Cooperative Games that Play with 2-Players
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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I love playing (and designing) cooperative games with my husband and we almost exclusively buy cooperative games, with just the occasional victory point based or party game.

To give you an idea of the sort of games we like to play, I prefer the more Euro driven games but story/theme is still very important to me I want to be taken on a journey but dislike rolling dice loads and what feels like endless fighting of monsters. My hubby likes highly thematic games and loves dungeon crawls and anything with miniatures - so you can see we have a little conflict in game tastes when we sit down and play games together.

As a result I thought I'd make a list of which cooperative games I think play best from our collection based on 2-player gameplay and that meet both of our gaming needs (these are the top 30 in my list). Also, these games need to fit in with a 15 month old running around wanting to 'join in' so our gaming time is now limited so the result may be slightly skewed by this as well.

I've made the list quite extensive (every coop I've played 2-player) so I'll be updating my thoughts on each item over time to help you decide if a game is for you. I'll may also rejig the list as some of our newer games get more plays. At the very bottom I have a few games which we own but haven't played yet and so are essentially unranked.

If there's a game I've missed - please let me know. I'm always looking for more good coop games to add to our collection

I've enjoyed pulling this together and I hope somebody out there will find it useful!

Note: I will not be separating out expansions - I'll just include the base game and will mention in the comments about any specific expansions we play with.

If you'd like to review longer reviews on my thoughts, then visit my recently started blog focusing on coop games.

If you'd like to find out more about the games we're designing check out our website and Facebook page.

And if you're interested in how my hubby rates games, here's his profile:

Stu Turner
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1. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:176]
Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories
Janice Turner
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This is one of the few games where we have sat down and played straight for 5-6 hours as we just wanted to finish it. So far we've played the first 3 cases (Asylum, The Marcy Case & A Prophecy of Dragons) and each of them seem to just get better and better. I'm not a zombie fan but still really enjoyed The Marcy Case.

At first I thought replaying through wouldn't work very well and would be boring but how wrong was I? We generally completed each of the mission packs in 2-3 play-throughs, with the 3rd one taking less than 30mins as you knew exactly what to do by then. There is also an innovative way to 'save' your progress although we've never been able to stop playing to try this.

Although Time Stories isn't geared to 2-player gameplay, we use the Rahdo variant with a 3rd support player controlled by either of us but never leading so can never be on it's own. We also don't abide by the communication rules - we share the cards with each other as we find we get much more enjoyment out of the game doing this - as a 2 player game you are unlikely to ever see all the cards and it seems a waste of art if you don't get to see them!

We've found that these modifications work really well and we absolutely love Time Stories. Not even a toddler can get in our way when playing this!

UPDATE: I've just played Under the Mask and TIME Stories is back to being my number 1 game!
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2. Board Game: The 7th Continent [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:49]
Board Game: The 7th Continent
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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We have finally finished the first curse after almost 20h of play time.

The first bit was a little tricky getting the hang of exploration vs food but after the first session I think we got the hang of it. Due to restricted times for playing (i.e. when our 2 year old was with my parents) we played in long sessions, generally around 6hrs each!

I absolutely loved playing 7th Continent with my hubby. It has the right amount of story, exploration and strategic decisions (which card to keep, doing stuff together or split up as well as when to hunt for/eat food). We mostly chose to stay together as we enjoyed it more that way - perhaps not the most strategic but certainly more enjoyable for us.

After a while, we did find we had made a wrong turn (which later turned out not to be wrong!) and it was a little frustrating that we had to keep re-exploring the same parts of the map (we had to put it away due to game instructions, saves or lack of table space). In the end we used some house rules as it was sapping the fun out the game: basically if we had already explored a tile we just put it out and allowed fast travel which made the game a lot more fun, which for me is the most important thing.

I'm not sure I'd want to play this at higher player counts - I think the hand and inventory limits were just about right and not sure I'd want to have to have less cards to choose from so think this game is perfect at 2 player. There are rules to allow the temporary joining of additional players for those who want to let someone else join in for a single session.

All in all, we loved this game and looking forward to playing the next curses - might give it a break for a while so we forget the map a bit and gives us a chance to play some other games!
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3. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.60 Overall Rank:2]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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My hubby and I LOVED playing this. It ticked all our boxes for both of us. It's full of theme/story, has mini's and is obviously cooperative. We sat down and played the full 18 games in a couple of months, often playing 2 games back-to-back (each game took us around 45min).

I also felt this game played slightly better as 2-player than traditional Pandemic where we'd normally do something to reduce the difficulty to give us a chance .
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4. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:69]
Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Janice Turner
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This is one of my hubby's favourite solo game and we have often played it together as 2-player and with a friend as 3-player. So far we've found it works well for all of these player counts, however some of the later scenarios work better with 2+ players.

At first we didn't get this game and found it crushingly hard, but the more we played it the better we got which has been quite rewarding. The missions are different enough to require slightly different tactics but also similar that there isn't too steep a learning curve. I've also found them quite replayable even if we've won a particular scenario.

