Top 40 Cooperative Board Games

best cooperative board games of all time


Another year, another Best Cooperative Board Games list update! I used to keep all of the past lists on the site, but to avoid confusion I’m deleting those and from now on I’m just going to keep this page updated. If you want to see some of the co-ops that didn’t make it, most of them can be found on the other board game rankings pages.

There were a lot of additions and subtractions (and a lot of shifting around) in this latest update. It was actually really tough to leave some of the games off of this page since I do want more people to know about those games. I’ll probably make this a top 50 or top 60 list next time because we’re now at a point where there is a pretty large selection of excellent cooperative games.

As always, 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 traitors.

There are a lot of great co-op games for you to look through on this page, so I’m very confident you’ll find one (or two, or 10, or 40) that you’ll enjoy playing. Regardless of whether you’re looking for cooperative board games for adults, for the family, or even for just two players, there is absolutely a co-op board game for everyone here!

Be sure to take a look at our Types of Board Games guide if you need some help figuring out what kind of co-op games to get.

I recently moved the Best Board Games for Kids to its own list. If you’re looking for games to play with younger kids, that’s where you’ll find them.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to it! Below you’ll find 40 of the best cooperative board games to buy for your group!


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40. The Captain Is Dead – The Captain Is Dead is a cool co-op strategy board game in which you’re trying to repair your ship and escape before the aliens get to you. It has a great look to it and it’s intense trying to run around and fix all of those ship systems. This is the game that I recommend to fans of Pandemic who want something similar but different enough to earn a spot on their shelves.

The Captain Is Dead review | Buy a Copy


39. The Grizzled – The Grizzled has been around a while now and there still aren’t any other cooperative games that play quite like it. It’s a war game, but it’s really all about soldiers trying to survive during World War I. It’s a light-but-tough cooperative card game with a unique war theme.

The Grizzled review | Buy a Copy


38. Forbidden DesertForbidden Island also could have gone in this spot as the two games have similar mechanisms, 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. My group still plays both games, but Desert hits the table more often.

Forbidden Desert review | Buy a Copy


37. Champions of Hara – The ultimate goal in Champions of Hara is to take down powerful villains, but it’s so much more than that. It is one of the best cooperative adventure games around because of its awesome shifting-world mechanic, its awesome characters, and its very high replayability. It has competitive and co-op scenarios, but everyone I’ve played it with has said it is better as a cooperative game.

Champions of Hara review | Buy a Copy


36. Castle Panic – Castle Panic continues to be a go-to gateway game and a great co-op game for families because it’s very easy to learn and it’s enjoyable for all ages. It’s also one of very few really good cooperative tower defense games out there right now. You can turn it into a solid gamer’s game by adding in one or more of the Castle Panic expansions.

Castle Panic review | Buy a Copy


35. Resident Evil 2 – This is one of the best horror board games around 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. If you’re a fan of the Resident Evil 2 video game and you love co-ops, chances are you’ll be a fan of this game.

Resident Evil 2 review | Buy a Copy


34. 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 one of the best cooperative board games for families that you can find and it has a theme that everyone can get into.

Flash Point: Fire Rescue review | Buy a Copy


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

Castle Ravenloft review | Buy a Copy


32. Hanabi – Hanabi is easily one of the best limited communication games that you can get. It’s actually the game that started the whole limited communication craze in recent years. I’ve played it many times with many groups and I still have a blast trying to put those fireworks in order. It’s one of those co-op card games that I think everyone should try at least once. It works great as a fun family game, but it can also be a great starter for any adult gaming group.

Hanabi review | Buy a Copy


31. Adventure Tactics – The thing that makes Adventure Tactics stand out among all of the other cooperative campaign games out there is its fantastic leveling system. Sure, there are plenty of games that allow you to get stronger as you move through a campaign, but in Adventure Tactics you are given a bunch of cool customization options, which keeps your characters feeling fresh. It’s a really solid, light adventure game with very nice art.

