$10.00
The Best Co-operative Games
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Like Space Games we have been treated to a pile of great co-op games in the last couple of years. Battlestar Galactica, Pandemic, Red November, Ghost Stories, Space Alert, Last Night on Earth....

This list contains the best Co-operative games I could find on BGG. There seem to be a few main types of Co-ops:
- All vs. the Game
- All vs. One
- All vs. Traitor
I've tried to classify the games in this list. I may have some wrong as I haven't played a lot of these games plus some of them don't neatly fit into one of the above categories. Hopefully it will be a guide for those who don't like all vs. one or games with a traitor. I have excluded straightforward Team vs. Team games.
Feel free to add if you think I have missed a great game

I've added some useful information on game: best number of players, how popular they are (number of plays) and whether they are Free. I've also included a comment (or two) from a fan of the game.

I have sorted them based on a Combined rating. Points are awarded for 3 categories: Rating, Ranking and #Plays. Points are awarded based on where that game comes after sorting all the games on this list by each of those scores. Finally a bonus was awarded for Print n Play games (as they are freely available and free/cheap). Low points are good and the games were then be sorted by their TOTAL points. You'll get the idea.
If any new games are added to the list I will score them relative to the other games on the list and sort them on that basis.

Other lists in this series:
The Best Space Games
The Best Alternatives to "Risk"
The Best Party Games
The Best Dexterity Games (or 48 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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1. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:40]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 21597

Team vs. Game

kilroy_locke: "An excellent game that captures its theme very well. Players work together to cure all four major diseases before they destroy the world's population. Pandemic is very challenging but still fun, and can accomodate from 1-4 players. There is a nice balance between the different abilities, and the infection mechanic is just brilliant. It's also highly replayable and quick, usually finishing in around 20-35 minutes. So far, it's my favorite game of 2008!"

Rating Pts: 3
Rank Pts: 1
Plays Pts: 1
TOTAL: 5
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2. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:136] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 14706

Team vs. Game

rcmoore4: "I appreciate a game with a good theme, and this game oozes theme. The lovecraftian theme is extremely well developed and is appealing to a wider base of gamer. This is not your generic fantasy rpg boardgame, it is filled with characters players can relate too and monsters that capture the imagination. That being said, it's a pretty detailed game, and you'll pay for that detail with increased length of gameplay and complexity of rules. This means your casual gamer friends will potentially be turned off, and it will potentially lead to unfinished games. I suggest luring them into the game with the theme first, saving details for later. The cooperative nature of the game is a key selling point as well, as it makes learning-while-you-play a viable option. Update: Unfinished games DO happen! But I have never been disappointed! Also, changed to a 9...it's just really a fun game once you get the hang of it! Update: Changed rating to a 10. I never get tired of this game..."

Rating Pts: 4
Rank Pts: 3
Plays Pts: 3
TOTAL: 10
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3. Board Game: Descent: Journeys in the Dark [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:168]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 6709

Team vs One

Kalidor: "Rated after many plays:
This, for me, is a near perfect adventure game. The "fun-factor" makes it a 10. Suspense: a real feel of a group trying to accomplish some task, danger, difficulty, great loot, great and endless possibilities. It has everything. It feels alot like AD&D to me, without all of the "out of combat" stuff. I love that stuff and will play D&D for that. For a dungeon crawl, for combat with some story and flavor, give me Descent!
It has the unfortunate possibility of being difficult to hit the table...some say "too long"
I personally don't care if it did take 16 hours to play...I enjoy it that much. We have been successful at getting our games in around the 3-4 hour mark..of course, we usually lose as the Hero, so they could go longer if we knew what the hell we were doing!!!
This one has jumped to the very top of my all-time lists at this point. Only Duel of Ages means more to me in my collection of games. Would play at ANY given moment."

Rating Pts: 6
Rank Pts: 4
Plays Pts: 6
TOTAL: 16
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4. Board Game: Battlestar Galactica [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:29]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 2514

Traitor(s)

dysjunct: "Superb! A shoo-in for Ameritrash Game of the Year 2008, and already shaping up to be a modern classic.
Like many great AT games, the rules are solid enough to provide a structural framework, while still allowing for emergent narratives and meta-strategy. I like games with hidden traitors but they can be hard to get right -- Bang! and Shadows Over Camelot each fall short in a variety of ways.
BSG nails it thematically and mechanically. It's not a pure negotiation game like Diplomacy, nor a pure exercise in mechanics like Puerto Rico, but somewhere nicely in between -- you negotiate over what the optimal mechanical choice actually is, and then try to navigate the in-game consequences people who disagree can inflict on you.
A stellar achievement. Best game I've played in 2008 and on my Top 10 list for all time."

