We’ll be keeping this list updated throughout the year
Yep, we’re jumping from a top 5 to a top 20 cooperative board games this time around! If you saw our previous list, you’ll know that we left some games off if they were a bit tougher to learn. Well, with this list we’re just going to tell you our overall favorites and let you know if any of them have a steeper learning curve.
Let’s get right to it then. Here are the 20 best cooperative board games we’ve ever played!
If you like deduction games like Dixit, Hanabi, and Clue, then Mysterium is definitely a game you should check out. You can learn how to play it in about five minutes, but there’s plenty of replay value here. It’s a great murder mystery game that we still play regularly.
Read our full Mysterium review
19. Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island was the first Matt Leacock that we played as a group and one of the main reasons why we started to play cooperative board games regularly. It’s such a simple design, yet it’s a game that you can play hundreds of times without getting bored.
Whether you are new to cooperative board games or not, Forbidden Island is a game that should be on your shelf. It’s one of the top family board games and it’s also one of the very best gateway games available.
Read our full Forbidden Island review
18. Mage Knight
We didn’t include Mage Knight on our last list since it is once of the more complex games out there, but there’s no denying that it’s one of the best co-op board games of the last decade. Once you get through all of the rules, it’s a fantastic gaming experience.
You’ll definitely want to check this one out if you like role playing games or deck building. Oh, legendary designer Vlaada Chvátil (Through the Ages, Space Alert) created this one, so you can be confident that it is a well-designed game. It also happens to be one of the best solo games around.
Read our full Mage Knight review
If you like the firefighting theme at all, Flash Point is a must-own. Gamers of all ages will get a kick out of running into a house, putting out fires, and saving as many people and pets as they can. It’s extremely easy for everyone to get into the theme while playing this one, which makes it a unique co-op experience.
As far as cooperative board games for families go, we don’t think there’s a better one out there.
Read our full Flash Point: Fire Rescue review
If you want a tense board game experience that requires plenty of teamwork, then you’ll probably love Zombicide. Yes, the zombie theme has been done to death (ha!), but it really works in this one (and another one that you’ll find higher up on the list). There isn’t a bad scenario in the box and each one presents a unique challenge.
We haven’t had a chance to play Zombicide Black Plague yet, but many people say that it took the best parts of Zombicide and made the game even better. We’ll update this list if we do find Black Plague to be the better game.
Read our full Zombicide review
If you know how to play Pandemic, you should have no problem figuring out how to play Defenders of the Realm. It has very similar mechanics, but it’s different enough that it deserves a spot on our best cooperative games list.
What makes Defenders of the Realm a solid game all its own is that each of the generals/bosses have their own abilities, making each one feel distinct. It also has a fantasy theme and it uses dice to fight off enemies. This one still hits the table regularly.
Read our full Defenders of the Realm review
A few of the people in our group still think that Legendary: Marvel is the best in the Legendary series. This is definitely the one to get if you love the Marvel theme, and it might actually be the best one to get if you are new to the series. It’s an excellent game that uses a very cool system to move enemies around.
This is one of our favorite cooperative deck building games and there are plenty of expansions out there to add many more hours to an already highly-replayable game. There isn’t a high amount of cooperation in this one, but it’s still one of the best co-op board games available today.
Read our full Legendary: A Marvel Deck Building Game review
13. T.I.M.E Stories
T.I.M.E Stories is a one-of-a-kind experience and it’s not surprising at all that it was one of the biggest hits of 2015. The stories are great, the artwork is amazing, and it has a unique cooperative aspect to it. It might not be in our top 10 right now, but we probably look forward to T.I.M.E. Stories expansions more than any other game.
Read our full T.I.M.E Stories review
12. Forbidden Desert
Forbidden Desert is a slightly more advanced version of Forbidden Island, and we play this one a bit more often. The theme is a little bit cooler and we really like the challenge that this one presents. We’ve only come away with a win in about 30 percent of our games, but we have a blast every time Forbidden Desert hits the table. I don’t see it going outside of our top 20 board games anytime soon.
Read our full Forbidden Desert review
11. Elder Sign
We haven’t played Arkham Horror: The Card Game yet, but as of this posting Elder Sign is easily our favorite Lovecraftian game. Arkham Horror and Eldritch Horror are solid games, but we like this dice version the most since it’s quicker and the theme is still quite strong. We now prefer to play it with one of the Elder Sign expansions (especially Gates of Arkham), but the base game is great on its own.
