The Best Co-operative Games
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Like Space Games we have been treated to a pile of great co-op games in the last couple of years. Battlestar Galactica, Pandemic, Red November, Ghost Stories, Space Alert, Last Night on Earth....

This list contains the best Co-operative games I could find on BGG. There seem to be a few main types of Co-ops:
- All vs. the Game
- All vs. One
- All vs. Traitor
I've tried to classify the games in this list. I may have some wrong as I haven't played a lot of these games plus some of them don't neatly fit into one of the above categories. Hopefully it will be a guide for those who don't like all vs. one or games with a traitor. I have excluded straightforward Team vs. Team games.
Feel free to add if you think I have missed a great game

I've added some useful information on game: best number of players, how popular they are (number of plays) and whether they are Free. I've also included a comment (or two) from a fan of the game.

I have sorted them based on a Combined rating. Points are awarded for 3 categories: Rating, Ranking and #Plays. Points are awarded based on where that game comes after sorting all the games on this list by each of those scores. Finally a bonus was awarded for Print n Play games (as they are freely available and free/cheap). Low points are good and the games were then be sorted by their TOTAL points. You'll get the idea.
If any new games are added to the list I will score them relative to the other games on the list and sort them on that basis.

Other lists in this series:
The Best Space Games
The Best Alternatives to "Risk"
The Best Party Games
The Best Dexterity Games (or 48 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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51. Board Game: The Secret Door [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:6462]
Mark Jackson
United States
Goodlettsville
Tennessee
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Best with 3, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players
Total Plays: 219
Players vs. Game

This takes "Memo/Memory" and adds a timer element that makes the game both quick-moving & tense. It works great with adults & kids together - both of my sons were playing it by the time they were 3 1/2 and enjoying it greatly.

Three object cards are removed from the deck. The rest are mixed in with 12 clock cards and placed on spots on the board. Players take turns revealing two cards, hoping to form a match. When a clock card is turned over, it is added to the time row. When the 12th clock card is turned over, the game ends. At this point the players try to determine which three cards have been removed from the deck, based on the cards they have seen and the pairs that they matched.
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52. Board Game: Shadows in the Forest [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:4500]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
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Great kids` game (+ 1 adult gamer)
Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Total plays: 154

All (dwarves) vs. one (the one with the light)

"Excellent cooperative game for children. The game mechanics need a bit of work, but the concept is one I believe to be unique - Played in pitch black darkness and the only allowable light source is a game piece. Very fun idea that is perfect for late night power outages. A session with experienced wargamers proved boring and too easy. The alternate (back side of the board) version proved too challenging for the wargamers whose minds were obviously stunted by the ease of the first round. I do find it gleefully disturbing that the enclosed matchbook depicts children playing.. kids, don't play with matches. This especially applies to 35yo wargamers."
Alexander Zhang (Chrysophylax)


Picture by Jonathan Dietrich (porter235)

Annotation: Not even mentioned as co-operative on the game page here.
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53. Board Game: Piraten-Abenteuer [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:10092]
Gene
United States
Venice
Florida
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players
Total Plays: 42
Players vs. Game


1991 Kinderspiel des Jahres Winner.
Also part of "Klutz's 15 Greatest Board Games".

A great intro to co-op gaming for kids. Fast and family friendly with rule variations to vary the playing difficulty.


The players are all shipwrecked on a deserted island, working together to move their rafts to safety while trying to avoid the pirates. If a raft is captured by the pirates, the players have a chance to rescue the prisoners...at the cost of valuable time and supplies.
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54. Board Game: Orient-Express [Average Rating:5.95 Unranked]
Frank Eisenhauer
India
New Delhi
Delhi
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Not very well known, but quite nice family game.

