There won’t be anymore updates to this list, but we’ll be releasing an updated (and longer) list in 2019! Check out our Top 10 co-op games of 2018 for some games that could end up on the new list.
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.
(Just a warning: Gloomhaven is not on the list yet… but it will be. The review will be coming at some point and you can expect it to show up somewhere in the top 15.)
Let’s get right to it then. Here are the 20 best cooperative board games we’ve played!
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
19. 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 40 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
V-Commandos is easily our favorite cooperative war game, but unfortunately most people haven’t even heard of it. In this World War II game, you play as the Allied Forces behind enemy lines and you’re trying to complete objectives. You also get into some firefights, but you want to pick your battles wisely because things can get out of hand quickly if you aren’t in a good position to defend yourself.
There is a ton of replayability in this box, so if you like war games and co-ops, definitely check this one out.
Read our full V-Commandos review
17. Elder Sign
Most of the people in my group aren’t huge fans of Lovecraft games (the theme just isn’t that interesting anymore), but we all still enjoy playing Elder Sign. 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 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
15. T.I.M.E Stories
T.I.M.E Stories is a one-of-a-kind time traveling 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 it definitely could move up if they make more great T.I.M.E. Stories expansions in the future.
Read our full T.I.M.E Stories review
14. One Deck Dungeon
One Deck Dungeon is the only game on this list that can’t be played by more than two players. If you primarily play your games with just two or you’re just looking for a great two-player dungeon crawl experience, definitely check this one out. It’s just dice and cards, but it has extremely smooth gameplay and it creates many cheer-inducing moments. It’s also a great game to take on the road with you.
One Deck Dungeon is currently #2 on our best two-player cooperative games list.
Read our full One Deck Dungeon 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 40 times before we had to add in some of the Sentinels expansions.
Read our full Sentinels of the Multiverse 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
11. 5-Minute Dungeon
In my group’s opinion, 5-Minute Dungeon is THE real-time board game to own. It takes just a few minutes to learn, but there is a ton of replay value in the box. Everyone gets their own decks of cards based on the characters they’re playing, and then, in real-time, everyone plays cards to take down some enemies. The final bosses’ dungeons get tougher and tougher, which makes it an intense and rewarding experience.
5-Minute Dungeon will probably stay at the top of our best real-time board games list for a long time.
Read our full 5-Minute Dungeon review
10. 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
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
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
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
Too Many Bones is one of the most attractive co-op games around and it is a great game at all player counts. It does take some time to get used to each of the unique characters, but once you do you’ll have a blast using their skills to take down some baddies.
This is a pricey game, but you’ll see why once you open up the box. The baddies come in the form of nice poker chips, the character and battle mats are ridiculously nice, and every character has his or her own set of dice. It’s a beautiful game with a lot of great content in the box.
Read our full Too Many Bones review
5. Aeon’s End
As you can probably tell, we like cooperative deck building games a lot, and Aeon’s End is currently our favorite of the bunch. It’s kind of similar to Sentinels of the Multiverse, but it adds in deck building, a new way to cast spells, and a variable turn order mechanism.
Even if you’re not usually into fantasy games, we recommend giving Aeon’s End a shot since it combines collaboration and deck building perfectly, and it’s very challenging.
Read our full Aeon’s End 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: Season 1 isn’t on this list. Well, it was a great cooperative board game experience, but we still recommend vanilla Pandemic over Legacy. Of course, if you already own Pandemic and haven’t played Legacy yet, GET IT!
You really don’t even have to start out with vanilla Pandemic. A bunch of other Pandemic games use a similar system with different themes, including Pandemic: Iberia, Pandemic: Rising Tide, Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu, and Pandemic: The Cure (dice version of Pandemic).
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
So those are our top 20 cooperative board games. Did we leave out any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!