No GM/DM/referee. No teams competing against each other. Games where different players can have different levels of victory (e.g. "Master Slayer") are included. Games with unofficial cooperative variants are included. Expansions are not listed (except where they add a cooperative mode to an otherwise competitive game).

My goal is for this list to be comprehensive, so people seeking a game like this won't have to search multiple lists. The list is sorted by BGG rank, rather than alphabetically. However, the top-ranked games are not necessarily at their best when played as co-ops, so beware of that.

If you have suggestions for this list (additions, deletions, corrections), please send geekmail to me, PeakHope. I have now enabled comments, but not additions, so the list can remain accurate. Yes, I'm being a dictator here. No, that's not my normal style. I'm just trying to provide a structured alternative to the existing chaotic cooperative game geeklists. My goal is for this list to be a valuable resource, as opposed to a forum for discussion.

Note that I have stopped adding upcoming releases to the list. After getting burned a few times by games getting delayed (for years), I'm going to wait until they actually ship before adding them. As soon as I become aware of pre-release co-ops, I subscribe to them so I can know when they are out. But feel free to geekmail me if you see a good one. Worst case, I'll just let you know that I'm already aware of it.

Here are some of the games which were excluded from the list (Note that lists of excluded games are not comprehensive):

Games that have not yet been released. Originally I had upcoming games on the list, but after a few have been delayed by more than a year, I am no longer adding new games until after they have been released.

Traitor: Atentado no Cassino, Betrayal at House on the Hill, E.T.I.: Estimated Time to Invasion, Panic Station

Require DM/GM/Referee: Battlestations, Catacombs, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, HeroQuest, Mansions of Madness, Venture

One vs. Many: Agentenjagd, Akce X, Angel, The Anyville Horror,Armour Quest: Quæstro, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game (UK),Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game (US), Chill: Black Morn Manor, Clue: The Great Museum Caper, Doom: The Boardgame, Dungeons & Dragons: The Fantasy Adventure Board Game, Escape from Colditz, Fortress America, Fury of Dracula, The Fury of Dracula, Garibaldi: La Trafila, Ghost Chase, Innsmouth Escape, Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, Middle-earth Quest, New York Chase, Scotland Yard, Skat, Space Crusade, The Thing, Trail of the Brotherhood

Teams: Absolut överens, Abstracts, Activity (family), Alias (family), ALMANiAC, Are You the Traitor?, Birth of America 1812, Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg, Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner, PostHumous Z, Saboteur, Shadow Hunters, Tannhäuser, Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition, The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow

Competitive: 2nd Guess, 2010 Swedish Parliament, 21 Freeze Out, After the Holocaust, Art of War, Artiste, Bang!, Colorado Midland, Crusoe, Dragonriders of Pern, Dungeon Raiders, Dungeon Run, Fair Play, Lorrein, Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel, Old Town, Orcz, Orient Express, Quest Cards, The Republic of Rome, Winds of Change

Games specifically aimed at children (the following being just some examples): Abenteuerinsel, Abracadabra, The Adventures of Harley, Adventures with Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Affenparty, Alphabet Soup, Amazing Illusions, Annie, Arthur Saves the Planet: One Step at a Time, Arthur's Get Together Game, Castle Knights, Monster Chase!, The Color Dwarfs, Piraten-Abenteuer, Die kleine Hexe, Dragon Keeper, Earthquake, Fairy Finds Game, The Fantastic Forest, First Orchard, Flowers are Forever, Herkules Ameise, Hop! Hop! Hop!, Auf Dem Lande, Max, Mimik Memo, Orchard, The Orchard: Card Game, Penguin Rescuer Game, Pick a Paint, Playmobil Dinoworld, Polar Bear A-B-C, Princess, Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game, Save the Fairy Tale Treasure!, The Secret Door, Tasapeli, Tchibum na Lagoa, Wildcraft!, Woolfy,

Activities that do not appear to actually be games. Earlier, I added some entries for "games", but when re-reading the description I determined that they aren't really games. So I am removing those, and will try not to add new ones.


