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Subject: Co-op beginner recommendations? rss

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Jenny
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I'm just starting up my board game collection and interested in picking up our first co-op game. Having never played one, and being a VERY new board gamer, what would be good for s group that has absolutely no experience with this kind of game. And very little experience in general - I'm talking Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Splendor kind of level of playing.

I've looked at the obvious ones (I think they're obvious anyway):

Pandemic
Forbidden Island
Robinson Crusoe (though haven't looked at this in so much detail)

What am I missing? What is a great gateway game into the world of co-ops?
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Alex
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Buy Pandemic.

Most people tend to like Pandemic and it is indeed a lot of fun for the first 20-40 playthroughs. Also it is super easy to explain and there are not much rules to learn and teach.
The mechanics are simple and the gameplay is fast but also challenging on a satisfying level. Excellent for beginners.

I personally would not start with robinson crusoe only because it is really complicated in my opinion. This could turn people off.
Once you got figured out if your people are up for more complicated games and also like coop then you should definitely consider getting Robinson Crusoe. You could also check out Dead of Winter which is kind of in between Pandemic and Crusoe when it comes to rules but also great fun.
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Craig B
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Pandemic.

And then if you enjoy it, but find it too easy, get Pandemic: On the Brink expansion.
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Mark McGee
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Forbidden Island 100%. It's easier to learn than Pandemic, has better components, and gives the same experience in less time. I have played it lots of times and it's still one of my preferred co-ops.
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Kiai Weidemann
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I agree that Pandemic would be my first choice from your list.

You might consider Battlestar Galactica. It is not for everyone, but I love this game. It's mechanics are someplace between Pandemic and Robinson Crusoe. If you want to do Robinson Crusoe, I recommend you playing solo a few times to lock the rules in for yourself before teaching it to others.
 
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Ronald
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+1 for Pandemic, i got only good feedback up to now when introducing it.
Forbidden Island might be too simple, Forbidden dessert is better.
Robinson Crusoe - No,no. Much more rules heavy rules (compared to the other games) and you really should like losing.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue is good too. It has family rules and then you can step up to the advanced game.

For me it would be between Pandemic/Dessert/Flash Point. All good games, pick whatever theme you like most.
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Mark Johnson
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Pandemic, but I'd go for Pandemic: Iberia. While the number of roles are the same, it has 3x the number of event cards for better variety. It also comes with two play variants for additional variety. It's not a complicated game either. I've introduced it to newbies before.
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I don't think co-op recommendations are that obvious. But considering the three titles you mentioned, I assume that you prefer Euro games?

In that case, I would probably really go for Pandemic. If you are open to the wide range of games, than there are other games to consider as well:
Zombicide: Black Plague
Hanabi
Agents of SMERSH
Mechs vs. Minions
The Big Book of Madness
Dungeon Fighter
T.I.M.E Stories
just to name a few (and I didn't even get started on dungeon crawlers...)
 
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Brad N
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Lunacat wrote:
I'm just starting up my board game collection and interested in picking up our first co-op game. Having never played one, and being a VERY new board gamer, what would be good for s group that has absolutely no experience with this kind of game. And very little experience in general - I'm talking Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, Splendor kind of level of playing.

I've looked at the obvious ones (I think they're obvious anyway):

Pandemic
Forbidden Island
Robinson Crusoe (though haven't looked at this in so much detail)

What am I missing? What is a great gateway game into the world of co-ops?

I've played Pandemic and Forbidden Island quite a bit and never played Robinson Crusoe. Based on what you are asking for, I would not recommend Robinson Crusoe... I haven't played it, but I believe the complexity is beyond what you are seeking.

Pandemic and Forbidden Island are similar and both are quality games in my opinion. If you truly want the lighter of the two games then Forbidden Island is the way to go. The theme is more playful and the rules are simpler and the game is easier to play overall. Pandemic is the better game, IMO, as it provides more depth and opportunity for smart strategic and tactical decisions as you play. There is a bit more to the game, but not too much more than Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne. I will say, there are more rules and stuff to remember than Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne, just not a lot more.
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Yours Truly,
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I'd recommend

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

It's a great co-op gateway.
For some reason, I find that it has less of an "alpha player" issue than Pandemic. Maybe because you don't have the card aspect? It's just action points, and it's easier to let someone have at it on their turn, after coordinating when necessary.

It's also very scalable in difficulty, as you get better at it. And it's got a lot of good expansions, both mini and larger (new boards etc).
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Julien
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RitterFips wrote:
+1 for Pandemic, i got only good feedback up to now when introducing it.
Forbidden Island might be too simple, Forbidden dessert is better.
Robinson Crusoe - No,no. Much more rules heavy rules (compared to the other games) and you really should like losing.
Flash Point: Fire Rescue is good too. It has family rules and then you can step up to the advanced game.

For me it would be between Pandemic/Dessert/Flash Point. All good games, pick whatever theme you like most.


+1 for Flash Point: Fire Rescue which is very intuitive and hence makes rules easy to learn. There are a bunch of expansions as well if you are really into it.

Same thoughts about Forbidden Island, which you will outgrow very quickly.
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Yours Truly,
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And +1 to NOT getting Robinson Crusoe as a co-op gateway! It's like taking your first driving lesson in a big Mack truck.
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Ray
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When I was first getting into the hobby I played Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, and Pandemic. I thought that Pandemic was no more complicated than Carcassone and Ticket to Ride. It has loads of replayability (I'm on something like 55+ plays and it has yet to feel "stale").

Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert are good games and a bit easier to learn though personally I find Pandemic getting to my table more frequently. Hard to pin exactly why.