Adventure Tactics review | Buy a Copy


Check out our Top 10 Co-op Party Games!


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30. Mysterium – Still one of the best-looking board games that you can buy, Mysterium is a great whodunit game. The dream and location cards look amazing on the table and they do the job of pulling you into the world. Plus, it’s kind of like two co-op games in one since you can play as either the ghost or the investigators. You also now have the option to get Mysterium Park, a streamlined version of Mysterium; they’re two of the best cooperative party games out there.

Mysterium review | Buy a Copy


29. 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 lot of cooperation to beat.

Maximum Apocalypse review | Buy a Copy


28. V-Sabotage – What makes V-Sabotage (formerly called “V-Commandos”) one of the best co-op board games around is that it does a great job of making players feel like highly trained commandos. You focus on staying undetected most of the time so you can complete objectives, which ratchets up the tension. A must-have if you like the WWII theme and/or you’ve enjoyed playing other co-op war games.

V-Sabotage review | Buy a Copy


27. Vagrantsong – The things that have made Vagrantsong stand out for me and my group are the great story and the fantastic art. Sure, we also enjoy adjusting our characters and figuring out how to defeat each of the unique bosses, but the dark, cartoony look of Vagrantsong is awesome and the snippets in the book do an excellent job of keeping you interested in what’s playing out on the board throughout each game. It’s easily one of the best cooperative games I’ve played in recent years.

Buy a Copy


26. Endangered – I fully expect Endangered to stay on this list for a while because the “save the endangered species” theme is perfect for a co-op and the difficulty is just right for replaying it over and over again. I’ve played with the base game’s species (tigers and otters) about 15 times each, and I’ve also recently had a chance to play with the seven new species added in the Endangered: New Species expansion. All of the scenarios are fun to play and mix up the gameplay enough to keep it fresh.

Endangered review | Buy a Copy


25. One Deck Dungeon – One Deck Dungeon is still one of the best two-player cooperative games, especially for those who love dice games. This is a very portable game with a simple set of rules, challenging gameplay, and fantastic artwork. One Deck Dungeon has been in my game bag for a long time now and chances are it’s going to stay there a while. You can also now get One Deck Galaxy, a civilization-building version of the game.

One Deck Dungeon review | Buy a Copy


24. 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. many times and we still enjoy it every time it hits the table. Oh, and there’s also a great sequel!

Burgle Bros. review | Buy a Copy


23. Black Orchestra – I think everyone in my group likes Black Orchestra even more than we did back when I posted my review for it. It has an interesting mix of mechanisms, including pick-up and deliver and push-your-luck dice play, that just work well together. It’s very hard to assassinate Hitler, but the game is never frustrating. This is one of those cooperative strategy games that pretty much anyone can get into, a big reason for that is its theme.

Black Orchestra review | Buy a Copy


22. Just One – You’re not going to do much better than Just One if you’re looking for a cooperative party game. It’s an easy-to-learn word game in which everyone gives the guesser one-word clues for the word on the card in front of them. The catch is that matching clues get canceled. It’s one of the best board games for larger groups and one of the top affordable games you can get right now.

Just One review | Buy a Copy


21. Legendary Encounters – These are easily some of the best deck building games that I’ve played. The Alien version 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, Predator, and quite a few others. The games are very thematic, there’s plenty of cooperation, and every deck-building choice you make feels very important.

Legendary Encounters: Alien review | Buy a Copy


Check out our Top 10 Co-op Family Games!


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20. Codenames Duet – Codenames Duet continues to be one of the top two-player cooperative games around and arguably the best version of Codenames that you can get. 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 you’re always on the lookout for great deduction games, you really have to give Codenames Duet a play. It also works better than most co-ops as a team-building board game since you really can’t do well without good cooperation.

Codenames Duet review | Buy a Copy


19. Paleo – Paleo stands out for me and my group because, on top of being a great cooperative adventure game, it feels like a one-of-one unique game, which is pretty rare in the board gaming world these days. It’s a high-tension game with an excellent exploration mechanic, plenty of cooperation, and high replay value.