We've just bought all the upgraded bits to make our edition equivalent to the newest edition. Can't wait to play with all the new components!
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5. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:23]
Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Janice Turner
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I was looking forward to getting this game and it didn't let us down. The only issue we had with it was with just 1 base set we couldn't both play our first choice of characters. But other than that the game flowed brilliant, the gameplay was exciting and I really enjoyed it.

Just writing this now makes me want to go back and play it as we haven't had the chance in a couple of weeks (too many Kickstarters arriving!).

Update:
We've now finished the first full cycle (Dunwich) including a side mission (Curse of the Rougarou) and I must say that we LOVE this game. The initial base set issue is now a non-issue and I really look forward getting it to the table. Haven't done that quite as much as I'd have liked due to lack of time and too many other new games to play but this is certainly one that we will keep going back to for more.
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6. Board Game: Legends of Andor [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:433] [Average Rating:7.19 Unranked]
Board Game: Legends of Andor
Janice Turner
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Another great story based game with beautiful art. We've played through both sides of the first board and the expansion and about to move on to the second big box. I've enjoyed every single game we've played, win or lose. Re-playing a lost game has never felt like a chore. And yes there is fighting monsters and rolling dice but in a good way.

I normally play the wizard where you only roll 1 die and the outcome is generally 4/5/6 (or the rune die) and if you kill too many monsters it's game over which makes the monster element much more tactical.

We've played this 3-player as well and find it plays equally well with 2 or 3 players.

It plays in 60-90 minutes and is definitely one of my favourite games (and my daughter loves looking at all the monsters and helping to roll the dice!)
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7. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:106] [Average Rating:7.71 Unranked]
Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases
Janice Turner
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If you've got a few spare evenings then this is the ideal game. You can easily stop for dinner, pudding, a bedtime story or anything else that comes up without destroying the flow of the 'game' too much, although it's more of an experience than a game perhaps?

We're a little over halfway through the first 10 cases and have enjoyed them all, even with the little frustrations with the translation issues. We play for the story and don't try to beat Sherlock - what's the point in rushing and missing all the subtleties of the cases?

The only downside is if you want the full experience you need to set aside many hours in a close space of time (a few days) else you forget what's going on so it can be a bit of a commitment.
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8. Board Game: This War of Mine: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:156]
Board Game: This War of Mine: The Board Game
Janice Turner
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I've only played this for a few hours so far but have found it works very well 2-player. I really enjoy the story aspect and how well the cards fit together.

We unfortunately got this around the same time as 7th Continent which so overshadows this that I feel I perhaps am not treating this game as fairly as I would had I not played 7th Continent immediately afterwards.

I'm looking forward to getting it to the table again and will re-assess when I do, but either way i'd say it's looking like a very promising game and at the moment still sits relatively high in my list - it's just whether it will move up any higher!
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9. Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.03 Overall Rank:40]
Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition
Janice Turner
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You might be surprised that this game ranks so highly in my list give my game preferences but it really does!

We've played 3 of the 4 initial scenarios so far and this is the only other game we have sat down and lost 5 hours too. Yes there is an element of fighting monsters but the app makes this more interesting and in some of the scenarios the most fighting is really secondary to the exploring and solving of the case. Our daughter also loves to pet all the minis and helps us roll the dice (she's quite good at it now!).

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10. Board Game: Aeon's End [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:62] [Average Rating:8.02 Unranked]
Board Game: Aeon's End
Janice Turner
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We only got this a few days ago and have already played it several times. I really like the theme and the mechanics and particularly like the added strategy of not shuffling your deck. This has shot straight up to being one of my favourite games! It also has the added bonus of not taking too long to play so is something we can just about fit in whilst our 2 year old is napping!

Update:
I've played this a few more times now, both at 2-player and 3-player and I'd say it works equally well for both. I've been meaning to get this out more and am looking forward to playing it again but just need to find the time!
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11. Board Game: Sylvion [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1119]
Board Game: Sylvion
Janice Turner
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This was our first Shadi Torbey game and it took a while for us to get the hang of it. I hated it at first: too difficult! But now I love it. We do have 1 slight modification though - we remove the discard cards from your hand card as we found that too limiting in a 2-player game. We are often left with no cards without this and that makes the game no fun.

The art is also absolutely beautiful and highly distinct, it's a pleasure playing this game.
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12. Board Game: Shadowrift [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:1839]
Board Game: Shadowrift
Janice Turner
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I bought the 1st ed. of this for my husband a few years ago. Due to the not so great art it took a while to get it to the table. But once we finally got it to the table and understood the rules we loved it! We love it so much we kickstarted the 2nd edition for which we are now eagerly awaiting delivery.
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13. Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:110]
Board Game: Pandemic: Iberia
Janice Turner
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Played this for the first time yesterday and loved it! I admit I have a soft spot for the original Pandemic and Pandemic Legacy is in my top 3 games so I might be a little biased.

I think Iberia has just enough tweaks to make it different and ultimately more interesting than the original Pandemic. Gameplay felt tighter and I can see myself playing this again soon and now difficult to see how I will ever go back to original Pandemic (even with the expansions).

