“We struck down evil with the mighty sword of teamwork and the hammer of … not bickering.”
The Shoveler from Mystery Men played by William H Macy
Cooperative games represent a welcome antidote for weary parents tired of bickering siblings who fail to play nicely more competitive board games.
Cooperative board games usually pitch all players on the same team with a common goal – to beat the board in a certain time frame, number of turns, or before a deck of cards is exhausted.
All promote discussion, prioritisation and teamwork skills to establish a collective ‘we’re in this together‘ experience which can be very rewarding.
Many require the players to do something good then do something bad to keep the tension mounting (Pandemic, Castle Panic). Others are asymmetrical (Scotland yard, Jaws, Colditz castle) with most of the players working together to thwart the single villainous player. Another subset introduces a traitor mechanic where one of the players is trying to remain concealed whilst foiling the team’s chance of success from the inside (Shadows over Camelot, Werewolves). Others introduce something altogether very unique (Mysterium).
A further subset that has emerged in the last 10 years or so are the escape room style games where all players navigate a scenario solving a sequence of visual, mathematical or abstract puzzles together to escape the room, island or narrative prison.
If you’ve only ever experienced traditional, competitive or party board games before I strongly encourage you to explore this exciting category – you really don’t know what you’re missing.
Take a look at my personal faves below and digest the reviews. I’m confident you’ll find something to your liking.