The Best Cooperative Board Games

Cooperative board games are a breath of fresh air in the gaming world. Most board games require you to endlessly compete against your friends and family, which, of course can be fun. It’s also nice, however, to work together with your buddies instead of always working against them.

There are a ton of great coop board games out there today. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to decide which one to try. Not to worry, in this article, I’ll give our picks for the best cooperative board games out there today! Whether you’re a seasoned coop board game veteran looking to add another game to your collection, or a beginner looking to break into the hobby, we’re here to help you find the perfect board game!

If I had to recommend just one coop board game, it would be Pandemic. If you’re looking for the ultimate cooperative board gaming experience, Pandemic should be the first game you try. The gameplay is tense and exhilarating, forcing players to work together to achieve success. If players don’t work well together, failure is eminent in Pandemic.

While Pandemic is our overall choice for best cooperative board game, there are a ton of other great options out there that might suit your preferences better! Read on for a detailed guide to choosing the perfect coop board game.

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Cooperative Board Game?
  2. What Makes a Good Cooperative Board Game?
  3. Overall Best Cooperative Board Games
    1. Horrified
    2. Betrayal at House on the Hill
    3. Unfathomable
    4. Mysterium
    5. Pandemic
  4. Best Cooperative Board Game for Couples
  5. Best Cooperative Board Game for Young Children
  6. Best for Beginners
  7. Best Cooperative Board Games for Families
  8. Conclusion

What is a Cooperative Board Game?

Cooperative board games are board games in which players have to work together to complete common objectives. This is in contrast to most board games where players have to compete against each other.

In coop board games, you and your friends are on the same team, playing against the game itself instead of other players. You all either win or lose together. These types of games have all the fun and excitement of traditionally competitive board games with an added aspect of comradery.

Coop board games are great for everybody since they present a stimulating challenge to all involved without isolating players who don’t like to get competitive.

RELATED: Best Strategy Board Games For Adults

What Makes a Good Cooperative Board Game?

There are even more factors to a good cooperative board game than there are to a non-coop game. Quite frankly, there’s a lot more that can go wrong with coop games. Since players don’t have the simple, ever present self-interest of typical games, a consistently stimulating coop game is a complicated thing.

Let’s talk about the main factors that make a cooperative board game good.

Challenge

One of the most important factors for coop board games is the challenge the game presents. You won’t be competing against other players. You’ll be competing against the game itself. Obviously, if the game is too easy, it’s not going to be fun for very long.

For most people, the harder the game, the better. Difficult coop games are so much more satisfying when you finally manage to complete them, and they’ll offer you much more re-playability. With that being said, however, if a game is extremely difficult, it might not appeal to some players not of a masochistic nature.

Player Interaction

Player interaction is an integral part of coop games. If there’s not enough of it, it’s almost inevitable that one player ends up playing the game while all the others just watch. A great cooperative board game forces players to interact with each other to be successful.

Interesting Decisions

One of the most important aspects of coop games are the decisions players have to make. If the decisions are too straightforward, the game won’t be very much fun. If it’s always clear what the best course of action is, the game is going to get boring quickly, no matter how good the other aspects are.

Individual Roles

It’s not mandatory that a cooperative game presents each player with a unique role, but the ones that do tend to be a lot more enjoyable than the ones that don’t. Giving each player a role to fill, or at the least some unique attributes, skills, or abilities, ensures that all players have a significant impact on the game. Again, this stops the all-too-common occurrence of one or two players dominating the game while the other sit on the sidelines.

Overall Best Cooperative Board Games

Horrified

Horrified: Universal Monsters Strategy Board Game for Ages 10 & Up
$34.33

1-5 Players

45-60 Minute Play Time

Ages 10+

Difficulty: Medium


Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 04:25 pm GMT

Overview

Horrified tasks you with saving locals from classic horror creatures such as Dracula, or the Creature from the Black Lagoon. If you and your friends are at all fans of classic horror, than this is the perfect cooperative board game for you.

Even aside from the nostalgic flavor, Horrified features extremely fun gameplay loaded with difficult and interesting decision making. Sometimes, there just isn’t a good option, and players have to try to choose the lesser of two evils.

