Sometimes I’m not in the mood to compete for glory against my friends. At those times, co-op games allow us to team up against a common enemy, be it virulent disease, the forces of evil, or just a challenge to count to & from 100 (twice).
#5 – Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
This game would be ranked higher if it wasn’t for the fact that I think of it as more of a RPG campaign-lite then as a co-op game. Players band together to work their way through a series of scenarios that are tied together, gaining better equipment and improving their stats as they go. Playing through the game does require a greater time commitment and the story isn’t as strong as if you played the actual RPG version, but it’s well worth checking out if it sounds interesting and/or you’d like to get a RPG experience without a player needing to take on the role of DM.
#4 – Pandemic: the Cure
I enjoy classic Pandemic a lot, but this dice version is super fast to set up and play, so it’s been getting more play recently. Especially since I’m a bit Pandemic-ed out post-Legacy. The tension of rolling and re-rolling for better action options while avoiding biohazard symbols keeps everyone on their toes, and somehow rolling to discover a cure seems to always defy the odds in the worst possible manner. Despite this, the game remains tons of fun and makes a welcome addition to the Pandemic family of games.
#3 – The Game
Players attempt to play through the deck by both counting down from 100 to 2 and counting up from 1 to 99 as a group. From that description it sounds pretty boring but in reality The Game is a really good little co-op that’s easy to teach and plays quickly enough that when you inevitably lose, you can reshuffle and try again. This isn’t a great title if you like for your games to be attractive, but if aesthetics aren’t important, definitely pick this one up (the image below features Beth Sobel’s reskin and is not reflective of the actual published game’s appearance).
#2 – Legends of Andor
This Kosmos game features 5 different “legends” to play through, some being set in terms of events while others are much more variable. Interestingly for a fantasy-themed game in which monsters are often attacking the castle, fighting isn’t necessarily a good thing, as every enemy killed advances the timer causing events to occur sooner and hastening the end of the game. Combined with an interesting turn mechanic where players each have a day’s worth a time per round to take actions, and can exhaust themselves to occasionally continue past sundown, the game sets itself apart from other titles. It’s gorgeous on the table and with the variability in the box plus a number of available expansion legends, this one will continue to provide entertainment for a long time.
#1 – Mysterium
There’s nothing to beat a good ghost story, and this group co-op places one player in the role of a murder victim’s ghost trying to tell a group of visiting psychics the truth of what happened on the night they died. As the ghost communicates through the use of beautifully illustrated dream cards, the group ends up engaged in rambling & often hilarious discussions as they try to decipher exactly what clues they’re being given. This is my favourite large group game, and while I’d love a nifty screen as found in the Asmodee release, I love the art & feel of my Portal games edition too much to replace it which leaves me determined to make my own.