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PeakHope's comprehensive list of purely cooperative games
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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. To check whether a game is already on the list, click "Titles Only", and then use your browser's find-in-page feature (Ctrl-F). I have disabled 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 list that is structured and correct, without cruft.

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 types of games NOT included on this list:

- Not yet been released
- Traitors or betrayal
- Require DM/GM/Referee
- One vs. Many
- Teams
- Just for kids
- Activities (as opposed to games)


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: Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 [Average Rating:8.67 Overall Rank:1]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 60 minutes (per session)
Status: Published 2015

This reimplements the famous and popular Pandemic into a "legacy" format. The world is threatened by pandemic diseases, and the players are CDC workers trying to cure them. As you play through a campaign of 12-24 sessions, you permanently modify your copy of the game. That could mean writing on the board, applying stickers, or tearing up cards.

The game comes in two versions ("blue" and "red"), but the only difference is the box color. The contents are the same. This is to help someone running 2 campaigns at the same time to keep them straight.

The publisher recommends that all the players be familiar with Pandemic before trying Legacy. The campaign works even without having a consistent set of players throughout.

After the campaign is finished, the game is still technically playable repeatedly, using the board and components as they ended up. It's not clear how fun or satisfying that would be.
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2. Board Game: Gloomhaven [Average Rating:9.15 Overall Rank:7]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 60-120 minutes (per session)
Status: Published 2017

Set in its own fantasy world, this is a massive legacy/campaign game. Trying to avoid spoilers: There are dozens of scenarios in addition to randomized scenarios. Multiple parties can adventure in the same world (separately). Players are not supposed to share details of what cards are in their hand or that they are going to play. Combat doesn't use dice, but does rely on a random draw that affects the result. Player elimination within a session is possible, but (mostly?) avoidable.

The game can be played as a "legacy" game, with tearing up cards, applying stickers, and permanently writing on components. Or supposedly you can fairly easily play it without making permanent changes to your components (aside from scratching cards to reveal new content). The designer also offers a free "reset kit" to allow you to restart with a clean map.
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3. Board Game: Mage Knight Board Game [Average Rating:8.14 Overall Rank:15]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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4. Board Game: Mansions of Madness: Second Edition [Average Rating:8.33 Overall Rank:21] [Average Rating:8.33 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 120-360 minutes (depending on the scenario)
Status: Published 2016

Set in the world of Lovecraft, this new edition of Mansions of Madness replaces the human game master with an app. "Eight brave investigators stand ready to confront four scenarios of fear and mystery, collecting weapons, tools, and information, solving complex puzzles, and fighting monsters, insanity, and death." Combat is resolved with dice. There are 4 scenarios in the box, with some setup variability.

The app (which is required to play the game) is available for Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows. Best on a tablet or laptop, not a small phone screen.

EDIT: Updated the duration, screen size issue, and number of scenarios.
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5. Board Game: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:22]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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6. Board Game: Mechs vs. Minions [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:24]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 60-90 minutes
Status: Published 2016

Each player controls a "mech", and together they battle minions in a variety of scenarios. Gamplay features a real-time card draft which feeds into a programming system, where once the instructions are locked in, you can't change them until the following round. Mechs move around a grid, stomping on or firing at minions, and completing other objectives. Combat is deterministic (no randomness). The game features impressive minis.

EDIT: Tweaks to the description to make it a bit more clear.
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7. Board Game: Codenames [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:28] [Average Rating:7.91 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 2 to 8 (or more)
Length: 15 minutes
Status: Published 2015

In this party game, one player gives clues to try to get the other teammates to choose the correct words from a grid. Players must identify words belonging to their team, while avoiding those belonging to the enemy.

