Not every game needs to be a competition, and there's something pleasant about just sitting back, and working with your fellow gamers to bring about a win, rather than trying to best them with your unmatched mind and perfected strategy. So here's a few Co-Operative games you can bring to the table next time with your friends (or play on your own)...
Stardew Valley: the Board Game
You Farm, Build, Mine, Fish, and Gift your way to victory together in this surprisingly well-adapted board game based on the hit indie video game of the same title. Each player takes control of a profession: Farmer, Forager, Fisher, and Ferr...Miner, the last one is Miner.
Each profession gets it's own set of tools and profession upgrades that can make you better at your particular aspect of the game, as you move through seasons, gifting items to the townsfolk, and completing Objectives given by your late Grandpa and the Community Bundles.
Stardew Valley: The Board Game is one big moving puzzle as you juggle collecting goods, watering crops, and creating villager friends. Despite playing it for almost 4 hours each time, it went like a blink of an eye. You are always discussing plans with your fellow players, and each profession provides a clear line of progression to the game, meaning the game doesn't suffer from the Alpha Gamer problem many other Co-Operative games do.
So... convinced to get it yet? At the moment, you can't (at least not without paying the Scalper Tax).
"What?! You've added a game that I can't get on this list?!"
Yes, but hear me out. This game is phenomenal and, is currently undergoing a reprint with a global release plan so make sure you keep an eye on ConcernedApe's Twitter account for announcments.
Look, Pandemic has ended up on a lot of our Blog Articles over the years, we know, but that's because it's just a solid game that constantly brings out new and interesting ways to play, and the Pandemic: Legacy series is no exception.
The Legacy format brings the brutal co-operative masterpiece into an ongoing story-telling format, where your decisions in an earlier game, can help or hinder you further down the line. The latest legacy game, Pandemic Legacy: Season 0, sees you controlling different Medical Specialists turned CIA Agents trying to track down the Soviets' plan to weaponise the lethal CoDA Virus during the Cold War.
If you want to see how Season 1 plays out, and you don't mind spoilers, there's a full Season Playthrough over on our Youtube Channel.
Looking for something to scratch that Dungeons & Dragons itch without needing a Dungeon Master? Say hello to Gloomhaven.
In it, you take control of a character making their way through this euro-inspired adventure game, clearing dungeons and fulfilling objectives until the scenario is completed, or you exhaust yourself trying.
At the end of each scenario, you also get to make decisions about the story, forging your own narrative in the same vein as a Legacy game or RPG.
Originally a massive Kickstarter success, it's retail release has not slowed down its popularity at all and is a must-have if you have a group of friends wanting to play a campaign-style game over the course of several months (or if you just want to micromanage a full adventuring party on your own).
Marvel: Champions dropped at the end of 2019 to not a lot of fanfare here in Australia, but Fantasy Flight Games has been steadily releasing new Scenario and Hero Packs ever since, with each new pack expanding the library of cards available to build your deck and growing the audience.
The game itself is pretty simple. Play cards from your deck, prevent the villain from schemeing their way to victory, and punch the villain until they stop moving.
But the deck-building part of the game is where this game's replayability shines as no two games will be the same.
When preparing for a game of Marvel: Champions, you...
- Choose a Marvel Hero
- Build a deck using one of the Aspects (Agression - For punching the Villain, Justice - For thwarting the Villain' Schemes, Leadership - For buffing your allies, and Protection - For... protecting... things)
- Select a Villain
- Build an encounter deck using the Villain's set, your hero's obligation, and as many modular encounter sets as you like
- Then you play
Did you win? Well done! You can try the expert mode or switch up the modular encounters to make it harder.
Did you lose? No worries. Modify your deck, shuffle up, and go again.
Marvel: Champions has exploded in the store, with nearly all of our Staff Members owning a set, or participating in a near weekly hangout amongst themselves to play, and our monthly meetups selling out every time. This is certainly a game that you should try out if you enjoy the combo-aspects of card games.
You can also catch a live playthrough every Wednesday night on our Twitch Channel.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
Welcome to narrative games; no markers, no tokens, no dice. Just you, a map, your mind, and a story to unravel.
Each Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective box comes with 10 different cases to sink your teeth into, either alone, or with your very own Dr Watson by your side. Each case has you unravelling the thread of intrigue, answering a series of questions, and comparing your detective skills to those of the master sleuth himself, Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective is one that always ends up in the holiday bag with my wife and I, and enjoyed with a scotch, a fireplace, and a myriad of terrible British accents. There's a lot of fun to be had performing the game with others.
Looking for that sweet Xenomorph Aliens horror in a co-operative board game but missed out on Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps due to 20th Century Fox's bizarre licensing rules in Australia? Nemesis has you covered, and then some.
You and your crewmates must survive on a ship infested with "totally not xenomorph" aliens. To win, you have to complete one of the two objectives dealt to you at the start of the game and get back to Earth in one piece. There will be obstacles: swarms of Intruders, the lackluster condition of the ship, secret agendas held by your fellow players/frenemies, and sometimes just cruel fate.