Overall, Horrified is a super entertaining coop board game with lots of re-playability.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Difficult decision-makingSomewhat complicated to learn
Immersive and flavorful gameplay
Affordable

Betrayal at House on the Hill

Betrayal at The House on The Hill 3rd Edition, Ages 12 and Up, 3-6 Players,
$35.69

3-6 Players

1hr Play Time

Ages 12+

Difficulty Level: Medium

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 06:00 pm GMT

Betrayal at House on the Hill is a wildly fun game that tasks players with exploring a haunted house and uncovering its secrets. At some point, however, the ‘haunt’ begins. One player betrays the rest of the group and strives to complete a horrible task. The others are forced to work together to stop the traitor and escape the house all whilst battling killers, monsters and everything else the house throws their way.

This is a truly memorable game that’ll keep you and your friends coming back to the house over and over again to try and escape the nightmare.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Different scenarios every time you playLots of pieces to manage
Awesome traitor-mechanicSome playthroughs are much less fun than others
Immersive and flavorful gameplay

Unfathomable

Unfathomable | Hidden Traitor Board Game
$63.96

3-6 Players

Ages 14+

120-240 minutes play time

Difficulty: Hard/Medium

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 06:05 pm GMT

Overview

Unfathomable is an amazing game! It’s truly one of the best cooperative board games of all time. I love the cosmic-horror setting of fighting off deep-ones while trying to steer your ship to safety. The world building in Unfathomable is truly top-notch.

The most exciting aspect of Unfathomable is the inclusion of traitors. Most players play the role of humans tasked with navigating the ship to safety. Other players, however, are given the secret role of hybrids who aim to sabotage the mission.

This traitor aspect means you never know who you can trust and who you can’t. And being a traitor is super fun!

Since two different sides can emerge victorious, Unfathomable maintains an element of traditional competition, while also adding strong cooperation.

This is just an all around great coop board game that I highly recommend to anyone.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Immersive world-buildingLarge learning curve
Ultra-fun and exciting traitor-mechanicA bit Pricey
Amazing gameplay

Mysterium

Mysterium Board Game (Base Game) | Ages 10 and up | 2-7 Players
$43.98

2-7 Players

45 Minute Play Time

10+ Years Old

Difficulty Level: Medium

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 06:09 pm GMT

Overview

I cannot recommend Mysterium enough! This quirky coop game tasks players with solving a murder mystery. The catch, however, is that players are aided by the murder victim! One player plays the role of the victim’s ghost and aids the other players by giving them cryptic clues.

Straightforward communication by the ghost is not allowed. Instead, the ghost communicates through vision cards which can sometimes be misleading. Mysterium also has a time limit. If players can’t solve the mystery soon enough, the ghost will fade away, taking it with it any chance of success.

All of this makes for an intriguing and tense puzzle for players to solve together.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Unique and interesting conceptLess fun the fewer players you have
Tense and exciting gameplay
Humorous

Pandemic

Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Ages 8+ | 2 to 4 players
$35.99

2-4 Players

45 Minute Play Time

8+ Years Old

Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 05:50 pm GMT

Overview

Simply put, Pandemic is one of the best cooperative board games ever made. The setting hits a bit closer to home nowadays than ever before, though the game was created all the way back in 2008. As members of a highly skilled disease fighting team, players must race to find cures for four deadly diseases before society falls.

Pandemic is a difficult game, where failure is a real possibility each and every playthrough. To succeed, players have to work together well, and make good decisions.

The decision making is really where pandemic shines the brightest. This isn’t a game where the answer to your difficulties is crystal-clear from the start.

