Top 5 Cooperative Board Games for families
Our family loves cooperative board games!
The first time we played a cooperative board game we knew we’d found something cool. There weren’t hurt feelings from being beat. And there weren’t accusations of being picked on by a sibling. Instead there was a lot of teamwork as we tried to win the game together.
Cooperative board games are great for families because they let you team up to beat the game. They get your family talking in a positive way as you work together to find the best way to win.
The other great thing about cooperative board games is that kids can join in games at an earlier age. Since you’re working together and discussing things throughout, older players can help younger players with strategies and options. This is great for letting younger players join in on games that may require more thoughtful choices. And they love feeling old enough to join in on those games.
Here’s our pick for the Top 5 Cooperative Board Games for families:
5. Defenders of the Realm
See Brooke’s video review and our written review of Defenders of the Realm.
4. Castle Panic
See Jaden’s video review and our written review of Castle Panic.
3. Flash Point: Fire Rescue
See Caleb’s video review and our written review of Flash Point: Fire Rescue.
2. Forbidden IslandFor families with younger kids, Forbidden Island should really be #1 on this list. Of all the cooperative board games we’ve played, Forbidden Island is terrifically suited for playing with young kids. It’s very simple to understand, has fantastic components, and plays in a relatively short amount of time. Unlike the other games on this list, the locations in Forbidden Island are randomly placed upon set up which is a way to keep it fresh every time. The only downside for us is that only 4 can play at a time. It’s also the best deal in board games out there. For under $20 you get a fantastic family board game.
See Caleb’s video review and written review of Forbidden Island.
1. PandemicAlthough the top two games on this list are very close, Pandemic takes our #1 spot. And it’s not just because Pandemic was the first cooperative board game to really hit it big. After the success of Pandemic there were a lot of game companies rushing to publish cooperative board games. And while they’ve added a lot of great mechanics and themes to the mix of games, Pandemic still stands the test of time and is a great cooperative board game for families.
See Caleb’s video review and our written review of Pandemic (it was the 2nd video review we did).
Downside to cooperative board games
The only complaint we’ve heard about cooperative board games is when there’s a player that tries to take control of everything. If one person tells everyone else what to do on their turn, then the fun of the game goes right out the window.
Since the board games are all about cooperation, you need to have discussion about options throughout the game. However, this can still be done without taking over for other players.
The thing to watch out for is not making decisions for other players. Talk about it. But let each player make their own decision without pressure. In a family setting this can be combated really easy with this tip: Ask kids for advice
A great thing to do when playing as a family is for parents to ask the younger kids for advice. When it’s dad’s turn, he can turn to his daughter and ask what she thinks he should do. It’s a great way to build their confidence and bond at the same time.
If you haven’t played a cooperative board game before, then we highly suggest you grab one of these top 5 Cooperative board games for families and give it a try!
NOTE: You may note that the order of these top 5 games may not coincide with an ordered list of our game review ratings. But that’s simply because of the age of our kids at the time they did the original reviews and what they rated them at the time. The order in which we played and reviewed the games also has an impact on the way we’ve rated games over time. While we don’t imagine going back and re-rating all the games we’ve reviewed, we do plan to do more of these Top 5 lists with our broadened perspective from playing hundreds of board games together.