Last Updated: Jan. 19, 2020.
Jump to the bottom of the page to see 2019 releases that could make it onto the list in the next big update (coming in February or March).
Last time we went from a top 5 to a top 20. Well, this time we decided to make a top 40 cooperative board games list to give you even more options! As always, I put the list together and then made some adjustments based on my group’s feedback.
We decided to only include fully cooperative board games this time around, so you won’t find any semi-cooperative games, One vs. Many games, or games with potential traitors (like Dead of Winter).
Let’s get to it, shall we? These are the 40 best cooperative board games that we’ve played!
40. Deadline – Deadline is a great card game to get if you like the detective genre, though it does play quite differently than other detective games. You can get through cases pretty quickly, yet they still tell good stories and you do feel like detectives throughout. (Review | Buy a Copy)
39. Escape from 100 Million B.C. – You’ll want to check this one out if you really like the time-traveling theme. You’ll run into dinosaurs, former presidents, and plenty of other cool things from the past in this game. (Review | Buy a Copy)
38. Magic Maze – Magic Maze is one of the top cooperative real-time games and 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)
37. Chronicles of Crime – This is another great detective game that came out recently. The cases my group has played through have all been interesting and the app works really well. We can’t wait to check out the newest content that they’re putting out for it. (Review | Buy a Copy)
36. Forbidden Desert – Forbidden 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 excellent 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)
35. Unicornus Knights – Unique theme, unique cooperative gameplay. You work together to try to get the princess back home, but you have to get through a bunch of enemies who all have crazy powers. More people need to play this game. (Review | Buy a Copy)
34. Batman: The Animated Series – I had a feeling that my group would like this game, but I didn’t know it would end up being such a big hit. It’s a fun puzzle to tackle as you try to use your superheroes’ dice to attack enemies and deal with events that pop up. (Review | Buy a Copy)
33. Castle Panic – Castle Panic is an excellent cooperative game for families 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)
32. Codenames Duet – This is one of the best two-player cooperative games and arguably the best version of Codenames that you can buy. If you’re a fan of word games and/or deduction games, you really have to give Codenames Duet a try. (Review | Buy a Copy)
31. 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 for you to play through. 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)
Check out our Top 5 Co-op Deck Building Games!
30. Elder Sign – If you like the Yahtzee dice rolling mechanic, you’ll probably enjoy Elder Sign. Fantasy Flight has also done a great job on all of the Elder Sign expansions they’ve put out, giving the game even more replay value. (Review | Buy a Copy)
29. Dragonfire – Dragonfire is a very fun deck building campaign game set in the D&D universe. Giving your character new abilities throughout each adventure is just so satisfying. (Review | Buy a Copy)
28. Hanabi – Hanabi started the recent limited communication craze and it is still one of the best ones out there. I’ve played it about 100 times and I still have a blast trying to put those fireworks in order. It also works quite well as a gateway game. (Review | Buy a Copy)
27. 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. This is a tough co-op card game that always tells a story. (Review | Buy a Copy)
26. Spirit Island – This is one game where my group’s rankings are all over the place. 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)
25. Dungeons & Dragons Board Games – One of the issues that we usually have with dungeon crawlers is that they’re too fiddly, but that’s not a problem with these games. They scratch the dungeon crawler itch yet they play very smoothly. We’ve only reviewed Castle Ravenloft, but we’ve actually played three of the games in the D&D Adventure System Series and they’ve all been great. (Review | Buy a Copy)
24. Flash Point: Fire Rescue – Most of my group considers Flash Point to be the best cooperative family game. The firefighting theme comes through extremely well and it is an easy game to learn and teach. (Review | Buy a Copy)
23. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game – Every fan of The Lord of the Rings should at least try this two-player card game. The base game doesn’t give you a lot of cards to construct decks with, but there are dozens of expansions that you can add to it if you end up enjoying it. Arkham Horror: The Card Game is also out there if you prefer that theme. (Review | Buy a Copy)
22. Dawn of Peacemakers – This is another game with a fantastic theme. Instead of fighting in the animal war, you’re there to keep the battles balanced so hopefully there will eventually be peace. Very cool campaign game with a lot of great surprises in the box. (Review | Buy a Copy)
21. Spy Club – At its core, Spy Club is a cooperative set collection game, but it’s 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 always tells a good story and that campaign deck is awesome. (Review | Buy a Copy)
Check out our Top 10 Co-op Games of 2019!
