The 11 Best Cooperative Board Games

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When you need a break from ruthless, cutthroat board games, a cooperative game can be fun and challenging without the chaos of competition. The best cooperative board games come in a genre that appeals to all players in your group and can be played within a time frame that works for your plans. Co-op games are often used in educational settings to teach teamwork and problem solving, but they also offer endless game night fun that's free of hurt feelings. I pulled together a list of the best cooperative board games, but before you call the gang over to play, here are a few things to consider.


Many cooperative games are based on a compelling narrative that creates a new world for players. In these games, players often have their own unique identities that are part of a larger group that must work together to slay a dragon, escape a haunted house, or pull off a bank heist. From fantasy and horror to strategy and adventure, the best cooperative board games create an immersive experience, regardless of the genre. Look for a game genre that everyone will love, so you’re not left halfway through the game with disinterested, yet crucial, team members.

Game Rules

When you're looking for a game, be sure to keep in mind the setting and company you'll be playing with. I've included games that are fun for the whole family, as well as adult-only game night favorites. Since these cooperative games involve every player's participation, they're limited typically to a smaller number of players, but I included one option for up to eight players. Game time can also change the dynamic of the play. Some games take more than an hour to complete, which may be too long for children, while others can be accomplished in just 20 to 30 minutes.

Cooperative games are a good way to get everyone involved and utilize the skills of every player. I've included options in a variety of genres, prices, and age groups — and many picks have thousands of reviews.

1. An Award-Winning Horror Game Full Of Suspense

If you like gory tales of spooky spirits, you'll love Betrayal At The House On The Hill. In this game, you and the other players must build your own haunted mansion — and then try to escape it alive. The game takes about an hour to play and can be played with between three and six players. Players work their way from one room to the next, avoiding danger as they roam and explore. This game requires everyone to work together while also keeping an eye out for any traitors. It comes with 50 unique scenarios, so you'll get your money out of this game. Betrayal has won several awards, including the 2004 Origins Awards Gamers' Choice. It has an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon and more than 7,000 reviews.

Helpful Review: “My family is pretty much casual gamers- although we enjoy games like Settlers and Pandemic, we just don't seem to have the time or endurance to learn longer, more complex games. Being a big horror fan, I've been wanting to get this for years, but put it off for that reason. This year I broke down and got it, and we're been loving it. It's really not that hard, and is a lot of fun. My 11-yr-old daughter can't get enough of it, and takes the betrayal very seriously. [...] Each of these plays like a slightly different game using the same rules as the first part. It's a lot of fun, and challenging.”

  • Number of Players: 3-6
  • Play Time: 60 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and older

2. A Mystery Game For Date Night (& Larger Groups Too)

The game is afoot! This Sherlock Holmes inspired mystery board game requires some detective skills and teamwork to win. The highly rated game includes ten unique cases, six of which are one-off adventures, while the other four form a linked campaign, which means they all connect to tell a larger story. Use maps, clues, and newspapers to stop the murders of the notorious Jack the ripper. This game can be played in groups, but also works well with an individual or pair. One reviewer reported that the rules can be a little tricky and it's crucial to read all of the instructions before you begin your sleuthing.

Helpful Review: “Such a fun game! Great for date nights, if you like solving puzzles together.”

  • Number of Players: 1-8
  • Play Time: 90+ mins
  • Ages: 12 and older

3. A Zombie Survival Game That Takes Teamwork

In Dead of Winter, players are survivors in a world full of dead people and zombies. The cooperative game requires everyone to work together to survive this apocalyptic world. But to get there, each player must also complete their own tasks — putting them in the position to decide what's best for them versus what's best for the group. This highly imaginative game has a strong storyline that keeps players involved. It's a bit pricier because it comes with an extensive board, cards, dice, and props that make the story come to life. Plus, one reviewer reported that no two games are the same.