Other geeklists of (more or less) cooperative games, which helped greatly in assembling this list:
- Cooperative Board Games - Best? New? Often Overlooked? (great list)
- The Best Co-operative Games
- Which Cooperative Games are Best?
- Let's Work Together >> Cooperative Games, Completely or Team-based
- Cooperative Games - what games are out there?
- Hippie meets gamer: any cooperative games that are actually fun?
- Cooperative Fantasy games that Don\'t require a DM/GM
- A Cooperative Golden Age? (please add)
- 2 player co-operative games
- A Crazy Couple's Cooperative Choices
- User Votes: Best Game of Mechanic Co-operative Play
- Cooperative Games - Rating for difficulty to learn and win
- Let's Work Together >> Cooperative Games, Completely or Team-based

EDIT 2012-09-22: Clarified some wording.
EDIT 2014-12-08: Added a 3+ game.
EDIT 2014-12-28: 3-player games are now included
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1. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:8]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 150-240+ minutes
Status: Published 2011

Each player is a "Mage Knight", building up an army to defeat the enemy forces who have conquered the cities. Two of the included scenarios are purely cooperative. The others are competitive.
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2. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:8.12 Overall Rank:12]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 120 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Players have been stranded on an island, and must accomplish specific tasks as required by each scenario, while surviving various threats. The primary mechanic is worker placement, but it is notable for its wide variety of setups, a couple innovative mechanisms, and for its relatively high complexity/depth.
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3. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:17]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 5
Length: 100 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Players are members of a small colony of survivors of a zombie plague. Each player controls multiple survivors (with one designated as the leader), and player actions are driven by a dice pool.

The base game assigns the group a goal for the group to win, but also gives each player a secret object which must be complete for that player to win. (EDIT: As Nick mentioned, some of the secret goals are actually betrayal/traitor goals.) The rules include a pure co-op variant, which leaves out the secret objectives.
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4. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:25]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 8
Length: 180 minutes
Status: Published 2013

Lovecraft/Cthulhu themed game, where players travel the world (and perhaps other dimensions) in 1928, having encounters. As with the game that inspired it (Arkham Horror), the players all win if they are able to prevent a horrible "Old One" from entering this world, or if they are able to defeat it in combat after it arrives.
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5. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:27]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6 (with variants)
Length: 180 minutes (?)
Status: Available

Although this is almost always played as a 3+ player traitor game, there are official variant rules for 2-player and for playing with no cylons (fully cooperative). Apparently you can combine the two variants into a 2p co-op game: Re: Is there a way to play it 2 player?. There is also a proposed variant with 2p vs. an automated cylon: 2 players with cylon robot
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6. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:43]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Available

Players work together to cure a worldwide outbreak of diseases.
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7. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:56]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6 (IF you have the solo/co-op bases)
Length: 20 minutes
Status: Published 2013

This spaceship combat deck management card game is competitive as its normal mode. However, Kickstarter backers received mini-expansions that allow solo and cooperative play. Supposedly these additional bases will be released as part of a future expansion that will be available to everyone.

(Thanks to weyrbrat for geekmailing me to let me know about the co-op mode.)
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8. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:69]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 2 (up to 4 by combining 2 core sets)
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2011

LCG (Living Card Game) where players are heroes completing quests in Middle Earth after The Hobbit and before the Fellowship of the Ring.
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9. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:72]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 30 minutes
Status: Available

Real-time game where players are the crew of a spaceship that is under attack. During the audio segments, players track events and program responses. Then the results are played out to determine success. Additional missions can be generated on computers in MP3 format.