20. V-Commandos – What makes V-Commandos one of the best cooperative board games is that it does a great job of actually making players feel like highly trained commandos. You focus on staying undetected most of the time in this game so you can complete objectives. Very cool. (Review | Buy a Copy)
19. T.I.M.E Stories – T.I.M.E Stories is an excellent game system that allows you to pick missions you want to go on, time-travel, and try to solve the puzzles that are thrown at you. It’s one of the most thematic games we’ve played and we’re hoping they continue to support it with more expansions. (Review | Buy a Copy)
18. One Deck Dungeon – This little solo or two-play cooperative game is one of the best games to choose if you really like dice games. It has a simple set of rules, challenging gameplay, fantastic artwork, and it is very portable. (Review | Buy a Copy)
17. CO₂: Second Chance – This is easily one of the top Euro-style cooperative games my group has ever played. It’s a very challenging puzzle as you have to figure out how to keep the world’s CO₂ levels down, and it feels great every time you end a decade with good numbers. The competitive mode is solid, too. (Review | Buy a Copy)
16. Shadowrift – One of my group’s favorite deck building games, Shadowrift gives players plenty of options to choose from as they attempt to take down powerful monsters. It’s also the only game that I can think of that that has players building their own decks while also buying cards to add to a neutral deck. (Review | Buy a Copy)
15. Black Orchestra – I think everyone in my group likes this game even more than we did last year when I posted my review for it. It has a very interesting mix of mechanics, including pick-up-and-deliver and push-your-luck dice play. It’s very hard to assassinate Hitler, but the game is never frustrating because it always tells a memorable story. (Review | Buy a Copy)
14. Mysterium – Still one of the most attractive cooperative 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 theme. (Review | Buy a Copy)
13. 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)
12. Burgle Bros. – If you like the idea of trying to pull off a heist with some fellow gamers, Burgle Bros. is a must-buy. Trying to move around without being spotted is quite challenging with those guards constantly moving around you. We’ve played Burgle Bros. a lot and still enjoy it every time it hits the table. (Review | Buy a Copy)
11. Mechs vs. Minions – If you like 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. 5-Minute Dungeon
We’ve had so many exiting gaming sessions with 5-Minute Dungeon. 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 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
We’re including ALL of the Pandemic games in this spot, including the original game, the Pandemic Legacy, Pandemic Iberia, Pandemic: The Cure, and all of the other ones Matt Leacock has created. 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, but Legacy (Season 1 especially) is the best overall experience.
Read our Pandemic review
Legends of Andor is still one of the best cooperative adventure board games around. It has a great look to it, it tells a cool story, and there are some tough puzzles to work through. There are also some excellent Legends of Andor expansions that add in new Legends and/or boards and give the game additional replay value.
Read our Legends of Andor review
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 top cooperative board games ever made, so it makes sense 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 and because it plays so well at all player counts. If you have a group that can commit to playing through Gloomhaven, it’s definitely worth getting.
6. The Mind
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. If you read the rules you’ll think it’s 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.
Read our The Mind review
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.
Chip Theory Games also recently 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
4. Aeon’s End
Aeon’s End has been our top cooperative deck building game for a while now. 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 deck building games.
Read our Aeon’s End review
It’s going to take a pretty special game to replace Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective as our 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 detective games, such as Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, or the murder-mystery genre in general, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.
Ghost Stories is still one of the toughest cooperative board games that we’ve played. Our win percentage after nearly 100 games is 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 don’t mind very difficult co-ops, we highly recommend getting Ghost Stories.
Update: Also worth checking out is Last Bastion, a tower defense version of Ghost Stories released in late 2019.
Read our Ghost Stories review
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), we spend about 10 minutes chatting about the story that played out because the games always seem to play out differently.
Even if it only came with one scenario in the box (the newest version has seven), 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
Below are some 2019 releases that have a good chance of making it onto this list in the next big update (coming in early 2020).
- Marvel Champions – A must-try for any Marvel fan. (review)
- Cities: Skylines – Excellent cooperative city building game. (review)
- Resident Evil 2 – If you like the video game, definitely look into getting this one. (review)
- Wayward – Great combat game with an ever-changing puzzle. (review)
- The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth – Fantastic app-driven adventure game. (review)
Update: Check out these games and others on the Top 10 Co-ops of 2019 list!
What are your favorite cooperative board games? Are there any that you’d recommend that aren’t on this list?