5 people with puzzle pieces playing a cooperative game

7 of the Best Cooperative Board Games to Play with Friends and Family

I wanted to share with you some of the best co op board games that I have played. These are great games for helping to improve your skills as a teammate.

And I also added a bonus game that I want to play after hearing friends reviews of the game.

And for reference you can quickly read our definition of a co op game here.

Now onto the list!

1. Pandemic – My Pick for Best Cooperative Board Game

Pandemic the Board Game Box Image

Game Difficulty – 2-4/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 2-4
Length – 60 min.

My Experience:
I have played this game with several different groups of friends and family. I have yet to have a group that didn’t like it. While I generally prefer two player games, Pandemic is one that I love to play when we have a game night.

My friend John taught me this game when we worked together.

He showed me and 2 of my other coworkers. It was really fun because it became a team building exercise even though that wasn’t the purpose of playing.

Half of the group didn’t play many board games but we all still had fun saving the world together. And we won! (difficulty – medium)

Another great memory of this game was when I challenged my brother to a competitive Pandemic “tournament”.

Basically all we did was take turns playing the game solo.

Whoever was playing would control all 4 characters. We chose roles and the order the roles went. But we set the game difficulty as high as it could go.

It was still hard to beat the game but it was probably the most fun I had playing. But I am naturally a competitive player.

2. Pandemic the Cure – Cooperative Dice Game Where Your Team Attempts to Save the World

Difficulty – 2/5
Ages – 8+
Players – 2-5
Length – 30 min.

My Experience: 
I have played this game (the dice version) less than the original  Pandemic board game.  But I thought it was still pretty fun.

While I didn’t like it as much as the original. I think it’s much easier and quicker for new players to learn. The different roles feel very unique and their special actions seemed to make a lot of sense.

Our group beat the game easily the first time we played. I can’t remember what difficulty we played on but it felt too easy.

I have read others playing the game and having trouble so it is very possible our difficulty was too low. Or we just got really lucky with our dice roles.

Either way, this game is worth trying if you are into cooperative games.

(Related – Trick Your Way to Victory with these Amazing Bluffing Games)

3. Castle Panic – My Pick for Best Co Op Board Game for the Family

Difficulty – 3/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 1-6
Length – 60 min.

My Experience: 
I played this game at gencon one year with my mom and brother. It was just the demo version at the time but I was hooked. If you haven’t gone to a board game convention, then you should try one. They are a lot of fun!

I love base defense type of games so this fit me well. Actually I like these types of games so much that I tried to make one myself.

But apart from the demo I have also played this game all the way through several times.

I played with 2 players for sure and I remember it being somewhat easy. But when we had more players (3 and 4) the game got a bit harder.

Castle Panic is really fun and another great co op game to build teamwork.

(Related – Ever thought about making a board game? Get the answers to many questions new board game designers have here.)

Board Game Design Frequently Asked Questions Call to Action image for Streamlined Gaming. "Board Game Design FAQs" typed in the left side with "Get My Answers" typed in the bottom right with pamphlets in top right.

4. Dead Panic – A Great Cooperative Board Game for Zombie Theme Lovers

Difficulty – 3.5/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 2-6
Length – 90 min.

My Experience: 
Dead Panic was a little bit harder to understand how to play. And it also can drag out to be a really long game where the last 1/3 of it feels like there is no hope.

But this is common for zombie type games. The snowball affect comes with the theme. Most of the games were really fun though. Especially when you are able to keep the zombies out of your base.

The added complexity gives players more options to take on each of their turns.

**Note – This is a standalone game and you don’t need to have Castle Panic to be able to play this game.

So you can pick which theme you like most (Trolls vs. Knights or Zombies vs. Humans) and start with that.

(Have an idea for your own board game? Take the first step into making that idea a real thing)

5. The Game – A Cooperative Card Game that My Math Friends and I Enjoy

Difficulty – 1.5/5
Ages – 8+
Players – 1-5
Length – 20 min.

My Experience: 
This game is really fun with the right people. I have found it really enjoyable with just one other player as well.

If your group is good at agreeing on how to play a game with a somewhat obscure rule, then you will probably like this game.

It is very simple and… well let me just tell you the rule.

In this game you play cards going from numbers 1-100 and down from 100-1. Your teammates give you hints as to what card you should (or shouldn’t) play. You then have to make educated guesses to play the best card possible.