Read our full Elder Sign review
If you like the comic book theme and want to play a very solid cooperative card game, you can’t do much better than Sentinels of the Multiverse. The heroes all have very cool abilities, the artwork is great, and it plays pretty quickly.
We still love playing Sentinels of the Multiverse, but we definitely played out the base game. There are only so many combos of heroes, villains, and environments to play. Of course, we played the base game about 50 times before we had to add in some of the Sentinels expansions.
Read our full Sentinels of the Multiverse review
9. Burgle Bros.
We think Burgle Bros. is one of the best cooperative board games around, so it’s a shame that so many people haven’t had a chance to play it yet. It’s a really simple design, but somehow designer Tim Fowers was able to capture the heist theme perfectly.
It’s a blast trying to get through each of the floors, avoid detection and crack safes. We’ve played Burgle Bros. A LOT and just about every game goes down to the wire.
Read our full Burgle Bros. review
We have quite a few Walking Dead fans in our group, so it’s not surprising that Dead of Winter ended up this high on the list. Similar to the show, the zombies are kind of in the background in this game as it’s more about all-around survival. What we really like about this one is that it feels like an epic story, yet the game only takes about an hour and a half to play.
Yes, there can be traitors in Dead of Winter, but this game definitely deserves this spot on our list. Actually the possibility of a traitor ratchets up the tension quite a bit, making for a very cool board game experience.
Read our full Dead of Winter review
You know that amazing feeling when you know you’re going to love a game and then it actually exceeds your expectations? Well, that was Mechs vs. Minions for us, which is why it went straight into our top 20 board games. It could quickly move up this list once we’ve had a chance to play it a dozen or so more times.
You don’t expect to find programming in cooperative board games, but Mechs vs. Minions does it in the best way imaginable. It’s simple to understand how to program your cards, yet watching the mech engine work for you as you take down minions is just so satisfying. There aren’t any other co-op games out there like this one!
Read our full Mechs vs. Minions review
Legendary: Alien is our group’s favorite Legendary game. We had one of the best board gaming moments with this game, beating the final Alien with basically no life remaining between us, resulting in a collective WAHOOOO!!
Legendary: Alien is very easy to learn, has deck building, and is a great challenge. You might think that there isn’t much replay value once you’ve gone through all four movies, but that’s just not the case. You can mix up the cards or even play through all of the stories multiple times. Really great game.
Read our full Legendary Encounters: Alien review
Legends of Andor is a unique fantasy adventure game that the majority of our group think is one of the best cooperative board games around today. The battle system is great, the text on each of the legends’ cards gets you more into the story, and the board has amazing artwork on it.
People who like fantasy games, adventure games, or just love co-op games in general need to give Legends of Andor a try.
Read our full Legends of Andor review
Pandemic is a classic cooperative board game, plain and simple. We have played it as a group about 80 times, and it’s a game that plenty of people proudly display on their board game shelves. It’s a “gateway game” in that it gets plenty of people into the hobby, but it’s also a game that you just don’t get bored with.
I know some of you are wondering why Pandemic Legacy isn’t on this list. Well, it was one of the best cooperative board game experiences we’ve ever had, but we still recommend vanilla Pandemic over Legacy. Of course, if you already own Pandemic and haven’t played Legacy yet, GET IT!
Read our full Pandemic review
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is possibly the most unique game on this list. It’s basically an advanced choose your own adventure game, and that’s a great thing! Every case is unique and it plays well with one, two, or even a whole party.
We really do recommend this to everyone, but we especially recommend it to people who love mysteries. We have spent hours talking about each case, which should give you an idea about how much we love this game.
Read our full Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review
It really was tough to take Ghost Stories out of the top spot, especially considering it’s still the co-op game we play the most. It’s also still the game that we recommend getting if you are just starting out in board games or have never played a slightly more advanced cooperative game before.
So yeah, Ghost Stories is awesome. It is extremely tough to beat, but we always have a great time playing it. The cards have fantastic art, it’s pretty easy to teach, and it has massive replay value. Most of us give Ghost Stories an A+ rating.
Read our full Ghost Stories review
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a one-of-a-kind cooperative game that everyone should try at least once. Even if you have to play it solo, it’s worth the couple of hours just to experience how cool this game really is.
What makes Robinson Crusoe so special is that it is a true adventure game. There are other cooperative games that do a good job of getting you into their adventure themes, but there’s nothing else quite like this. Everything you do fits in the theme, so it’s almost impossible not to get into it.
Read our full Robinson Crusoe review