Top 40 Cooperative Board Games

top 40 cooperative board games (2020 edition)


We’ll be keeping this page updated. Next update: ~Sept. 2020


Another year, another Best Cooperative Board Games list! I used to keep all of the past lists on the site, but to avoid confusion I’m deleting those past lists and from now on I’m just going to keep this page updated. At some point I’ll post a spreadsheet with all of the changes that were made over the years if anyone’s interested.

To create this top 40, I made the initial list and then I made some adjustments based on my group’s feedback. It was a collaborative effort! There are only fully cooperative board games listed here, so you won’t find any semi-cooperative games, One vs. Many games, or games with potential traitors.

Let’s get to it, shall we? Below you’ll find 40 of the best cooperative board games that have come out over the years!


40-31

40. Magic Maze – Magic Maze is one of the top cooperative real-time games out there right now and it’s an excellent family game. It’s pure chaos as you try to work together to move the characters around while not being able to say anything to each other. (Review | Buy a Copy)


39. Maximum Apocalypse – This post-apocalyptic survival game comes with a dozen enjoyable and replayable missions to play through (plus more in the expansions). The characters have unique decks and are all fun to play, and it’s the type of game that requires a high amount of cooperation to beat. (Review | Buy a Copy)


38. Castle Panic – Castle Panic is a go-to gateway and family game for many people and it’s one of very few really good cooperative tower defense games out there right now. It also becomes a solid gamer’s game once you add in one or more of the expansions. (Review | Buy a Copy)


37. Forbidden DesertForbidden Island also could have gone in this spot as the two games have very similar feels to them, but they do have very different themes. Both are great gateway games, though Forbidden Desert has a little bit more going on in it as you attempt to clear sand, find parts, and escape. (Review | Buy a Copy)


36. The Grizzled – There still isn’t anything else quite like The Grizzled. It’s a war game, but it’s really all about working together to survive during World War I. It’s a light-but-tough cooperative card game with a unique war theme. (Review | Buy a Copy)


35. Quirky Circuits – One of the top co-ops of 2019, Quirky Circuits is a great limited communication programming game in which you’re attempting to move one of the game’s four robots around a map and accomplish goals before its battery runs out. Quirky Circuits is a really fun game that works just as well for families as it does for adult gaming groups. (Review | Buy a Copy)


34. Dawn of Peacemakers – This is a cooperative adventure game with an awesome theme. Instead of fighting in the animal war, you’re there to keep the battles balanced so hopefully there will eventually be peace. It’s a very cool campaign game with a lot of great surprises in the box. (Review | Buy a Copy)


33. Flash Point: Fire Rescue – If you like the firefighting theme at all, Flash Point is a must-own. Gamers of all ages get a kick out of running into a house, putting out fires, and saving as many people (and pets) as they can. It’s a great family game with a theme that everyone can get into. (Review | Buy a Copy)


32. Hanabi – Hanabi started the recent limited communication craze and it is still one of the best ones out there. I’ve played it many times and with many groups and I still have a blast trying to put those fireworks in order. It also works quite well as a co-op gateway game. (Review | Buy a Copy)


31. Resident Evil 2 – This is a great survival campaign game and one of the better video game-inspired board games out there right now. It has a great flow to it yet there are plenty of tough decisions to make throughout each mission. Fans of the Resident Evil 2 video game will love this one. (Review | Buy a Copy)


Check out our Top 10 Cooperative Filler Games!


30-21

30. Mage Knight – Still one of the best adventure games, Mage Knight is a big-box fantasy board game with co-op, competitive, and solo scenarios. If you don’t mind complex co-ops, it is definitely worth checking out. Also, the newest version of the game, Mage Knight: Ultimate Edition, includes all three of the expansions. (Review | Buy a Copy)


29. Chronicles of Crime – This is one of quite a few excellent detective games that came out in the last three years. The cases my group has played through have all been interesting and the app works really well to both tell the stories and to help you investigate the crimes. A couple of the cases in the Noir expansion are my personal favorites so far. (Review | Buy a Copy)


28. Dungeons & Dragons Board Games – One of the issues that I usually have with dungeon crawlers is that they’re too fiddly, but that’s not a problem with these games. They definitely scratch the dungeon crawler itch, but they play very smoothly. I’ve only reviewed Castle Ravenloft, but my group has actually played three of the games in the D&D Adventure System Series and they’ve all been great. (Review | Buy a Copy)


27. Spy Club – At its core, Spy Club is a cooperative set collection game, but it’s really so much more than that. I’ve played through campaigns with multiple groups and everyone has had a blast playing this unique detective game. It’s a great cooperative board game for adult groups and for families. (Review | Buy a Copy)


26. Dragonfire – Dragonfire is a very fun deck building campaign game set in the D&D universe. Watching your characters improve throughout the campaign is very satisfying, the game is surprisingly easy to play, and there is a ton of content in the box. (Review | Buy a Copy)


25. One Deck Dungeon – This little solo or two-play cooperative game is a great pick for anyone who loves dice games. It has a simple set of rules, challenging gameplay, fantastic artwork, and it is very portable. (Review | Buy a Copy)


