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Subject: Recommend some good Co-op games? rss

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Brian Tanner
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Hey all,

I was wondering if anyone could throw out some recommendations for some good cooperative board games. I have never played any before, but I really like the idea of a cooperative board game, as I love co-op and team games in general.

It'd ideally need to be from 4-6 players, as our group varies between those sizes. I'd also like one that doesn't take hours and hours to play.

For example I've heard a lot about Arkham Horror, but that game takes hours and hours to play doesn't it? Same with Descent: Journeys in the Dark, as my group has dabbled in Dungeons and Dragons, but that seems to take a long time to play, and one player has to be an overlord which makes it not a strictly co-op game.

I've heard a lot about Ghost Stories, and it seems intriguing. Anyone have personal experience with that one? How fun / hard is it? I hear its incredibly hard. I don't mine difficult games, but if we never ever win then my group will get frustrated with it. Also it seems as if it could get repetitive, is this the case?

At any rate, so far this community has been great to me, so I can't wait to hear some recommendations =D.
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I haven't played Ghost Stories, but I too have heard that it's difficult (but good). You could check out the video reviews that are available here and here to get a better sense of it.

Pandemic with its expansion Pandemic: On the Brink plays up to 5 and might be a good choice. Save the world from disease in an hour or less!



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Jim Cote
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I wrote this a while back, before Ghost Stories.

Comparison of 6 major cooperative games
 
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Carlos Moreno Serrano
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I would have a look at Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
I haven't played it yet, but the reviews and comments from people that play it are great. It can play with 4 to 6 players although some people dread the 6-player games. They say the sweet spot for this game is 5 players, but some other guys say 6 are even better.

I actually bought a copy and it's waiting at work for me to pick it up.

There are some video reviews that I strongly suggest you to view. Have a look!
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Jacob Fulwiler
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Battlestar Galactica and Descent spring to mind. I've played games of Descent that took just about 3 hours to finish and I've played some that have taken around 6. It depends on the scenario you're playing and the experience of the players. Either way, I'd recommend both games.
 
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Joe Thomas
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Shadows over Camelot

Bang! Kinda

The Isle of Doctor Necreaux

Red November

Saboteur

Space Alert

I hope that this helps.
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Jamie Vantries
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Ghost Stories and Pandemic are going to be your best bets. Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is really good but it takes hours to play. Shadows over Camelot is like a less fun (but still decent) but shorter version of Battlestar Galactica.

Ghost Stories is really hard, but when you finally do beat it, it feels like you actually accomplished something.
Pandemic aint too hard, aint too easy. Without the expansion, I find the game a bit dull.
Lord of the Rings is another pretty good one.
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EJ Holleman
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I own Arkham Horror, Pandemic, Lord of the Rings, Shadows over Camelot, Descent and Space Alert. I think they all have their charm.

If you like a very hectic game, go for Space Alert. It takes the shortest time to play in comparison to the other games, and doesn't suffer as much as the others from the 'one-who-knows-it-all-will-tell-you-what-to-do'-syndrome.

As in the previous post, I also think that Pandemic is a bit dull.

Storywise, AH, LOTR and Descent are the best.

Good luck!

EJH



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I can vouch for Pandemic as an excellent lighter, shorter co-op game.

Lord of the Rings is also excellent but is a little longer and complicated.

Shadows over Camelot is also pretty good, but I like Pandemic better.
 
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Of the coop games I own and have played -- Lord of the Rings, Shadow over Camelot and Pandemic -- Pandemic is the easiest to teach and play. And it is the quickest to play. They all have their merits, but for novices (and adults), Pandemic is the one I'll pull out.

Descent and Doom are good games, but, as you mentioned, require an overlord and a serious commitment to time (and table space).
 
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Jeff Wood
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Don't forget Vanished Planet.
 
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Robert Washington

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, ARKHAM HORROR and SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT are the most consistently popular co-ops in my playgroups, pretty much in that order, though I personally think VANISHED PLANET is severely underrated.
 
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Brian Tanner
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Thanks for all the good advice guys. I think I am going to go with Ghost Stories =D, If I can find someone to trade this Magic card collection with...
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Patrick Williams
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Couple more to consider:

Fury of Dracula (4 players max, I believe). I like this one a lot.

Scotland Yard (again, I think 4 players max). An 'oldie-but-goodie' and favorite of mine since I was a kid.
 
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Minor correction: Fury of Dracula has a five-player maximum. Also, you might want bear in mind that one of the players is most definitely not cooperating with the others, so if you want a fully cooperative game for all players this won't do; otherwise, yes, a good game.
 
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Another cooperative game, not mentioned yet as far as I can see, is Aliens, with or without the expansion, from 20+ years ago (might be a bit expensive). It does require cooperation to do well, the rules are pretty straightforward, there are various ways of upping the difficulty when you've started to get most of the marines out safely more often than not and it doesn't take hours and hours to play.
 
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p55carroll
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I've only tried two. FWIW, I traded Pandemic away after playing a few times. And I recently got Lord of the Rings and am enjoying it quite a bit so far.
 
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Garcian Smith
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I want to throw out another viewpoint here.

I used to have an excitement over co-op games, but after a while, it vanished. It's like the Wii, a novelty, but it can get old.

What you want is replay value.

I own or have played: Shadows over Camelot, Lord of the Rings, Pandemic, Battlestar Galactica and Saboteur.

The thing about co-op games is that it's essentially a puzzle. It's a puzzle because after you do your move, the game does not respond, but throw another puzzle. It's up to you to figure out the most efficient manner to solve it.

I would go for a game with a traitor element to it to increase replay value.

Lord of the Rings was an okay game, but it's mired with fairly bad component quality.

Pandemic is a well-designed game, but it gets a bit... repetitive. I mean sure the diseases change location game to game, but it feels like you have to do move X otherwise you'll get hit with punishment Y. There's no room for sub-optimal moves that people do from time to time.

Galactica is pretty amazing, but the game time is quite a commitment. It's not that it's a complex game at all, but there are lots of little rules to remember. However, the game is intense with the piling of the raiders and the immediate relief of a jump. Very emotional.

Shadows over Camelot is a game I've played over 60 times. Again, not too complex, but lots of little rules. The end game can be anticlimactic when you have to LOSE a quest in order to win a game. The rules in this game however are a lot more sneaky and hard to find than galactica. For instance, I didn't know that you could use the merlin card on a saxon barbarian until my 65th game of it because the card never mentioned it. You also have lots of little rules like, "If a knight leaves a single player quest, all cards are removed.", "Knights can not draw at Camelot if they have 12+ cards.", etc. The player amount is best from 5-7 players too, so... quite a requirement to fill.

All I can really say is that this genre won't have as much replay value as games where it is against the players directly because the game is scripted, while player choices vary a lot. In terms of game quality, I would have to go with Battlestar Galactica. In terms of play-time, Pandemic takes the cake.

But you know what, most of the highly replayable games never reach that level since it's easier to play with new people. I would recommend Pandemic most likely since it's easy to learn and fast, the two best ingredients for new players. Battlestar offers a lot more interesting decisions, but has a longer play time... two factors that suit the veteran gamer.

So if you have a stable group of veteran games that you spend your time mostly with, I would go with Battlestar. If the people you game with change frequently and are relatively new to gaming, go with Pandemic. Games are not about what you like, but about who you play with.

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