I've now played this several more times at 3 and 4 player counts. As much as I love playing it 2 player I think it plays even better 3 or 4 player. This still sits as one of my favourite games but think I'm less likely to take it out as a 2-player game but definitely for higher player counts!

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14. Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:396]
Board Game: Pandemic: The Cure
Janice Turner
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I was in two minds about getting this game but my hubby finally persuaded me it was worth a go. And even with all the dice rolling I actually quite enjoy this game. We've recently integrated the expansion which is definitely an improvement. One of the key benefits of the game is the speed it plays at and more importantly the length feels right. If I'm after a more serious game this isn't one I'd get out but for a shorter, light game this will be one of my first choices.
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15. Board Game: Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:1204] [Average Rating:7.62 Unranked]
Board Game: Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game
Janice Turner
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I've played this once so far, albeit as 3 players.

I love the mechanics and overall concept and the events are well themed for the regions. I'm looking forward to playing it again 2-player although my biggest concern is that it may have the same issue that I find the Doomrock - it takes quite a while to develop your character to the point you can do lots of interesting stuff - I think I'd like a way to accelerate the early part of the game, reducing the total playtime.

I'll re-assess once I've played with 2-players but all in all a good game and if you have the time (which I sadly don't so much anymore) and don't mind a slightly slow start then I'd definitely recommend this game.
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16. Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:39]
Board Game: Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
Janice Turner
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I'm so excited to play this game but its a Xmas present to ourselves this year so you'll have to wait until we unwrap it but expect to play our first game soon after!
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17. Board Game: Nautilion [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1638]
Board Game: Nautilion
Janice Turner
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Nautilion is the newest of Shadi Torbey's games and it is beautifully simple yet wholly enjoyable.

It's quick, taking around 15min to play and doesn't take up much table space making it an ideal travel game. With the multiple different boards and only allowed to solve certain parts in 2-player games adds an additional layer of strategy.
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18. Board Game: Onirim (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:616]
Board Game: Onirim (Second Edition)
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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I've only played this once so far. It's our most recent purchase of Shadi Tobey's games. It is once again a beautifully simple game with lots of tactics to think about.

I'll have to play it a few more times to cement its place on this list but for now I think it fits about here.
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19. Board Game: Codenames: Duet [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:174] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Board Game: Codenames: Duet
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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I've always loved playing Codenames so when a coop version came out I was really excited to play it and I must say it doesn't disappoint.

I've only played this a few time so far but is one I think we should play more often. Yes it's more fun with more players, but it's also fun with 2-players.
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20. Board Game: Rising 5: Runes of Asteros [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:2474]
Board Game: Rising 5: Runes of Asteros
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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We've played this a few times now both at 2-player and 3-players. Given the games simplicity I found it really fun to play. I'd say it was better (and a little more challenging) at 2-players than it is at 3-players and think I'd rather stick to playing this only with my hubby.

The art is beautiful and the app integrates well and has some decent music. Gameplay seems reasonably well balanced (3-players seemed a little easy but 2-players was much closer win/lose in the games we played). I'd highly recommend giving this one a go if you like logic / puzzle games and it has the added bonus on playing relatively quickly if you don't have much time.
 
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21. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:377]
Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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Flashpoint is a game we have ended up getting every expansion for. Some boards are better than others and I must say I have a preference for the more basic setups but either way I really enjoy the game.

Frequently referring to the rulebook, particularly for a game we have already learnt to play really bugs me and ultimately this tends to reduce the frequency of its visits to the table as I don't want to have to relearn it every time. Flash Point isn't like this. It is really easy to remember so even if it doesn't make it on to our game table for a couple of months we rarely have to refer to the rulebook during gameplay, except for setup!
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22. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:586]
Board Game: Elder Sign
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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Again this may be a bit of a surprise given all the dice rolling involved but I do really enjoy this game. The only reason it isn't higher on my list is that sometimes games can last many hours and the boss fight at the end if the Old One awakens I find quite boring, but other than that its a good, enjoyable game!
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23. Board Game: Wizard's Academy [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:5755]
Board Game: Wizard's Academy
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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This game was an instant hit with us. We love the concept and the mechanics. It possibly plays slightly better with higher player counts but plays eminently well at 2 players and I'm always surprised that this game isn't as well renowned as I think it should be.
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24. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:105]
Board Game: Pandemic
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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This was our first modern board game. We played it and played it and played it when we first got it although it has now sat in our cupboard unopened for some months now. However, if someone were to ever ask me if I'd like to play Pandemic I'd always say yes. It's also the first game I'd chose when our non-game friends agree to play a game with us. It's easy to learn and intuitive to play. An ideal first early game and always fun to play.
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25. Board Game: Castellion [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1652]
Board Game: Castellion
Janice Turner
United Kingdom
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I don't think I've played this one enough yet. I enjoyed playing it but finding it somewhat too difficult at the moment which saps some of the enjoyment out of it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a challenge but at present it feels impossible to win. I'm sure this will change, as it has with other Shabi Torbey games once we get the knack of it.

The big disadvantage of this one is that the tiles are very interesting to a 15m old and I'm often paranoid about one or two of them getting lost!
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