24. Black Orchestra – I think everyone in my group likes this game even more than we did back when I posted my review for it. It has an interesting mix of mechanics, including pick-up and deliver and push-your-luck dice play, that just work well together in this game for some reason. It’s very hard to assassinate Hitler, but the game is never frustrating. (Review | Buy a Copy)


23. Codenames Duet – This is one of the best two-player cooperative games and arguably the best version of Codenames that you can buy. It’s also one of the best filler games out there, so it gets to the table a lot. If you’re a fan of word games and/or deduction games, you really have to give Codenames Duet a play. (Review | Buy a Copy)


22. D-Day Dice (2nd Edition) – This is one of the best dice games that I’ve played in recent years. It’s easy to learn and it’s also challenging, which is a great co-op combo! If you like dice games and you also happen to like war-themed games, D-Day Dice is a must-try. (Review | Buy a Copy)


21. Spirit Island – My group’s rankings are all over the place for this one. Some love the game’s complexity while others find it to be a bit too much. Spirit Island is in my personal Top 10 because I’m a huge fan of the asymmetrical spirits and the twist on the colonization theme. (Review | Buy a Copy)


Check out our Top 10 Co-op Games of 2019!


20-11

20. Shadowrift – One of my group’s favorite deck building games, Shadowrift gives you plenty of card-buying options to choose from as you attempt to take down powerful monsters. It’s also the only game that I can think of that has players building their own decks while also buying cards to add to a neutral deck. (Review | Buy a Copy)


19. CO₂: Second Chance – This is easily one of the top Euro-style collaborative games my group has ever played. It’s a consistently tough puzzle to solve as you have to figure out how to work together to keep the world’s carbon dioxide levels down while also completing your own private goals. (Review | Buy a Copy)


18. Mysterium – Still one of the most attractive board games that you can buy, Mysterium is a great whodunit game. Those dream and location cards look amazing on the table and they do the job of pulling players into the mystery theme. (Review | Buy a Copy)


17. Burgle Bros. – If you like the idea of trying to pull off a heist with your group, Burgle Bros. is a great co-op game to get. It’s a good team challenge as you have to find a way to move around the building with the guards constantly moving around you. My group has played Burgle Bros. a lot and still enjoy it every time it hits the table. Oh, and there’s a sequel coming soon! (Review | Buy a Copy)


16. Legendary Encounters: Alien – This is such a cool deck building game system. Alien is still my group’s favorite one in the series, but Upper Deck has also put out Legendary Encounters games for Firefly, The X-Files, and Predator. The games are very thematic and every deck-building choice you make feels very important. (Review | Buy a Copy)


15. Marvel Champions – This was my pick for 2019 game of the year. The Marvel theme shines through everything you do and it’s a lot of fun tweaking your decks to give yourself the best chance to defeat the villains. Definitely give this a try if you’re a Marvel fan. (Review | Buy a Copy)


14. V-Commandos – What makes V-Commandos one of the best cooperative board games is that it does a great job of making players actually feel like highly trained commandos. You focus on staying undetected most of the time so you can complete objectives, which definitely ratchets up the tension. (Review | Buy a Copy)


13. Pandemic – This spot is for all of the games in the Pandemic line, including the classic original game, Pandemic Legacy, Pandemic Iberia, Pandemic: The Cure, and the others that Matt Leacock has designed. They’re all fantastic cooperative strategy games. I’d still recommend the original Pandemic (along with the excellent On the Brink expansion) to newer gamers and anyone that hasn’t played any of these games yet. (Review | Buy a Copy)


12. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Every fan of The Lord of the Rings should at least try this awesome two-player cooperative game. The base game doesn’t give you a lot of cards to construct decks with, but there are dozens of expansions that allow you to play with all of the popular heroes and in all of the well-known locations in that world. (Review | Buy a Copy)


11. Mechs vs. Minions – If you enjoy playing programming games like Robo Rally, you really should check this one out. Drafting cards for your mechs is a ton of fun and the missions ramp up in difficulty as you move through them. Mechs vs. Minions also happens to be one of the best-looking games that you can get right now. (Review | Buy a Copy)



10. The Mind

The Mind card game review

Year: 2018 | Players: 2-4

The Mind has gone over well with everyone I’ve taught it to. It’s my group’s top limited communication game and it was our highest-rated game of 2018. When you read the rules you’ll probably think it’s going to be too simple to be special, but once you get it to the table chances are you’ll be surprised by how unique the experience is.

I think everyone should play The Mind at least a couple of times to see if it’s for them, especially since it only costs about 10 bucks. It’s an excellent cooperative game.

Read our The Mind review

Get your copy of The Mind


9. 5-Minute Dungeon

5 minute dungeon real-time board game review

Year: 2017 | Players: 2-5

We’ve had so many exciting 5-Minute Dungeon gaming sessions. I think I’ve personally played it about 40 times and I still haven’t beaten all of the bosses! This is my group’s favorite real-time game right now and something pretty special would have to come along to replace it.

