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Subject: What is the best co-op game? Why? rss

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Rich Charters
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We have Forbidden Island and Pandemic. The kids like the relics in Forbidden Island, and I prefer Pandemic.

My impression is Arkham Horror is too long (and too expensive?)

I'm thinking either: Shadows over Camelot or Defends of the Realm would be the way to go for the next co-op.

Space Alert, seems interesting to experience, but not to own?

Thoughts? Recommendations?
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Paul DeStefano
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Defenders Of The Realm doth rock the house.
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David Wilcox
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Agree, Defenders of the Realm is the best. Epic feel, no one general dominating the game, individual powers and great minis!
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Jessey
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Space Alert with the expansion Space Alert: The New Frontier.

The base game is an absolutely phenomenal co-op experience. The real time nature of the game sets it so far apart from the rest of the crowd. The difficulty scaling of the game is also spot on. Even the easiest difficulty still feels challenging (and the hardest difficulty is absurd), kind of like Pandemic in that regard. The game doesn't rely on randomness (like Pandemic does) to create challenge, it relies on the constantly ticking clock (that reminds you periodically that it is ticking).

When you add the expansion the addition of roles (which come with unique powers so that each player can do something no other player can) and the new types of threats take the game from top shelf to always on the table. The character sheets, achievements and experience system are all excellent motivators that will lead to many 'ok lets play one more' nights.

The catch, you will either love Space Alert or hate it. I love it, everyone I know loves it (except that one person who hates it). The game can be stressful (especially if you play the highest difficulty, or if you are brave enough to try a solo game). If possible, try it before you buy it. I can't imagine *not* owning it.

I have Pandemic as well, haven't played it since I played it solo (one game of Pandemic solo and it was ruined for me. It is way too easy to play by yourself). Forbidden Island is too simple, Arkham Horror takes up more floor space than I have, Defenders of the Realm is Pandemic but more of it and Shadows over Camelot is, I think, firmly in the 'interesting experience but not worth owning' camp.

Ghost Stories is another option you might consider as well.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Geosphere wrote:
Defenders Of The Realm doth rock the house.

+1 thumbsup
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Trevor Schadt
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Shadows Over Camelot is a "mostly co-op" game, inasmuch as chances are very high that there is a secret traitor, working against the rest of the players while trying not to be exposed. This tends to take away from the "One person tells everyone else what to do" trap that most co-ops fall into. That being said, if such a thing intrigues you -- and depending on the ages of your kids, I'd be very careful about such things, as what makes such games interesting is the inherent sense of distrust -- I'd recommend Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game over SoC. In my opinion, it does everything that SoC does better.

If you want to stay in the realm of "pure co-op," give Ghost Stories a look. It's an excellent game, pure co-op, exciting and quite replayable (although most of the game variance comes at the very end, when you discover which version of the Big Bad you're facing).
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Mark Langford
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Flashpoint, a brilliant co-op and highly recommended
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Steve Kennedy

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I agree here, especially if your kids are boys (not that girls wouldn't enjoy it either). They should like the theme especially. That was certainly the case with one of our friend's 8-year olds!
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Bruce Miller
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Why not play Lord of the Rings?

It has an epic feel. It can as difficult or easy as the players like. The game doesn't have a traitor aspect. Lastly, it is based upon a fabulous trilogy.
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Curt Carpenter
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Crystal ball says...
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Jonathan Tullsen
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This game is at least semi-coop: Space Hulk (third edition)

I like it because it has awesome minifigures and the rules are complex enough to make it fun and realistic, but not so complex that it bogs you down.
 
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Mike Krajewski
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I'll agree with others saying you should go for Defenders of the Realm. I own both Forbidden Island and Pandemic as well. We just logged 100 plays of Pandemic. We also just logged over 100 plays of Defenders of the Realm and it's not showing signs of slowing down. It's a pretty epic game with a reasonable length and a lot of variety. Every game feels different due to how the cards are distributed and every game feels like a mini-story. It's quite fun!
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Kevin
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We have just got Castle Panic and the children love it!

