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Subject: Coop Boardgames with great gameplay and Story rss

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Hey guys,

Can you recommend some good coop boardgames with fun gameplay and great story?

The best which I know of are Gloomhaven, Mansions of Madness and Eldritch Horror. It just seems that a lot of Boardgames while they may be thematic, are just mostly mindless mechanics without story or good mechanics but hardly any story.

I didn't like Timestories...
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Paul DeStefano
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I know of one that will be on kickstarter next year...

But that won't help now.
 
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Don
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I would recommend Arkham Horror: The Card Game. It has great mechanics, is coop and falls in line with some of the ones you've mentioned.

I love how the mechanics are versatile enough to allow the game to change from chapter to chapter with the different packs.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Galaxy Defenders is a game that you might want to try. Pandemic is another option for you.
 
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Lucius Nexx
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Dead of Winter might be a good choice for you. You can play without the Betrayer mechanic if you want. I did for my first couple fo games and it works well at getting into how to play the game in a smooth easy manner.

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Jay M
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The 7th Continent.
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Race Bannon wrote:
The 7th Continent.


I played this game’s demo a while ago. It’s wonderful how well it works as a solo game, provided you get into the story.
 
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Jeff Johnson
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I guess the obvious one is Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

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Chris B.
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I find Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island to be incredibly thematic, and paint a wonderful story without overly wordy narrative cards. It's a bit on the hard side, but there are out of the box variants to make it easier if you like. Or harder, if it's not enough.
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Constance Cee
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I'm going to throw Burgle Bros into the mix. While there's not a narrative happening specifically beyond the general heist you're perpetrating, there is a story that emerges during gameplay. Exploring rooms, triggering alarms, hiding from the guard, and loot that causes problems as you try to flee all make for a good story in the end.
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Norman L.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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In my opinion the narrative of a game is "good" if you buy into it.

For example, Leaving Earth can be a cooperatively played game of being a space agency in the 50s through the 70s trying to satisfy both public and political will while struggling to work within a fixed budget -OR- it can be a game where you are trying to earn VP cards for points to win while using a finite amount of resources each turn for 20 turns.

Another example, Eldritch Horror can be a game about a group of investigators who get sucked into a world of the paranormal and have a globe-trotting adventure to stop an ancient evil from destroying the world while trying to avoid going insane/getting hospitalized -OR- it is a game where you take 2 actions per turn, check to see how many dice you have to roll for an action, and then try to roll a 5 or 6 on those dice in order to gather tokens to spend to win the game.

-

Also, "fun" is a matter of opinion. For me, games of social deduction or trading (or any other negative social interaction that involves telling lies, bluffing, or suckering another person into accepting a bad deal) are not fun - but for others it is their bread and butter. For me, deck building isn't that interesting, for others there is nothing better in a game than deck building.

-

So, what cooperative games do I enjoy where I find it tells a good story and has fun mechanisms?

Mansions of Madness 2E with my house rule is the best narrative with okay mechanisms. What is my house rule? Replacing the insanity cards so that they effect behavior instead of win conditions (so someone doesn't have to have no search token on the board at the game end in order to win with the rest, but instead must investigate an unrevealed a search token if it is within sight). Its biggest flaw is the potential of repeating the same adventure over and over again like with TIME Stories (something I really didn't like), and it is the reason why I preferred 1E (with its 3 main plot variants) over 2E - well, that and the human provides better AI than the poorly developed monster procedural AI, and the fact that 1E is a complete board game rather than a half board game and half video game that has a jarring jump between the two during play. Still, despite the criticism I find it a decent game.

Legends of Andor is one that I enjoy a lot. I like the aspect that it isn't a murder-hobo fantasy adventure, where your goal is to just go around killing creatures to become more powerful. Instead, as you kill enemies the story will advance. Thus you have to carefully pick your battles. The narrative is solid also. Of course, like TIME Stories and Mansions of Madness, you will be repeating the same scenario if you fail - but unlike TIME Stories it isn't designed so that you need to fail a few times in order to solve the scenario (though sometimes it seems that way).

This War of Mine is a bit of a cheat because it isn't really a game but a shared narrative experience. I find some of the criticism unjustified, as the whole point of the game's construct seems to be recreate the visceral sense of uncertainty and confusion that the protagonists of the game are experiencing - thus the rulebook isn't something you get to read and understand right away but discover, just as the goals of the game are not known until later. I particularly like how you are detached from any single individual as "yours" and are vested into the entire group equally with other players. This turns all the players into semi-detached observers, almost like you're just watching it on a news report, but you are given agency in their decisions and forced to empathize more with the protagonists.

I already mentioned Leaving Earth, and my wife and I like to play the solitaire mode as a cooperative team game. We really enjoy the game quite a bit that way.

In the Eldritch Horror/Arkham Horror line I prefer A Touch of Evil (though it probably would be a better competitive game) as I like the Tim Burton film version of Sleepy Hollow styled theme; but my wife likes the Indiana Jones styled game play of Fortune and Glory (which is a better cooperative game than competitive game in my opinion, but it works well enough as a competitive game). I will say the Can't Stop push-your-luck dice tests of F&G is something that works quite well in the game.

The Grizzled is another cooperative game I really enjoy. Its odd because I don't like cooperatives that restrict communication, but this one appeals to me. Maybe its the art, maybe its the theme, but probably its because communication would make the game too easy.