The core rules pit 2 teams against each other in a competition, but the rulebook includes a pure co-op variant where everyone is on the same team. Rather than having a win/loss condition, the co-op mode has you trying to get a high score.
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8. Board Game: T.I.M.E Stories [Average Rating:8.06 Overall Rank:29]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 60-90 minutes (per session)
Status: Published 2015

Players are agents from the future, sent back in time to right some wrong. The base game scenario is in a 1920's asylum, and the first expansion is an infected city in the 1990's. The core of the game is moving to a location, reading text on a card, and rolling dice to try to succeed at a challenge.

But the clever hooks are 1) you can't share the exact text of the card with other players, encouraging storytelling in your own voice, and 2) a "Groundhog Day" style, where you go back into the same story repeatedly, until you can use your past knowledge to work through it efficiently enough to succeed.

With 2 players, the official variant has each controlling 2 in-game characters. That greatly reduces immersion, and loses some of the storytelling. An unofficial variant allows each player to control one character, and together they share control of a third (neutral/dummy) character.

Each session should run 60-90 minutes, but it will take repeated plays (5-10?) to successfully complete the mission. The base game only includes a single mission, and each expansion (at least so far) includes one more mission.

[EDIT: Mentioned the unofficial variant; made some language more neutral.]
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9. Board Game: Arkham Horror: The Card Game [Average Rating:8.42 Overall Rank:32]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 1 or 2 (up to 4 with 2 copies)
Length: 60-90 minutes (per session)
Status: Published 2016

Drawing inspiration from Arkham Horror, this LCG (Living Card Game) once again has the players as investigators in Lovecraft's world of Cthulhu. Characters move between locations, gathering clues, and evading or fighting creatures. Encounter and combat resolution is done by comparing stats, modified by played cards and a random chit modifier draw (rather than dice). Effects such as wounds can persist across sessions during a campaign. The base box includes a 3-scenario campaign.

EDIT: Updated description based on new information
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10. Board Game: Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:39] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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11. Board Game: Eldritch Horror [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:40]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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12. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:52]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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13. Board Game: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Thames Murders & Other Cases [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:55] [Average Rating:7.85 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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14. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:59]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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15. Board Game: Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.87 Overall Rank:74] [Average Rating:7.87 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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16. Board Game: Star Realms [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:79] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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17. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:91]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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18. Board Game: Zombicide: Black Plague [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:103] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 60-180 minutes (depending on the quest)
Status: Published 2015

This reimplementation of Zombicide is set in a medieval fantasy world. It is based on the same core mechanisms, with with several rule changes. Players must not only survive the zombie hordes, but must hunt down and kill the necromancers who are responsible for them. The game features miniatures, a modular tile board, and dice combat. There are 11 quests (scenarios) in the book, most of which require 6+ survivors, regardless of player count.
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19. Board Game: Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:105] [Average Rating:7.64 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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20. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:117]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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21. Board Game: Mysterium [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:124]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 2 to 7
Length: "42 minutes" (according to the BGG page)
Status: Published 2015

In this asymmetrical deduction game, one player is a friendly ghost, giving clues to the other players, who are investigating a murder committed long ago. The clues take the form of Dixit-like cards, which the investigators must interpret to determine the WHO, WHERE, and HOW of the murder. If the mystery is solved, then everyone wins (including the ghost), and if not, everyone loses (including the ghost).

This is a re-implemenation of Tajemnicze Domostwo (2013).
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22. Board Game: Kingdom Death: Monster [Average Rating:8.95 Overall Rank:152]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 30-60 minutes
Status: Published 2015

In this fantasy miniatures game, players develop a settlement, and gear up their heroes, while hunting and defeating 25 sets of monsters. The BGG description refers to a "25 lantern year campaign", although it's not yet clear to me what that really means.
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23. Board Game: BattleCON: Devastation of Indines [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:153] [Average Rating:8.11 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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24. Board Game: Dixit [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:157] [Average Rating:7.36 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
California
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mbmbmbmbmb
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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25. Board Game: Mice and Mystics [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:160] [Average Rating:7.48 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Morro Bay
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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