In Pandemic, the setting is tense, the decision making is interesting, and the challenge is real. All of this makes for enthralling and satisfying gameplay each and every time you sit down to play Pandemic.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Perfect difficulty-levelHas the potential to be dominated by one player
Intense Gameplay
Interesting Decision-making

RELATED: The Best Pokémon Packs And Booster Boxes To Buy In 2022

Best Cooperative Board Game for Couples

Codenames Duet

Czech Games Codenames: Duet - The Two Player Word Deduction Game
$18.99

2 Players

Ages 11+

15 Minutes Play Time

Difficulty: Easy/Medium

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 04:29 pm GMT

Overview

Codenames Duet is one of the best cooperative board games for two players on the market. Players work together to decode messages by giving each other one-word clues to help identify field-agents, while avoiding deadly assassins.

Codename Duet features a super fun wordplay mechanic that gets couples working together fiercely to solve the puzzle before time runs out.

The game comes with 400 different cards, and a campaign option to keep players coming back again and again.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Super fun coop gameplay
Perfect for couples
Very affordable

Best Cooperative Board Game for Young Children

Bandito

Bandido Card Game | Fun Strategy Game for Family Game Night
$13.82

1-4 Players

Ages 5+

15 Minutes Play Time

Difficulty: Very Easy

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 05:30 pm GMT

Overview

Bandito is one of the very best cooperative board games for kids. This simple and addictive strategy game is based around a prisoner who is trying to escape. Players have to work together to stop him. Each player is given a hand of three cards. Each card features a piece of a tunnel: a turn, a branch, a dead-end, or a straightaway . On their turn, players have to lay a card down, adding a piece to the puzzle and either helping or hindering the prisoners escape plan.

Bandito is easy, fun, and fast, and kids, as well as adults are sure to love it.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Fun, easy, cooperative gameplayNot much variance in the gameplay
Perfect for kids
Very affordable

Best Cooperative Board Game for Beginners

The Mind

The Mind - Family-Friendly Board Games
$19.65

2-4 Players

Ages 8+

20 Minutes Play Time

Difficulty: Easy

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 05:46 pm GMT

The Mind is a simple, yet intriguing coop board game in which players are not allowed to speak to each other. So how can it be cooperative if you’re not allowed to speak to other players, you ask? Well, players are tasked with devising some unspoken form of communication and hoping that everybody is able to catch on.

Players are given cards according to the current level. So each player gets one card on level one, then two cards one level two, and so on and so forth all the way until level 12. Then players have to try to lay down their cards in the correct order without speaking to one another.

The Mind is a unique and immensely fun cooperative challenge that is perfect for beginners.

What We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Unique and very interactive gameplayStrategy isn’t as varied as other games
Exciting and easy to learn
Affordable

Best Cooperative Board Games for Families

Pandemic

Pandemic Board Game (Base Game) | Ages 8+ | 2 to 4 players
$35.99

2-4 Players

45 Minute Play Time

8+ Years Old

Difficulty Level: Medium/Hard

Buy Now
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/19/2022 05:50 pm GMT

Overview

Pandemic is one of the very best cooperative board games for families. As members of a highly skilled disease fighting team, players must race to find cures for four deadly diseases before society falls.

Pandemic is a difficult game, but not too difficult for children to learn, especially with the help and encouragement of older family members.

There’s little else as tense, exciting and satisfying as working together with your family to overcome the challenges of Pandemic. You and your family probably won’t succeed the first time you play. But you’ll definitely come back again and again until you do. And even once you succeed, the fun doesn’t stop there.

In Pandemic, the setting is tense, the decision making is interesting, and the challenge is real. All of this makes for enthralling and satisfying gameplay each and every time you sit down to play Pandemic.

This is a truly addictive cooperative game, perfect for family game nights.

Conclusion

Pandemic is our choose for the best coop board game on the market today.

Whether you’re new to board games, or looking for a new one to add to your collection, there’s an awesome cooperative board game out there for everybody. I hope you’ll give one of the games on this list a try.

Until next time, I wish you and your friends/family the best luck with all of your cooperative gaming adventures!

Photo of author

Joe Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015 after impulsively buying a fat-pack of Khans of Tarkir. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the game, and it's been a big part of my life ever since. Nowadays, I play moslty Modern, Commander, and Limited, but also enjoy keeping up with Standard. Whatever the format, I always find a way to brew up janky decks, convince myself they're great, get proven wrong, and love every second of it.