Helpful Review: “A truly excellent game as long as you have a group of friends willing to wade through some of the nuanced rules. [...] No two scenarios are entirely the same and it's a fascinating mix of co-operative play and paranoia about who is doing what and for what sinister reason. This is a zombie game in which fighting zombies is a last resort and the real test is gathering supplies, surviving other survivors and accomplishing objectives, both those known to all and secret (sometimes traitorous) goals known only to yourself.”

  • Number of Players: 2-5
  • Play Time: 60-120 mins
  • Ages: 13 and older

4. This Family-Friendly Game Based On A Halloween Classic

Nostalgic parents or young kids who love Hocus Pocus will enjoy teaming up to defeat the Sanderson sisters in this cooperative board game. Players must protect the citizens of Salem by stopping the witches from finishing their wicked potion before the sun rises. Use tricks and get help from others to defeat the witches. This game is perfect for younger kids (ages 8 and up) and has a storyline that's consistent with the Disney movie. It involves matching and a little bit of strategy that reflects the ages of everyone playing. While the goal is the same, the journey is different depending on the number of players and types of cards that are dealt.

Helpful Review: "I was worried this game would be one of those games with a million rules and difficult to play but being a big Hocus Pocus fan I had to get it regardless. It is fun to play and easy to learn, it says for ages 8 and up, my 9 year old had no trouble grasping it and my 6 year old got it with minor assistance. It also took us about 20 minutes to play which is nice. The working together part I find good for kids as well since everyone is working together to beat the witches. If you're a fan of the movie this game is for you."

  • Number of Players: 2-6
  • Play Time: 30 minutes
  • Ages: 8 and older

5. A Quick Card Game That Is Played In Silence

Pair up with pals who can read your mind for this silent game of The Mind. You and the other players must lay a stack of cards labeled 1 through 100 down in ascending order... without speaking. There's no large gesturing allowed, so you'll have to create your own secret language of looks to win. This quick game can be played in 20 minutes and changes depending on your group's dynamics. It's won several awards, including the 2019 UK Games Expo Best Card Game (General) People's Choice and the 2018 Golden Geek Best Cooperative Game. Plus it has more than 2,000 reviews on Amazon.

Helpful Review: “Don't let the simplicity of this game fool you. It's an amazing game that requires practice and being in sync with the other players' mind. It's a game you will not want to stop trying and beating it is very hard. Lots of fun and amazing moments when you successfully complete a level, and whenever you lose you will want to try again. How do you know a game is good? When you can't stop talking about it after playing. This game does that. Give it a shot and you won't regret it."

  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 20 minutes
  • Ages: 8 and older

6. A Pandemic Game With A Near-Perfect Amazon Rating

In the game Pandemic, global crisis has broken out and it's up to you and the other players to control and eradicate outbreaks. Every player is a skilled members of a disease-fighting team, and you either all win or all lose based on your cooperative gameplay. As you cure a disease, it becomes easier to treat and remove from the board. This game has won more than 30 game awards, such as the 2015 Guldbrikken Special Jury Prize. It has an impressive 4.8-star Amazon rating, with more than 9,000 reviews.

Helpful Review: “We can't say enough how much we enjoy playing this game; it makes you think, and, more importantly, you have to work together! My wife and I love playing board games, but some of our board games can get fairly competitive and, in some cases, can leave bad feelings afterward (we don't play trivia games anymore because of this!). If you've had these feelings, then Pandemic is the game for you: You don't compete against each other, but against the game board. This means: you can talk, you can share information, and you can strategize together openly. And, if you win, it's a strong sense of accomplishment; if you lose, you can always try again!”

  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Play: Time 45 minutes
  • Ages: 8 and older

7. The Escape Room You Play At Home

Can't leave your house? Don't worry — the escape room is coming to you in this Walking Dead-themed game aptly named Escape Room In A Box: Walking Dead. This immersive game requires all players involved in solving mental and physical puzzles in an effort to break into a room before the undead get to you first. This game is also available in a version about werewolves, as well as one called Flashback.