Apparently with fewer than 3 players, it becomes less chaotic and more puzzle-like.
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10. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:86] [Average Rating:7.77 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Originally published 1981; new edition published 2011-2012

Solve Sherlock Holmes-style mysteries, cooperatively. 10 cases in the box. Very thematic, where you have to think like a detective to decide which clues to pursue, and then to figure out what really happened.
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11. Board Game: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:96]
 
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published August 2013

Fantasy-themed card game, set in the Pathfinder RPG universe. This game features a campaign system, where the heroes (such as rogues and wizards) grow stronger with each game, gaining stronger cards in their decks. Bimonthly expansion packs are expected.
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12. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:99]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Story-oriented fantasy adventure game with heroes in the form of mice. Each scenario requires playing specific mice (from 3 to 6), regardless of the number of players.
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13. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:106] [Average Rating:7.63 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Deck management game, where players send Marvel comic book superheroes to fight a mastermind and his or her associated villains. Technically a semi-cooperative game where everyone loses or one player wins, but can be played as a pure co-op, optionally recognizing the player with the most points as a winner among winners.
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14. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:105] [Average Rating:8.08 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 30-60 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Deckbuilder set in the universe of the Alien(s) movies, where players are the crew of a ship who must survive the Xenomorph attacks. Built on the Legendary Marvel engine, but with several changes (including changing to a pure co-op design).
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15. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:115] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: Exactly 2 (with the co-op variant)
Length: 120 minutes
Status: Published 2008

The published game is a competitive party game based on giving clues related to abstract art. But a 2 player co-op Dixit variant has received many glowing endorsements. In the variant, one player plays a card and give a clue. The other player plays a card to try to match the clue. Random cards are mixed in from the deck. Each player must try to guess the other player's card, and the player team only scores a point if both guess correctly.
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16. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:129]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 5
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Comic-book-style game of superheroes and villains. Players can plays as one of 10 superheroes, each of which has a unique 40-card deck. They fight against one of 4 villains. Officially, there must be at least 3 heroes, meaning that in a 2p game, at least one player would have to control more than one. There are some proposed variants for playing with just 2 heroes.
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17. Board Game: BattleCON: Devastation of Indines [Average Rating:8.47 Overall Rank:131] [Average Rating:8.47 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2013

Primarily a pvp battle card game, the rules do include a pure co-op variant. The consensus seems to be that the co-op mode is a nice bonus, but probably not strong enough to justify getting the game just to play that way: Comments on co-op version - worth getting just for co-op?
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18. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:133] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 8
Length: 180 minutes
Status: Available

Epic game where players are investigators trying to seal dimensional gates, to prevent a horrible ancient alien from entering our world and destroying it. Based on the Lovecraft/Cthulhu mythos. Pure co-op, although if the players win, the player with the most gate trophies earns a "first citizen" award.
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19. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:136]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 5
Length: 25 minutes
Status: Published 2010

Hanabi is a cooperative game of deduction, where each player has a hand of cards. The trick is that each player can see everyone else's hand, but not their own. Using very limited communication, the players must play the cards in legal sequences.

Also available as part of Hanabi & Ikebana.
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20. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:137]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2008

Players are protecting a village from Wu-Fang (a lord of hell) and the many ghosts he sends to attack. The theme has kind of an "Asian B-Movie" feel. Players move around on a modular board, exorcising ghosts (by rolling dice), or activating village tiles.

EDIT: Added a description
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21. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:149]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 5
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2013

Players are stranded in a desert with shifting sands, and must find the parts to assemble a flying craft so they can escape. This is from the designer of Forbidden Island, and has some similarities, but is quite a different game.
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22. Board Game: Zombicide [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Players are survivors of a zombie plague, attempting to fight off hordes of zombies and complete the objective(s) for their scenario. The game includes miniatures and a modular board, along with 10 scenarios. Most scenarios require 4-6 "survivors" regardless of the number of players.
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23. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:157]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Players are firefighters, attempting to rescue victims from a burning building, while keeping the fire under control. This is a high-quality reprint of Flash Point, with some rule changes.
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24. Board Game: Defenders of the Realm [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:221]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published 2010

Players are heroes, defending Monarch City from invading forces (orcs, demons, dragons, and undead), each led by a general. Core mechanics are similar to Pandemic, but DotR adds a lot of elements, including dice and side quests.

Includes rules for one player to be the "King's Champion", but many (most?) play it as a pure co-op and ignore that part.
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25. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:226]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 180 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Based on a video game in a military sci-fi setting, players are soldiers who battle a "Locust horde".
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1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [15] | 
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