Paleo review | Buy a Copy


18. Project: ELITE – Project: ELITE has you attempt to quickly fight off alien invaders and complete different objectives before time runs out. Each round you have two minutes to frantically roll dice, move, and kill aliens all while trying to communicate with your teammates. It’s easily one of the most tense games that I’ve ever played, but that just makes winning that much more satisfying. It is easily one of my group’s top real-time board games.

Project: ELITE review | Buy a Copy


17. Marvel Champions – This was my pick for the 2019 Co-op Game of the Year. The Marvel theme shines through everything you do and it’s a lot of fun tweaking your decks to give yourselves the best chance to defeat the villains. Give this a try if you’re a Marvel fan and/or if you’re looking for a challenging cooperative card game that’s great for adult groups and families.

Marvel Champions review | Buy a Copy


16. Mechs vs. Minions – If you enjoy playing programming games like Robo Rally, you should definitely look into playing Mechs vs. Minions. Drafting cards for your mechs is a lot of fun and the missions ramp up in difficulty in a satisfying way as you move through them. Mechs vs. Minions also happens to be one of the best-looking games that you can get right now.

Mechs vs. Minions review | Buy a Copy


15. Sleeping Gods – In my experience, most storytelling games focus a bit too much on story and lack in the gameplay department. Well, that is certainly not the case with Sleeping Gods. It has an excellent campaign, the writing is top-notch, and the art is fantastic. It also has a unique and fun combat system. If you have a group that can commit to a campaign game, Sleeping Gods is a must-try.

Sleeping Gods reviewBuy a Copy


14. Spirit Island – My group’s rankings are all over the place for this one. Some love the game’s complexity and how you have to think long and hard about how you play your cards, 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. Plus, in my experience, even if it is a lot to take in initially, most people find it to be very rewarding to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each spirit and how each one works with the others.

Spirit Island review | Buy a Copy


13. Pandemic – I’m using this spot to represent all of the great 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 board games, though I’d still recommend the original Pandemic (along with the excellent On the Brink expansion) to newer gamers and anyone else who hasn’t played any version of Pandemic yet. It’s also still one of the best co-op games to get someone who is just getting into board games.

Pandemic 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. It’s simply one of the best co-op card games that you can buy. If you want a cooperative Lord of the Rings game that is great at higher player counts, you’ll want to check out Journeys in Middle-earth.

The Lord of the Rings LCG review | Buy a Copy


11. The Mind – The Mind has gone over well with just about everyone I’ve taught it to, and I’ve taught this to a lot of people. 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 chances are you’ll be surprised by how unique the experience is once you get it to the table. It’s one of the best cheap board games out there and it has been one of my go-to quick card games for years now.

The Mind review | Buy a Copy


Check out our Top 10 Co-op Deck Building Games!


10. Chronicles of Crime

Chronicles of Crime preview

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 14+

Chronicles of Crime is one of quite a few excellent detective games that have come out over the 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. The base game is great and the Welcome to Redview expansion is also solid, but the Noir expansion and the standalone game Chronicles of Crime: 1900 have been my group’s favorite Chronicles of Crime experiences so far.

If you and your group enjoy mysteries and deduction games, I highly recommend checking out Chronicles of Crime.

Read our Chronicles of Crime review

Get your copy of Chronicles of Crime


9. Legends of Andor

legends of andor review

Players: 2-4 | Ages: 10+

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, keeping players engaged throughout.

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


8. Too Many Bones

Too Many Bones board game review

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 12+

Too Many Bones has some of the nicest components that you will find in a board game, 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 haven’t even come close to mastering any of them.

I still play Too Many Bones three or four times a year, and most of my group considers it to be one of the best co-op board games ever put out.

