100% Co-op Board Games that avoid the Alpha Player problem
Chris J Davis
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I like co-op board games. But what I don't like is when a co-op game allows one player (usually the most experienced) to just tell everyone else what to do. Essentially, these games are just single player games, but with the duties of that player divided up between multiple people.

So I invite you to help me compile a list of games that employ "true" co-op gameplay, where the game simply wouldn't work with a single player. I don't know of many myself, so the list will be quite short to start off!

I also know that many games may be "borderline", in that the game would essentially play the same with only one player, but with an increase in efficiency due to one mind coordinating everything. These are typically games where each player has a hidden hand of cards which they are allowed to talk about but not reveal. I would say to still include these types of games on this list, but to mark them as "multiplayer coordination games".

Do not include team games, 1 vs many games or games with a hidden traitor, nor games that require significant rule changes to make them work as true co-op games.

Happy geeklisting!
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1. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:177]
Chris J Davis
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Due to the time restriction element, this game could not reasonably be played by a single player.
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2. Board Game: Escape: The Curse of the Temple [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:458]
Chris J Davis
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Although playable by a single player, when played multiplayer it is a true co-op due to the real-time element.
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3. Board Game: Room 25 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:927]
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The co-op scenario in this game allows it to rise slightly above that of multiplayer coordination game, as it requires different players to remember the positions of particular rooms (rather than just coordinating the use of resources on which information is always immediately available) and are not allowed to talk about the specifics of the rooms they see.
 
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4. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:111] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Chris J Davis
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If played as intended - with each player constructing their own deck - this avoids the alpha player/play-by-committee problem by way of each player not knowing the construction - and therefore optimal play - of the other players' decks.
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5. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:760]
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Multiplayer coordination game.
 
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6. Board Game: Gears of War: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:387]
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Multiplayer coordination game.
 
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7. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:24]
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Contains multiplayer coordination game scenarios.
 
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8. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:966]
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Contains a multiplayer coordination game scenario.
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9. Board Game: Hanabi [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:313]
Kevin B. Smith
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Lake Forest Park
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Communication restrictions prevent anyone from telling other players what to do. It does require some amount of discipline from the players to stay within the rules of what can be said...or gestured.
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10. Board Game: Hooyah: Navy Seals Card Game [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:6187]
Kevin B. Smith
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Lake Forest Park
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Strict communication restrictions prevent anyone from telling other players what to do. At least, that's my understanding from reading the rules.
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11. Board Game: Wok Star [Average Rating:6.76 Overall Rank:1919]
Kevin B. Smith
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Lake Forest Park
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As with Space Alert and Escape, it's really hard for an alpha player to take control in a real-time game. I'm not sure if the new rule changes for the 2nd edition change that equation.
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12. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1337]
Kevin B. Smith
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Another real-time game, and in this case, each player is doing a completely different activity, at the same time, under pressure. At least one of the tasks is dexterity-based. Good luck trying to alpha that!
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13. Board Game: Sentinels of the Multiverse [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:311] [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Brian Peace
United States
Villa Rica
Georgia
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The small writing on the visible cards coupled with a hidden hand for each player mitigates the Alpha Player syndrome a great deal in all the games we have played.
 
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14. Board Game: The Peculiar Game of My Wife and I [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Brian Peace
United States
Villa Rica
Georgia
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"I'm not screwed. I'm beyond screwed. Screwed is sitting across the room, waving at me, and saying, 'Hi! Glad I'm not you!'"
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Any co-op game played with my wife is 100% Alpha Player Proof. She gives the Alpha Player "The Look" and everyone else warns them to wait for people to ask for advice or risk her wrath.

It is a sight to behold. angry
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