Flashpoint would be another game to consider instead of Pandemic. Pandemic uses a deck of cards to place infections (bad stuff) and with enough play it can be somewhat predictable what is going to happen though never fully predictable. With Flashpoint the fire (bad stuff) spreads with rolling of dice so it becomes much more unpredictable. Otherwise the games play pretty similarly.

Zombicide is a great game and one of my favorites but I find it hard to recommend to someone new to gaming. First, it generally has a larger price tag (Retailing between $100 but can be found on sale for $50-70). Other co-ops generally can be found for $20-40 without issue. Second is the play time. All the other games mentioned can generally be played in an hour or less. Zombicide plays in nothing less than 2 hours, and if you're playing with friends then plan on 3-4 hours because of table chatter. It's a great game, but I think it's generally better to look at the games that are easier to get to the table first and if those don't scare you away then come back to consider zombicide if it catches your interest.
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Village Idiot
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Forbidden Island for sure.

Easy to learn, lots of fun, quick playing time, cheap price point, great components... It's definitely the best co-op gateway game out there.

If you like Forbidden Island, then consider Pandemic and Forbidden Desert for deeper, but similar gameplay experiences. All 3 are by the same designer, and all 3 have a space on my shelf. Personally, Forbidden Desert is my favorite co-op of all time, but I would still start with Forbidden Island.
 
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L B
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+1 to Pandemic, Forbidden Island or Flashpoint Fire Rescue. Any of those would be great, so pick the theme that appeals to you. All have similar mechanics.

Look into Castle Panic, which is simple and fun. You can add more challenge to it with the wizard's tower expansion.
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Brad N
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Following up on my opinion of others' recommendations for whatever it's worth... I've played tons of cooperative games and Flash Point: Fire Rescue is very good, IMO. I quite like it and it's not overly complex... very comparable to Pandemic. Forbidden Island is the simplest and a decent game... for me, it's not nearly as good a game as Pandemic or Flash Point though. Flash Point has tons of expansions which I own. I don't think they are necessary to enjoy the game at all... they are nice additions if you like the base.

Castle Panic is one of the few games I own that I think is weak or bad without an expansion. Add the Wizard's Tower expansion and you have a good, cooperative game. I'd still recommend all of the others as your first game to buy, but Castle Panic with Wizard's Tower isn't bad at all. It's not a complex game, but there are a good number of special rules to remember with the expansion in play.
 
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Yours Truly,
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bnordeng wrote:


Castle Panic is one of the few games I own that I think is weak or bad without an expansion. Add the Wizard's Tower expansion and you have a good, cooperative game. I'd still recommend all of the others as your first game to buy, but Castle Panic with Wizard's Tower isn't bad at all. It's not a complex game, but there are a good number of special rules to remember with the expansion in play.


I have only played the base of Castle Panic so far. My 2 cents on it is that with base-only, it felt a little light for adults. I'd enjoy it as a family game with kids or young teens, but not for a game with only adult players.

Interesting to hear the expansion adds more strategy, though...
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Zach Pasqualetto
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I would really recommend against Robinson Crusoe for a beginner. While it's an awesome game, there are a ton of rules that make it complex and take a while. I've played it close to 15-20 times and I'm still looking up rules. It's also REALLY challenging and for a new gamer, that combination of complexity and challenge might be a turn off.

Definitely start with Pandemic or Forbidden Island. Both are about the same weight. If you want a next step for a tougher game, go to Ghost Stories, it's still TOUGH but not as complex as Robinson Crusoe.

You will find there is no lack of great games in this genre and you're bound to find 10-15 co-op games you like.
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Robert Wolkey
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Pandemic > Forbidden Island

Don't waste your money on Forbidden Island. It is much too simplistic. We played it once then I gave it away to a friend who has young children.
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Darren Martin
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Another recommendation for Flash Point here. The fact it has beginner and advanced rule sets means you can tailor the game to your group.

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Geoffrey Burrell
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You may want to look at trying Galaxy Defenders.
 
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Or possibly Shadowrun: Crossfire.
 
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L B
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
bnordeng wrote:


Castle Panic is one of the few games I own that I think is weak or bad without an expansion. Add the Wizard's Tower expansion and you have a good, cooperative game. I'd still recommend all of the others as your first game to buy, but Castle Panic with Wizard's Tower isn't bad at all. It's not a complex game, but there are a good number of special rules to remember with the expansion in play.


I have only played the base of Castle Panic so far. My 2 cents on it is that with base-only, it felt a little light for adults. I'd enjoy it as a family game with kids or young teens, but not for a game with only adult players.

Interesting to hear the expansion adds more strategy, though...


Yes, the base game is light, but the weight is in keeping with the other games in the OP's collection (highest game weight just over 2.0) and it is definitely a simple co-op game that can be a good introduction to players who have little game experience and no co-op experience. It allows for an easy intro with the expansion adding depth if players enjoy the game. I think to say it's a little light for adults is assuming that all adults want a deeper game. It's certainly a game I'd consider breaking out if I had someone new to gaming and who had never played a co-op before, whether adult or kid. Then again, my feelings are probably tempered by experiences with trying to introduce games to adults who were completely overwhelmed by what I'd consider to be straight forward games or mechanics. I've seen smart adults confused by Love Letter or Resistance Avalon. I'd rather start simple and build from there.

GeoffreyB wrote:


For a group that "has absolutely no experience" with a co-op and little gaming experience, I'd be reluctant. It has a bit of complexity and can be very punishing. I think it could be a frustrating experience for a newer player.
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Mark Robinson
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I'm very new to it all too.

The first two games I bought were Ticket To Ride: Europe and Pandemic.

I'd definitely recommend Pandemic, it seems to work for 1-4 people and scales nicely. It has different difficulty settings and has lots of expansions if you really like it.

 
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So So
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Burgle Bros. Its not very complex, but has tons of theme and replayability.
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