Players vs Game

Essentially a coop-race game, the players help "Sir Henry" to travel to Constantinople by train faster than his adversary the Admiral.
Fast and family friendly theme.
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55. Board Game: Diplomatic Mission [Average Rating:6.25 Unranked]
Nello Cozzolino
United Kingdom
London
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the 2 players united to reach a peace agreement
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56. Board Game: Mall of Horror [Average Rating:6.65 Overall Rank:1402]
j Willis
United States
Vestal
New York
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Kind of? You DO have to work together... right before you shove a buddy out of the door. I don't really think of this as a co-op, but it does have some elements.
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57. Board Game: Zomboree [Average Rating:6.83 Unranked]
Mark Cookman
United States
Tampa
FL
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This is not strictly a cooperative game, it is more of a team game. Survivors must cooperate however or they stand no chance of surviving through the week. By the same token, Zombies must cooperate else they will not wipe out the Survivors before the week expires. This game is a lot of fun!

zombiezombiezombiesurprisezombiezombiezombie
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58. Board Game: The Three Musketeers: The Queen's Pendants [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:3197]
 
Mark Slater
United Kingdom
Newport
Newport, South Wales
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Lets get some litarary classics in to this list

All vs One (or "All for one, & one for all")

4 players (Mustketeers) trying to return the queens jewels playing against Milady and the cardinals guards
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59. Board Game: Mousquetaires du Roy [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:2155]
Mark Slater
United Kingdom
Newport
Newport, South Wales
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More Musketeer goodness.

More strategy than the previous game, this covers much of france (whereas the other is set in the Louve)

Milady player has some hidden movement, not played this one yet.
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60. Board Game: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:574]
Mike Heine
United States
Minnetrista
Minnesota
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1,2,3,4,5,6 players

Total Plays:2625

Team vs. Game

A newer game that I love. It is quite challenging and can be played solo or up to 6-players.
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61. Board Game: Forbidden Island [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:647]
Mike Heine
United States
Minnetrista
Minnesota
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1,2,3,4 players

Total plays 6148

Team vs. Game

Forgot this one. Simplified version of Pandemic.
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62. Board Game: Atlantis Rising [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:2648]
Galen Ciscell
United States
Auburn
WA
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While y'all won't be able to see how great it is until it releases (hopefully this summer), as the designer I think it is a pretty amazing cooperative game

Best with 5, 6 players*
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players*
Total Plays: 103*
Players vs. Game

The players must race to construct a cosmic gate capable of transporting the sinking island to the stars before it disappears forever beneath the waves.

A risk-and-reward worker placement game with rising tension, variable difficulty levels, and cooperative decision-making.

*My recommendations and the number of times I personally have played it.

Edit: Added a little more info to conform to the basic format of earlier items.
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63. Board Game: iDetective #1: The Case of the Burglary at Bellamy's [Average Rating:7.57 Unranked]
Martin Vetter
Denmark
Hilleroed
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One of the best story based games ever played. Great co-op story driven experience. And it's an instant download PDF so very easy to get playing immediately.
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64. Board Game: Middle-Earth Quest [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:493]
Tamás Novák
Hungary
Budapest
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A very good Lord of the Rings theme.

2-4 players vs. One
(2-4 Heroes against Sauron)
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65. Board Game: 7 Days of Westerplatte [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:4376]
Bartek Kanafa
Poland
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The game will be released during Essen Spiel 2013 (on the 1st of September in Poland - in the anniversary of the event).
In the game, the players incorporate the roles of the commanding officers defending Westerplatte pennisula from fierceful German attacks.
They have different weapons at their disposal, from rifles to landmines and mortars.
Definiately worth checking out!
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66. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:902]
D F Visker
Netherlands
Rijen
Noord Brabant
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Castle panic is a cooperative board game we like to play with our children.

I'd like to add this one to the list.
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67. Board Game: Flash Point: Fire Rescue [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:288]
Chris McCleary
United States
Woodbridge
Virginia
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Fully co-operative. Excellent theme/implementation.
# of Players: 1−6
Ages: 8 and up.

From BGG description:
The call comes in... "911, what is your emergency?" On the other end is a panicked response of "FIRE!" Moments later you don the protective suits that will keep you alive, gather your equipment and rush to the scene of a blazing inferno. The team has only seconds to assess the situation and devise a plan of attack – then you spring into action like the trained professionals that you are. You must face your fears, never give up, and above all else work as a team because the fire is raging, the building is threatening to collapse, and lives are in danger.

You must succeed. You are the brave men and women of fire rescue; people are depending on you. This is what you do every day.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue is a cooperative game of fire rescue.
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68. Board Game: Train Heist [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:5634]
Sean McDonald
Canada
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Fully Co-operative. Offers Versus Mode as well. Very thematic.
# of Players: 1−4
Ages: 12 and up.

Full disclosure, I designed it.