Helpful Review: “This excellent escape game comes with a variety of thoughtful (but solvable!) puzzles, interaction with various included physical objects, and extended play of roughly 90 minutes. It is easily one of the best in-home escape games on the market. And we've played a lot of them.Knowledge of The Walking Dead is absolutely not required (and will not help solve the puzzles). Fans will likely enjoy some references to the series. But if you don't watch, don't let the branding stop you from buying this game."

  • Number of Players: 4-8
  • Play Time: 90 minutes
  • Ages: 13 and older

8. An Adventure Board Game Through Space and Time

T.I.M.E. Stories is all about solving mysteries, but here's the catch: They're set in a different era. This game drops players into a world where time travel has been mastered. Each player must embody a variety of characters to complete missions individually, while also working together as part of the T.I.M.E. Agency. Travel to different time periods to right cosmic wrongs in less than 90 minutes. This highly rated "choose your own adventure" game has won many awards, such as the 2015 Board Game Quest Awards Best Thematic Game.

Helpful Review: “T.I.M.E Stories is a game that’s caught my eye for a while now, and we had to try it. The game is a cooperative storytelling experience, something I’ve always loved. It’s a cooperative game rather than a competitive 'screw your neighbor' style game, so most of your friendships should remain intact. My inner sci-fi geek loves the idea of time-traveling in order to save X or prevent Y a la Back to the Future, Time Cop, or Butterfly Effect, and that’s the main focus.”

  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 90 minutes
  • Ages: 12 and older

9. A Magical Strategy Game With Endless Replay Appeal

The more you play Spirit Island, the better you'll get. This strategy game will bend your mind as your ward off invaders trying to colonize your home island. Each player is a spirit of the island with unique skills that can help the group keep invaders at bay. This game has great replay value with a variety of adversaries to fight — so no two games are the same. You must work together and leave no man behind in order to win. This game, which won awards such as the 2017 Board Game Quest Awards Best Coop Game, incorporates magic and storytelling to challenge players. This game is difficult at first, but gets easier with time, according to reviewers. It boasts an impressive 4.8-star rating on Amazon.

Helpful Review: “Spirit Island is a very unique cooperative game. This is basically a "player vs environment' type of gameplay where you play as spirits who are trying to drive off invaders/colonists [...]The main draw of this game is that spirits are designed to play very differently from one another, and finding how to mold your strategy to their strengths and weaknesses provides a very [...] rewarding gameplay experience.”

  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 90-120 minutes
  • Ages: 13 and older

10. The Game That Lets You Pull Off A Bank Heist

Take this highly rated game with you to keep the family entertained anywhere. In Burgle Bros., players must pull of a high-stakes bank heist without setting off alarms or alerting guards. Players assemble their crews, plan their attack, and find the stash in enough time to escape off the roof. Your entire team must escape or you all lose. The rules are easy to learn and perfect for anyone aged 10 and up, plus its packaging makes it portable and perfect for travel.

Helpful Review: “Great little co op game! Easy to travel with, too. Lots of challenge, but not overly complicated. Each person's character has different abilities so it keeps everyone engaged.”

  • Number of Players: 1-4
  • Play Time: 45-90 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and older

11. An Epic Fantasy Adventure Board Game

Fantasy lovers will enjoy defending the castle and land in Legends of Andor. The highly rated cooperative board game requires everyone on board to create a united front and defeat enemy forces. Players must complete five unique scenarios (as well as a final scenario created by the players themselves) in this award-winning game. The detailed storytelling lets players escape to a fantasy land and work as a team. You can purchase several expansion packs like New Heroes or The Star Shield to add new dimensions to this game.

Helpful Review: “I really love this game, and I can't wait for my son to get a little bit older so that I can play this with him. If you love adventure and high fantasy, this is the game for you and your family. The stories are great. The replay value is high. And the artwork is brilliant and well thought out. Don't let the price tags intimidate you, as most of these boxes are generally on sale. However, don't also dive in head first, buying everything. Start with the base game, and make sure you love it enough to get everything.”

  • Number of Players: 2-4
  • Play Time: 60-90 minutes
  • Ages: 10 and older