If you don’t mind the stress that a lot of these types of games bring, chances are you will have a great time playing 5-Minute Dungeon. It’s fast-paced, it’s challenging, the narration in the app is awesome, and it’s highly replayable. There’s also a Marvel version that came out in 2018.

Read our 5-Minute Dungeon review

Get your copy of 5-Minute Dungeon


8. Legends of Andor

legends of andor review

Year: 2012 | Players: 2-4

Legends of Andor is still one of the best cooperative adventure board games around. It has a great look to it, it tells some good stories, and there are some tough puzzles to work through. It’s also really cool how it ramps up the tension and challenge as you play through the adventures. Legends of Andor is an outstanding fantasy game and I’m looking forward to playing through all of the original legends again once enough time has passed.

Read our Legends of Andor review

Get your copy of Legends of Andor


7. Gloomhaven

gloomhaven-preview

Year: 2017 | Players: 1-4

I still haven’t written my Gloomhaven review yet, which my group likes to laugh at me about, but I said from the beginning that I won’t review it until I’ve completed a full campaign. We’re “only” about 40 hours into the 120+ hour campaign and it has been a tough one to get back to the table, so it might be a while before that review gets posted.

Gloomhaven is definitely one of the greatest cooperative board games ever made, so it doesn’t surprise me that it currently sits atop BGG’s rankings. It has arguably the best action-selection system and it’s extremely satisfying watching your characters improve over time. This would probably be my “stranded on a deserted island” game since there is so much content in that huge box. If you have a group that can commit to playing through Gloomhaven, it’s definitely worth getting.

Get your copy of Gloomhaven


6. Atlantis Rising

Atlantis Rising (Second Edition) review - cover

Year: 2020 | Players: 1-7

Atlantis Rising (Second Edition) is an awesome cooperative worker placement game in which you’re attempting to get the resources you need from your island and escape before it floods. It looks fantastic on the table, it plays very smoothly, and it’s a rare co-op that plays well at both low and high player counts.

If you enjoy playing competitive worker placement games and you’re also a fan of co-ops, I’d say there’s a very good chance that you’ll end up loving Atlantis Rising.

Read our Atlantis Rising review

Get your copy of Atlantis Rising (Second Edition)


5. Too Many Bones

Too Many Bones board game review

Year: 2017 | Players: 1-4

Too Many Bones has some of the nicest components that you will find in the board game world, and the gameplay is awesome as well. It does take some time to get used to all of the characters’ unique abilities and the “dice-building” concept, but it’s worth it. I’ve played with all of the base game characters a bunch and I still haven’t even come close to mastering any of them.

Chip Theory Games also released a two-player version of Too Many Bones called Too Many Bones: Undertow, which works as both a standalone game and as an expansion to the original.

Read our Too Many Bones review

Get your copy of Too Many Bones


4. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Year: 1981 | Players: 1-8

It’s going to take a pretty special game to replace Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective as me and my group’s top crime-solving game. The cases are tough and memorable, and they do a great job of making everyone feel like real detectives. If you’ve been a fan of other co-op mystery games or you just like the murder-mystery genre in general, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

Read our Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review

Get your copy of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective


3. Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories review

Year: 2008 | Players: 1-4

Ghost Stories is still one of the toughest cooperative board games out there. My group’s overall win percentage after over 100 games is only about 20 percent, but that just makes us want to keep playing it. The artwork is excellent, the game plays smoothly once you know the rules, and the random village layout and random assortment of ghosts help to make each game feel different.

If you like difficult co-ops, I highly recommend getting Ghost Stories. Also worth checking out is Last Bastion, a fantasy version of Ghost Stories released in late 2019.

Read our Ghost Stories review

Get your copy of Ghost Stories


2. Aeon’s End

Aeon's End review

Year: 2016 | Players: 1-4

Aeon’s End has been my group’s top cooperative deck building game for a while now, and it’s also our favorite two-player co-op (it also plays well at three and four). It has a unique spell-casting mechanic, the variable turn order adds in extra tension, and it plays at a nice pace. This is a great game to get if you enjoy fantasy games and/or deck building games.

There’s actually a lot of Aeon’s End content out there now, including small-box expansions, War Eternal, Legacy, and The New Age.

Read our Aeon’s End review

Get your copy of Aeon’s End


1. Robinson Crusoe

Ghost Stories review

Year: 2012 | Players: 1-4

There still isn’t a better survival game or adventure game than Robinson Crusoe: Adventures of the Cursed Island. After every win or loss (mostly losses), my group spends some time talking about how the story played out because the game does such a great job pulling you onto the island and not letting you go until you either succeed or fail.

Even if it only came with the first scenario in the box – the newest version has seven scenarios – Robinson Crusoe would probably still sit in this top spot. It’s highly thematic, every decision you make feels important, and you have to work hard as a team to have a chance to win. Yeah, it’s amazing.

Read our Robinson Crusoe review

Get your copy of Robinson Crusoe


 

What are your favorite cooperative board games? Are there any that you’d recommend that aren’t on this list?

 


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