Read our Too Many Bones review

Get your copy of Too Many Bones


7. 5-Minute Dungeon

5-Minute Dungeon

Players: 2-5 | Ages: 8+

We’ve had so many exciting 5-Minute Dungeon gaming sessions over the years. I think I’ve personally played it about 75 times and I still haven’t beaten all of the bosses! It’s just so much fun trying to take down all of those enemies as quickly as possible while also making sure everyone’s using their powers and cards at the right times.

5-Minute Dungeon is my group’s top real-time game and something pretty special would have to come along to replace it. It’s also one of the best party board games around. It’s one of those truly collaborative games because you are constantly having to talk to each other to get the right cards played.

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 fantastic, and it’s highly replayable. If you’re looking specifically for a team-building board game, 5-Minute Dungeon would be a great choice.

Read our 5-Minute Dungeon review

Get your copy of 5-Minute Dungeon


6. Atlantis Rising

Atlantis Rising (Second Edition) review - cover

Players: 1-7 | Ages: 10+

Atlantis Rising is an excellent cooperative worker placement game in which you’re attempting to get the resources you need from your island and escape before it floods. It has some very nice-looking components, it plays smoothly, it requires great teamwork, 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 being a big fan of Atlantis Rising.

Read our Atlantis Rising review

Get your copy of Atlantis Rising (Second Edition)


5. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

Players: 1-8 | Ages: 13+

It’s going to take a pretty special game to replace Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective as my group’s top crime-solving game. The writing is insanely good, the cases are tough and memorable, and the game does a great job of making every player feel like a real detective throughout each case.

If you’ve been a fan of co-op mystery games or you just like the murder mystery genre in general, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. You might not be able to solve some cases, but chances are you’ll talk about them for a long time afterward like my group always does.

There are now a lot of new cases that you can check out for this system, including the cases found in Jack the Ripper & West End Adventures, Carlton House & Queen’s Park, and The Baker Street Irregulars.

Read our Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective review

Get your copy of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective


4. Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories review - cover

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 12+

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 and it makes each win ultra-satisfying. The artwork is excellent, the game plays smoothly once you know the rules, and the random village layout and the ghost cards help to make each game feel different.

If you like difficult co-ops or you like horror board games, I highly recommend getting Ghost Stories.

Ghost Stories is often out of print, but luckily there is a fantasy version called Last Bastion that is usually available. It plays pretty much the same way but with a new theme, a better rulebook, and a few new mechanics.

Read our Ghost Stories review

Get your copy of Ghost Stories or… get a copy of Last Bastion


3. Gloomhaven

gloomhaven-preview

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 14+

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 still “only” about 60 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 has arguably the best action-selection system ever designed, 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. If you want to test out the system before you commit to the big game or you just don’t have enough time for it, a streamlined standalone game called Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is also out there. I have played through Jaws of the Lion, and it was amazing.

Get your copy of Gloomhaven or… get a copy of Jaws of the Lion


2. Aeon’s End

Aeon's End review

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 14+

Aeon’s End has been my group’s top cooperative deck building game for a while now, and it’s my favorite two-player co-op (it also plays well at three and four). It has a super-satisfying spell-casting mechanism, the variable turn order adds a lot of extra tension, and the game plays at a nice pace. Each boss gives you a different puzzle to solve as a team, which encourages a lot of communication.

Aeon’s End is a great co-op board game to get if you enjoy deck building games and/or fantasy games in general. There are a lot of really great co-op deck builders out there, but this is usually the first one that I recommend.

There’s actually a lot of Aeon’s End content out there now, including small-box expansions, War Eternal, Legacy, and The New Age. They’re worth knowing about if you get the base game because there’s a very high chance you’ll want even more Aeon’s End content.

Read our Aeon’s End review

Get your copy of Aeon’s End


1. Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe second edition board game review - cover

Players: 1-4 | Ages: 14+

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. It’s a pretty complex game at first since there are a bunch of steps to go through each round, but you get used to it pretty quickly and then you’re able to get fully immersed in its world.

Even if the game 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? Any that you’d recommend that aren’t on this list?

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