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Subject: Looking for simple cooperative games rss

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Josh F
United States
Pennsylvania
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I love Forbidden Island, and I've made several attempts now to use it as a family therapy activity. The problem I'm running into is that the families I work with are generally not gamers, and even the level of rules knowledge and strategizing that Forbidden Island requires (which, to my mind, is relatively low) seems to be too much for them. And it's hard to have "family members having fun while working together on a tense activity" when they barely get the idea that they're supposed to collect matching treasure cards, let alone coordinate among players to share cards, shore up important spots, and generally not die. Plus the parents are probably all in the "fantasy and imagination are for babies" camp, which is generally more than a couple months of therapy is going to fix.

So what I'd like is another game to fill that niche, but simpler. Cooperative, with some modicum of challenge, but not too many rules to intimidate people who aren't used to non-mainstream games. Abstract theme preferred but not mandatory.
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The Family Pastimes line may work better

try the simple ones

Max
Caves & Claws
Princess
Round-Up
The Secret Door

they also have a book of modified palour games which might be games more farmilar to your clients

Co-Op Parlor Games

I'd also look at The New Games Book which had lots of co-op activities to build trust. If it's not in print, I am sure you can find it on abe.com
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Jeff Miller
United States
Ogden
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Hanabi

I think it's a great blend of ease of rules and quite challenging. Coordination is not an option as well, which sounds like it might work well for your purpose.
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Ryan St. John
Canada
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Maybe you could try Hanabi? Rules are simple with an abstract theme. It can be pretty stressful however.
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G.Daddy.Slim
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Alexandria
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Here's my suggestions...

Hanabi - really thin theme, ruleset is very simple.. hardest part is limiting the amount of "table-talk", but even that is simply a matter of how strict you want to be..
FUSE - fun, faced pace (whole game takes 10 minutes), and easy to understand rules...
Codenames - cooperative team vs team.. but extremely simple to learn..

I'm pretty sure most, if not all, of the above games are less than $15.00 on amazon.com.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
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Big thumbs up for Family Pastimes games. Our favorites are Princess and Granny's House.

Another publisher worth checking out is Peaceable Kingdom. We have their game Stack Up! which is a cooperative dexterity game that can be played at various levels of difficulty. I have also heard good things about their game Hoot Owl Hoot.
 
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psychojosh13 wrote:
Plus the parents are probably all in the "fantasy and imagination are for babies" camp, which is generally more than a couple months of therapy is going to fix.

So what I'd like is another game to fill that niche, but simpler. Cooperative, with some modicum of challenge, but not too many rules to intimidate people who aren't used to non-mainstream games. Abstract theme preferred but not mandatory.

Max is great, but the "for babies" bit makes me hesitant to recommend it.

Castle Knights is also clearly aimed at kids, but it's pretty fun even with adults. You could adapt other dexterity games with a timer or goals like "at least n blocks" or "stack taller than this". I'm thinking Jenga or Bandu.

Cranium Hoopla is a cooperative trivia race against a timer. You might pull a subset of cards that work for families. (Some of the subjects will be unknown by the kids.) Or, you could adapt this approach to a variety of trivia cards.

Other trivia games that wouldn't require much adaptation:
Team Work for Kids
Guesstures

Good luck! I hope you'll follow up by reporting a little of what worked, what flopped, and why.
 
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Jeff Johnson
United States
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Maybe The Game? Somewhat similar to Hanabi, but totally themeless.
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Dave B.
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Ghostbusters: Protect the Barrier Game would be a perfect fit. Very easy rules. Feels a little like Pandemic with the set collection replaced with simple pick up and deliver.
 
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Jonathan
Canada
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Not sure how challenging it will be, but maybe Captain Sonar could be a good fit? You could play the game turn-based so the pressure of the real time won't leave them bewildered at first so that once everyone knows what they're supposed to do and how to do it, you can slowly ramp them up

 
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Mark Smiley
United States
Utah
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I have often thought of trying "ESCAPE FROM ATLANTIS" as a cooperative game. Try to get everyone to the safety of an island by steering the sharks and other things away from boats. Then, after that session, play the game normally.
Hey, I just said I had thought of doing it.
 
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Warren Adams
Australia
Mt Lawley
Western Australia
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Track down a copy of Break the Safe
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Anna F.
United States
Mississippi
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I second for Codenames - it has a cooperative mode. The mechanic is simple - like the classic game "Password".
 
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Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Pandemic: The Cure
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Chris Mcpherson
Canada
Sarnia
Ontario
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Leo might be what you're looking for.
 
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Charlie Brown
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
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I would take a look at Between Two Cities, a semi cooperative which encourages talking and negotiating with your neighbors. Kinda dry on theme, but there is a tiny learning curve on how points work in combinations which makes the first game disorienting if they haven't played this kind of game before. I consider this a great gateway game for adults.

 
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Drew
United States
North Dakota
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Castle Panic is really quite simple, and I've played it with fairly young children as well. They pick up on the rules easily.
 
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Bryan
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Hellertown
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Ghost Fightin' Treasure Hunters is a great coop. The rules are quite easy and I play it with my 6 year old who needs little direction as to what she needs to do. Despite being easy to learn, the game is really quite a challenge.
 
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Nick Stables
Australia
Lawson
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Firstly what is the age range you are addressing? Plus one for Hanabi which might appeal to older kids or Beyond Baker Street (slightly more rules than Hanabi); Flash Point for younger kids (family rules if the theme isn't too off putting); Concept played casually (no scoring points) to hone communication skills....
 
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Dave B.
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Drew1365 wrote:
Castle Panic is really quite simple, and I've played it with fairly young children as well. They pick up on the rules easily.


Oh yeah, that's a great one. The only tricky bit is getting the hang of trading to give people cards they'll be able to use when their turn comes around.
 
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Josh F
United States
Pennsylvania
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pusboyau wrote:
Firstly what is the age range you are addressing?


For the families that I've tried this with so far, the kids have been in the 12-15 range. I do work with some younger kids as well though, so a game that's more flexible would be good.

LurkingMeeple wrote:
Good luck! I hope you'll follow up by reporting a little of what worked, what flopped, and why.


If only I had the budget to buy them all and see what happens... From what everyone has posted here, it looks like Hanabi is probably my best starting point, and if that falls flat then I'll decide where to go next.

Thank you all for the suggestions!
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