Oh - and so does the wife!
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Bill Hartman
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The Big Bopper wrote:
We have just got Castle Panic and the children love it!

Oh - and so does the wife!


+1 I'd also recommend the Wizard's Tower expansion.


Defenders of the Realm looks like great fun, but it is costly and the board is pretty big, since you listed those as concerns regarding Arkham Horror.
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M. S.
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Without any question Space Alert!

I would even say its the best boardgame experience you can have.
It is so unique in its real time gaming! And the only cooperative game which is realy cooperative, because there cant be any "leader" - everybody has to play actively. (Thats why I think a lot of cooperative games arent that good in the cooperative sense, you could easily play them alone)
And I would suggest to own it, its better to play couple of times in a time period, than relying on a copy of a friend, with the opportunity to play once a month.
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Guido Gloor
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Military Muskrat wrote:
This game is at least semi-coop: Space Hulk (third edition)

Huh? That's a confrontational two-player game. If you play it with more than two, you're not playing it by the rules.

On topic, I agree with the crystal ball, Mage Knight Board Game is awesome, but it's a less typical co-op game. My own favorite co-op is Space Alert, followed by Gears of War: The Board Game.
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A Brave New Geek
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Flash Point: Fire Rescue - take a look. Everyone has to work together and the theme fits really well.
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LC
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I am going to completely ignore what you asked and suggest Arkham Horror. It's worth the time, expense, and real estate. Or you could try its kid sister, Elder Sign, which is much shorter, less expensive, and less expansive.

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Jason K
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richcharters wrote:
We have Forbidden Island and Pandemic. The kids like the relics in Forbidden Island, and I prefer Pandemic.

My impression is Arkham Horror is too long (and too expensive?)

I'm thinking either: Shadows over Camelot or Defends of the Realm would be the way to go for the next co-op.

Space Alert, seems interesting to experience, but not to own?

Thoughts? Recommendations?


You might also want to consider Yggdrasil or Ghost Stories - both excellent coop games.

I'd recommend Ghost Stories if you're looking for something that presents a strong theme; a good challenge; and unique mechanics.
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Jeremiah Lee
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I'll give another nod to Flash Point. I've found it to be a better theme for many people than pandemic, and the fact that you can change files during the game really makes for some interesting choices.
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Jason Edwards
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Go with your gut...Defenders of the Realm is the way to go.

I have Forbidden Island, Pandemic, Shadows over C, and Defenders of the Realm. I think Defenders of the Realm is much better than Shadows (and the others with Pandemic in second).

Defenders is a great next step as the game is epic. It has lots of support so you can grow with it. Some great expansions to purchase but lots of free scenarios that can change things up are available on this website.

Forbidden Island, Pandemic, and Defenders have a lot of similarities with FI being by far the easiest, then Pandemic, and then Defenders. It is a natural progression for folks to go from one to the next.Perhaps for the next purchase you could move to a traitor element with one of the others mentioned if you are interested.
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Shane Larsen
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My favorite co-op games and their PROs and CONs:

1. Space Alert

PROs - quick, challenging, absolutely unique, good thematic tie-in, emotionally driven, exciting, truly co-op (as mentioned before, there's no time for the boss effect), funny, expandable, it has a soundtrack!, and it's just crazy_crazy fun!

CONs - not good with 1, 2, or 3 players; even 4p is not ideal--you should have 5 players, there's a bit of a learning curve--although the rulebook is a good read (filled with comedy and thematic anecdotes), it doesn't get played much because in my groups because you really should have exactly 5 players soblue

2. Ghost Stories

PROs - good theme, challenging, unique mechanics, beautiful art, brilliantly-interesting decisions (best in its class for this, IMO), challenging, moves quickly, extreme tension throughout, challenging, scalable: it's equally fun at all player counts 1-4 players, expandable (there are tons of ways to make your GS experience different in terms of promos and expansions)

CONs - the first expansion (White Moon) is OOP for_e_ver (so if you want it, you'll have to pay a bunch for it), did I mention it was challenging?--for some this is a CON because it's so hard...at first. you have to keep playing and trust that you will get better with experience. And that is actually what makes this game so much better than most co-ops: you can get better with practice. You'll discover new strategies and combos every time you play. What you thought was impossible on your first few plays, will later become easy as you improve your monk-ish skill set.