Rating Pts: 1
Rank Pts: 2
Plays Pts: 14
TOTAL: 17
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5. Board Game: Space Alert [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:78]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 2285

Team vs Game

shawn_low "Battlestations in COOP mode!!
This game is a crazy hoot to play. The setting: a spaceship that is scanning the area that it has warped into. Players listen to a series of prerecorded alert sounds that trigger off events. They then program a hand of cards (ala roborally) in order to deal with the threats. This includes moving around, firing weapons, powering weapons etc.
Once the 10 minute soundtrack finishes, players then resolve all the threats and programmed cards. This is where the fun begins. Erroneous and uncoordinated programming, ship damage etc all add to the tension and agony as players see if they manage to survive the threats.
Great looking components. Fairly easy turn structure. Quickish game. Lots of replaybility. Pity it's so hard to find in English! CZG had a hit with Galaxy Trucker last year and they someone manage to top that this year! Well done."

Rating Pts: 2
Rank Pts: 7
Plays Pts: 15
TOTAL: 24
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6. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:276]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1294

Team vs. One

Zapata: "Wonderful game. 15 mn to explain the rules, but subtle to play. Plays fast despite complexity. A german game based upon fighting, with lots of interactions (try to find 3 other ones). A game that isn't the 10.000th one about napoleonic wars, civil war or WWII... A game proposing the most clever combat system I've seen for at least a decade. A game offering wonderful material (graphic design of tactical cards is wonderful) for a quite decent price. Is it a game for everybody ? No. Wargame purists won't like (a simple set of rules - no dice rolls - no modificators - no hex - all that stuff sacrified to playability). And some boardgamers could consider this game "too serious". But people playing or having played both wargames and boardgames will immediately understand that this game is the ultimate synthesis of the 2 universes."

Rating Pts: 3
Rank Pts: 4
Plays Pts: 18
TOTAL: 25

Suggested by Thommy8
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7. Board Game: Shadows over Camelot [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:254]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7 players

Total Plays: 12805

Traitor (or Team vs Game if you want it easy)

compman: "This is a "party game for gamers" and even though I tend to prefer playing gamer's games, I play this game more than any other in my collection. This is primarily due to the people I play it with as there is a core group of Shadows players at my FLGS with whom I love playing this game and with whom I am good friends. The Traitor mechanic makes this game a wonderful party game and I have been known to play this game several times a night until early the next morning."

Rating Pts: 15
Rank Pts: 6
Plays Pts: 4
TOTAL: 25
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8. Board Game: Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:343] [Average Rating:7.10 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 6588

Team vs. One (or Two)

pdclose: "Very fun zombie game. Yes the dice to influence game play quite a bit, as does luck of the card draw, but there are still some strategies to be employed and neither side is overpowered. I like it!
Upgraded to a 10. This game sees more plays in our game group than just about any other. It's an imperfect 10, but it hits all the right fun notes for me to rate this that high.
Every time we play it, something amazing happens, whether it's doubles on the "last night" to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, or just being piled on by 4 zombies and having the right cards to mow them down. Awesome."

Rating Pts: 9
Rank Pts: 9
Plays Pts: 7
TOTAL: 25
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9. Board Game: Fury of Dracula [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:250]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 4139

Team vs. One

crackedlcd81: "Next to AH's DUNE, this is my favorite game of all time, a perfect mix of proper Hammer-style gothic horror and a compelling mystery game with ample doses of strategy, suspense, and unpredictability. FFG's version improves many elements of the gameplay, chiefly by employing a few new mechanics to put a little more pressure on Dracula as well as the hunters- overall, there's a greater sense of urgency and the game isn't able to descend into the 4 hour "where the hell is he" turkey shoots the original version could. It's much more about tracking Dracula rather than finding him, and as a result it seems like there is a lot more opportunities for the hunters to collude and conspire to even the odds in their favor. The other new elements, such as allies and the card-based movement all work a charm and the cludgy but endearing tables and charts of the original are rendered obsolete. Mina is a great 5th hunter and her "questionable past" with Dracula makes the cards affecting bitten hunters almost always useful. Dracula's special abilities are devious and fun or frustrating depending on which side of the fangs you fall. The art is top notch, although I do miss the old GW style. There is literally nothing I don't adore about this game. I could say that I think the "Sense of Emergency" ability is a little too powerful or that Dracula is almost too easy to find in some situations, or that the Catacombs aren't as useful as it seems like they should be, but I could really care less. This is a game that I love, it's a theme I love, and it's back in print in a beautiful, well-considered version with thoughtful and respectful revisions that maintain the tone and texture of the original while making it modern and exciting even after nearly 20 years."