Neanderthal is a Sierra Madre Game title of early hominids evolving, developing language, and then forming early tribes. It is normally a competitive game, but it has a cooperative mode that I enjoy. Again, its a theme I buy into and the narrative that evolves works well. Not a game for everyone, but a game for me. Up side is that it had recently finished a kickstarter, so you can go to the SMG website and order a copy for a decent price.

Another odd one I'll throw out is Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection. 'Whaaa- that's not a cooperative game!' some will cry out. Again, I house rule it. In the rules you have a way to play solo, either controlling all sides to explore the story or using a procedural AI; also in the rules they say for 2 players you can choose to use the AI or each player controls one set of factions (Patriots+French or British+Indians). To play cooperative, merely use use 2 player rules but have both players take control of one faction (my wife likes playing the Indians, so I play the British) and then use the AI for the rival two factions. Voila! An awesome cooperative wargame is ready to play.

Of course I have to mention briefly The 7th Continent, which I recently got. My wife and I are on our second adventure and having fun. We love playing adventure game books together, and so this one suits us very well. Explore, discover, and push your luck. The game "save" is also fast and efficient.

There are probably more, but I'll leave it at that. I doubt my post will be much use to you because my sense of fun and story is a bit different than most people I encounter, and it is tailored specifically to the way my wife and I work in cooperative games.

Just a side note, the cooperative app version of Descent 2E fell flat for us. Why? It had bad story design (to me) and was poorly programmed. We finished the first adventure (the intro one) and it was horrible. I was knocked out "for the story" and to teach while my wife got to do things - all because I was the warrior and decided to go first. Afterwords, we were in the city and deciding on treasure when my wife had to take a break. While she was gone my tablet overheated and shut down, and when she got back we were ready to buy the awesome item up for grabs... but we couldn't. The app doesn't remember what was in the store and save it, it randomly generates the information each time you launch the app. Don't like the store items? Save, close the app, open it, and get new inventory. Keep doing this until you get the item you want. That is just sloppy and poorly done programming, as it would take no effort to randomize items for sale and then save it to a small file until players more on. After about 10 minutes I gave up on reloading to get the item we want to purchase, stopped buying Descent items, and haven't played again since. I will say the app is far superior to the solo decks of linear combat rooms - but Descent is just a tactical minis combat game with a race to the goals, and I wanted a dungeon delver. It might work well with others, and it does as it is quite popular.
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Bert Peinlich
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+1 Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

+1 Legends of Andor
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Jonathan A
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skullking80 wrote:
Hey guys,

Can you recommend some good coop boardgames with fun gameplay and great story?

The best which I know of are Gloomhaven, Mansions of Madness and Eldritch Horror. It just seems that a lot of Boardgames while they may be thematic, are just mostly mindless mechanics without story or good mechanics but hardly any story.

I didn't like Timestories...


Kingdom Death: Monster goo
 
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Dirk Will
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Since I am a resident evil fan. I would say try out
RE:Alliance
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91773/resident-evil-deck...

This expansion is a stand alone game and it has a co op mansion mode.
if you like RE you might like the story but if not a fan maybe the other recommendations would more suit.
 
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Adam Reynolds
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Burgle Bros. - you wont be sorry
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Paul Kreutzer
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+Lord of the Rings
 
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Brian Robson
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constancy wrote:
I'm going to throw Burgle Bros into the mix. While there's not a narrative happening specifically beyond the general heist you're perpetrating, there is a story that emerges during gameplay. Exploring rooms, triggering alarms, hiding from the guard, and loot that causes problems as you try to flee all make for a good story in the end.

akaadam wrote:
Burgle Bros. - you wont be sorry

This thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup
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Randall COBB
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A couple more obscure suggestions if you can find copies are The Shared Dream and Camp Grizzly.
 
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Ryan Bull
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I feel good mechanisms are never "mindless". In fact, for me the best stories occur naturally as a result of good mechanisms, artwork, and the balance of theme and abstraction.

That being said, I think Robinson Crusoe is perhaps the most thematically rich coop game I know of with solid mechanisms almost seamlessly integrated.

Dead of Winter is also a great coop game that promotes story building within it's mechanisms.

But for me the ultimate thematic coop experience has to be the original Space Cadets. It really makes you feel as if you're flying through space in a ship being (barely) controlled by your fellow friends/comrades. Watch Shut up and Sit Town's play through to get a good feel for the organic story that unfolds during this oft-overlooked game.
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Gary Boyd
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Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
Pandemic Legacy: Season 2
The Grizzled
Betrayal at House on the Hill
Mice and Mystics
Zombicide: Black Plague
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game
Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
Shadowrun: Crossfire
Freedom: The Underground Railroad

Team Games
Captain Sonar
Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space
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Timothy Adamson
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Sherlock Holmes consulting detective. A game all about narrative, an open ended mystery solving game. Most story I've seen in a game, but note that it's all consumptive. You experience but do not contribute. Also it's amazing.
 
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Lockridge wrote:
I would recommend Arkham Horror: The Card Game. It has great mechanics, is coop and falls in line with some of the ones you've mentioned.

I love how the mechanics are versatile enough to allow the game to change from chapter to chapter with the different packs.


Came here to say that.
 
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Joseph Whitaker
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I'd recommend you check out This War of Mine: The Board Game. It checks off a lot of your boxes. It's story and mechanics are really good, with plenty of meaningful decisions to be made.
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Jimmy Pattaya
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The original Arkham Horror + all of the expansions are still the best co-op
story-telling experience IMHO.
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