The rule is “Players can’t say concrete numbers”.

This will make more sense when you play. But I had a group one time that kept saying objects around the room for hints. Such as “Candle holder.”

And then they would look at the candle holder that had 5 candles on it. Half of us thought this was cheating and the other half didn’t. So this made the game not as fun.

However, it was actually quite funny because it wasn’t long before some of the hints that seemed obvious started to get misunderstood.

Anyways… I think The Game is really fun overall. It is very simple and quick to learn but hard to master.

I like playing it with my brother and mom. Because after we play a lot of games like this then we start picking up on subtle hints from each other in everyday life. That is where the real fun is!

6. Forbidden Island – Simple Yet Fun Cooperative Game that is Great for Family Time

Difficulty – 2.5/5
Ages – 10+
Players – 2-4
Length – 30 min.

My Experience: 
I got this game for my birthday one year. My brother’s girlfriend got it for me because she knew I liked Pandemic.

This game has a lot of the same feel that Pandemic does.

I felt it was a lot more simple and not as hard to win. But it was still a good challenge and a great cooperative game for families to play together. Kids would enjoy this game as their first cooperative game.

I like the theme a lot. Your team is on an island that is starting to flood. You must find the 4 sacred treasures and escape the forbidden island before the treasures are lost… forever.

Or before you die in the flood. Whichever comes first I suppose. Haha!

My quick review – Get this game if you want a lighter and quicker version of Pandemic. It’s a great cooperative game to play with players of all levels.

(Related – Here are some great games to play at your next party night)

7. Red November – One of the “Hardest to Beat” Co Op Games I’ve Played

Difficulty – 4/5
Ages – 13+
Players – 1-8
Length – 60-120 min.

My Experience: 
This was the most complicated of the co op board games I have played. I love a good challenge though so it was really fun once I figured out how to play. I’m also a fan of the artwork that the game has.

There is a cool aspect to this game that is not common in cooperative games.

One player can win by escaping the submarine and having the Kraken eat the ship. This may not be EXACTLY how it worked but I remember it being an interesting concept.

It’s been awhile since I played the game and the several times I played no one won individually. We either won or lost as a team.

So if your group loves a good challenge then this is one of the best co op board games for you.

(Interesting Article: See the minimum board game purchase order and more from this game manufacturer)

Bonus Co op Board Game: Robinson Crusoe

Difficulty – 5/5
Ages – 14+
Players – 1-4
Length – 120 min.

My Experience: 
I have not actually played this game but I want to and here’s why.

Several of my friends talk very highly of this game and say it is the most challenging co op board game.

It looks like it would be another good cooperative game for me to play solo.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense I know (Playing a co op game by myself). But I enjoy the puzzle solving aspect of co op games so much that I don’t mind playing them solo as well.

If you and your group are wanting a very tough challenge then I hear this is the board game for you.

From what I can tell the theme is straight up survival in the wilderness. So if you are someone that enjoys intense camping trips (or even the idea of it) then this might be the game for you.

**Note – There are 2 versions of this game. From what I hear both versions are the same game. However, the 2nd edition has a much clearer rule book than the 1st edition.

What’s Your Pick for Best Co Op Board Game?

What is your favorite cooperative board game?

I am always looking for some new games to try so let me know in the comments below.

Other Lists by SLG that You Might Like:

Games I play with my Grandma
Popular Board Game Pieces for Prototyping
Great Board Games based on Popular TV Gameshows

9 Responses

  1. Brenda Thorpe
    | Reply

    Hanabi for sure. It makes you use your brain in a completely new way

    • Calvin Keeney
      | Reply

      I could have sworn I had Hanabi on this list but I do not. haha. I don’t even remember what list I put it on if any but I really enjoy that game.

      I played it awhile back with the dominos (the deluxe version) as well and it was much easier to play. Holding cards backwards can get awkward but the dominoes helped that out a lot. They are expensive though :-/

      Thanks for the suggestion Brenda!

      • Brenda Thorpe
        | Reply

        You’re welcome. I’ve considered upgrading my copy..maybe I should…

        • Calvin Keeney
          | Reply

          I’m still debating for myself which copy I would buy if I got the game for my collection. Knowing me I would probably buy the cards and then talk about how having the dominoes would be nice everytime my family and I played. haha

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