Really, I can't say enough good about Ghost Stories. And I generally don't like co-ops.

3. Gears of War: The Board Game - This one is more of an honorable mention. I don't think it's going to be up your family's ally. But if you want my PROs and CONs on it anyway, just mention it. It actually surprises me that I like it so much because it has so many things I don't usually like in games.

--

Now to provide you with a little information on me, so as to make my recommendations more applicable:

- I generally do not like co-ops.
- I'm a true Euro gamer.
- I do not like Pandemic or Forbidden Island...at all. I would even say I loathe them. (If you'd like to know why, just ask.)
- I liked Castle Panic, but after a while, I traded it away.
- I will NEVER get rid of Space Alert or Ghost Stories. They're the kings of co-op, IMO.

I hope this helps. Good luck in your search!

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Clint Herron
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Whole-heartedly recommend Flash Point: Fire Rescue -- it and Arkham Horror are my two favorite coop games, but AH is a bit overkill for a family game. Flash Point gives me everything that I want in a coop -- it's dripping with theme, there are great opportunities for real cooperation, and the system is flexible enough that there is no "right" answer that the loud-mouthed person at the table can point out. It's accessible enough for families and non-gamers to "get" (so it can be used as a gateway game), but it's meaty enough (with a scalable difficulty) that I can play it with my "hardcore" game group and we all are really engaged and challenged the entire time.

It even has a Kickstarter campaign going on right now for the next expansion, and can be a great deal for getting the base game along with a couple of expansions and fire-meeples. Check it out!
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2012515236/flash-point-2...
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Jeremiah Dwyer
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Of the ones I've played, I would recommend:

1) Sentinels of the Multiverse - the play can be a bit fiddly in terms of tracking damage, modifiers, etc., but the theme is awesome, and I've had a ton of fun playing this with my 10-year old. Under nine, there may be too much card text.

2) The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game - great game for solo play, or coop with other older kids/adults. There is some deck-building prior to each scenario, which is a plus or minus depending on your interest (not like Magic: The Gathering, though, maybe 5-10 minutes). Lots of scenarios if you find you like it. Probably too complicated for anyone under 13-14 years old.

3) Castle Panic with the Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower Expansion - great game if you have kids 6-7 and up. Very much a "tower defense" game, and it can be modified for solo play, coop, coop with a winner, and coop with one player controlling the baddies. Having played with the expansion, I'd say buy it up front, it adds that much to the base game.

4) Arkham Horror is great, but it does require a lot of time, both for set up and for play. Plan on an entire afternoon, or go with Elder Sign instead.

5) Rune Age is a deck-builder that has a lot of flexibility - you can play solo, with up to four players, competitively or coop. In addition, its first expansion is due later this year, for more variability.

6) If it ever gets its major print run, Wok Star may be the best for what you are looking for. I was able to play it once, and had a blast - and I've been waiting to buy it for 18 months. It sounds simple enough - a coop where you fill orders at a busy Chinese restaurant, but it is played in real time, with lots of back and forth. I can't wait to get this, if its ever released (it was originally slated to be published by Z-Man, but it's been delayed on several occasions).

I'm also very much interested in seeing Space Cadets when it comes out later this year - sounds great, but I'd like to try it first.

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Jeff Kayati
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You already have Forbidden Island and Pandemic. Defenders of the Realm is essentially the same game, just add dice. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but I'd be looking for a different experience in a new game, and I don't think Defenders is really going to give you that.

I'd recommend, in order of my preference, Flash Point, Castle Panic, or Yggdrasil.

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