Train Heist is a cooperative board game of rightin' wrongs and robbin' trains. In Train Heist, 2 to 4 players take the role of a band of cowboys who work together to stop the corrupt Sheriff and the rich folks of Notting County from stealing all of the townsfolk's earnings.

Unlike a traditional board game with a set path and place to go, Train Heist uses a free-range board where players can go anywhere they need to get the job done. It also uses a unique game mechanic that causes the train to move around the board and load up new cargo and passengers, all while triggering random hectic events. Featuring a special three-suit Poker Deck, players use hands of cards to loot the train, race their horse across Crackpot Canyon to deliver the goods, all while earning reputations and special abilities that will stick with them until the end of the game! If the townsfolk keep running out of loot to pay the Sheriff, it could be game over. Reach the right amount of loot before the Event Deck runs out and the train skips town to win! In Train Heist, you must think ahead and work together to achieve victory!


Available in on Amazon and boardgames.ca
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69. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:42]
Pedro Sanchez
Spain
Manzanares el Real
Madrid
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One of the best (if not the best) cooperative game in the market.
It's been severly criticized but I still think the game is awesome and you can have a very inmersive and challenging cooperative experience.
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70. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:113] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Pedro Sanchez
Spain
Manzanares el Real
Madrid
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Exetremely challenging and a lot of fun. It takes some pretty serious cooperation and a great deal of luck to beat. There is an overwhelming number of expansions with new scenarios. I have played this game more than 50 times and i always want to play it again. Collectors beware! There is a ton of expansions and they wont come cheap XD
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71. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:82] [Average Rating:7.66 Unranked]
Rocka Rolla
Germany
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Recommended with 3-5 players
co-op with potential defector

This is in my top 5. Like Betrayal at House on the Hill (but more technically mature), it is more about telling a great story than anything else. I love the atmosphere, I love the Shadows over Camelot brand of paranoia.
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72. Board Game: Forbidden Desert [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:309]
Lithuania
Vilnius/London
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1–5 players

Team vs Game

Desert-themed cooperative game by Matt Leacock (designer of Pandemic). The rules are straightforward to make it family friendly and overall accessible. Theme is enhanced by excellent components.
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73. Board Game: Virus [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:7333]
chiara spa
Italy
Rome
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Best: 4 players
Recommended with 1,2,3 and 4 players

Team vs Game
Traitor

The first game with a "roll the cube" mechanism. No dice. You roll your action cubes and your bullets on the player board to fight the monstrous creatures. Your positive cubes determine your success attempting to attack, dodge or flee.

The characters start at the entrance of the laboratory and they must find the antidote for the Virus Q: they will venture into the most secluded corners of the structure. They have no clue of where the antidote is hidden. As players advance, they create the game board by placing rooms from their display.

Real time, roll the cube, puzzle gaming and strategy. Can't wait! Kickstarter on May 2016!
 
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74. Board Game: Freedom: The Underground Railroad [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:342]
George Parker
United States
Aggieland
Texas
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Recommended with 1–4 players

Total Plays: 4090

Team vs. Game

Honors:
2013 Golden Geek Best Thematic Board Game Nominee
2014 International Gamers Award - General Strategy: Multi-player Nominee
2014 Origins Awards Best Historical Board Game Nominee

scottwoods - "...Freedom is professionally wrought, uses engaging mechanics and doesn't tip into areas of its subject matter that would make play uncomfortable. Nobody has to play "slave catcher" or be a plantation owner; all players are abolitionists attempting to get slaves across the Canadian border (because Cleveland, Boston and Chicago simply aren't North enough in 1860). It has tons of nods to history without feeling like you're playing a textbook, and while it's too dense in some ways for children, an enterprising teenager could easily be compelled to play with guidance. You can focus on the theme, but really the history is mostly a bonus to an otherwise perfectly engaging game. The game isn't racist, nor does it expose anyone to mistruths or derogatory imagery. I know a lot of people will see this game and be inclined to treat it like a racist Ouija board..."not in my house! Slavery is not a game!" And if this game had players acting on behalf of slavery - as plantation owners or hunters or slavers - I'd be knocking on the door of its designers with The Gramercy Riffs in tow. But what we've been offered is a game with a brain, with a consideration of the sensitivity of its subject matter, and that ultimately engages players in the way every good historical game should."
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