Rating Pts: 11
Rank Pts: 5
Plays Pts: 10
TOTAL: 26
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10. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:132]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 2274

Team vs. Game

StatSig: "I'd been slavering over Ghost Stories since reading the hype about it from Essen, and I bought it on an impulse when on a vacation in Seattle. Reading over the rules later in the hotel room, I started to feel a bit trepidatious; they were a bit confusingly written with some questionable translation, and overall the concept of the game seemed a bit too repetitive and simple to be fun. I know that a simple concept doesn't necessarily mean that a co-op game can't kick your butt (see Pandemic), but, anyway, I was starting to worry that I'd blown $50 and valuable suitcase space (we never check luggage, so this is always at a premium on vacation) on an overhyped release with nice production values. After about half of a game that I abandoned, I was even more worried, but still determined to give the game a fair shake.

Oh wow, am I glad I did. When played with four people, this is an unmerciful, immersive, and downright fantastic co-op. It can suffer from the "loudest player" problem that a lot of open-info co-ops do, but, honestly, I find that to be largely unavoidable in many co-ops. It's somewhat mitigated by the fact that, usually, EVERYTHING is going wrong, and so there's often several answers for a given turn, none of which are particularly clearly correct. Ghost Stories is now one of my favorite co-operative games, often inspiring "just one more try" when we've gotten our butts handed to us, which is high praise for a game that tends to run about 45-60 minutes (usually once in a row is enough for an hour-length game for my group and me)."

Rating Pts: 8
Rank Pts: 10
Plays Pts: 16
TOTAL: 34
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11. Board Game: The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:442]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 players
Recommended with 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, more than 18 players

Total Plays: 4123

Traitor(s)

Jim Marshall: "Oooh, boy is this good with the right crowd. It's about influencing and deduction, as the innocent villagers try to uncover the werewolves in their midst before they become the wolves' midnight snacks. A few caveats: there's not much game, so analysts looking for complex mechanisms, optimum strategies and the like tend to be put off. Also, with too many introverts playing it can be a non-event as it's more about social interaction than anything else. Finally, people do get knocked out (it's not called werewolves for nothing!), but it's a very quick game and it's still fun to watch the interaction and confusion from the sidelines, indeed as it is if you're the moderator running it. You could make your own set from a few bits of paper if you really wanted (it's essentially a few cards and the rules), but it's cheap and I really like the card art on the Asmodee edition. Needs a big crowd."

Rating Pts: 16
Rank Pts: 11
Plays Pts: 11
TOTAL: 38
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12. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:497]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 6927

Team vs Game

elijah234: "This game totally captures the tense and gripping excitment of the Fellowship's journey to Mordor. Every game is different and just because you won one time one way doesn't mean the next game will be the same. The variables in the game are enough that you feel challenged every game and you'd want to play it again and again. But the game design is such that the variables are not completely random and that the players have the opportunity to manage them. Brilliant game design by Knizia! I've played the game so many times - I've definitely got my money back and more on this investment!"

Rating Pts: 22
Rank Pts: 12
Plays Pts: 5
TOTAL: 39
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13. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:210]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 525

Team vs. Game (for a while)

bigbaddaddydanny: "I love this game. And I love to make landbills, because the people love them and because my co-players hate me for making them. Early republic is "simple" to play, but it is so difficult beating the game if you cannot co-operate. Voting in The Senate is great fun also convicting your co-players for minor offenses is fun. I really love the mortality chit drawing: because eventhough you may have a Super Senator he may just die from a disease. Also controlling the masses to prevent mobviolence slaughtering the senators is fun. On the other hand provoking/trickering mob violence when you are weak is great fun. Especially if some of the stronger players get hurt. The game is best to play with 5 or 6 players!"

Rating Pts: 5
Rank Pts: 8
Plays Pts: 26
TOTAL: 39
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14. Board Game: Doom: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:553]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 2713

Team vs. One

Chrisgmay: "This is absolutely one of my favorite games. Yes, it is a dice fest. Yes it takes 3 hours. But what a fun 3 hours it is. Killing demons and running for your life. I've played it over 10 times and everytime my palms are still sweating as we try to escape from the base. Of course we die nearly everytime, but it's great fun."

Rating Pts: 21
Rank Pts: 13
Plays Pts: 12
TOTAL: 46
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15. Board Game: BANG! [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:717]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, more than 7 players

Total Plays: 20689

Team vs. One/Traitor(s) kind of

netfilterz: "This is simply the most played game in our gaming group, for a long long time now. There isn't a gathering where it doesn't get played at least once. Deserves the 10! As for the game itself... Ooh, the paranoia, ooh the misdirections... Put on the soundtrack to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and have fun. This is a great game."

Rating Pts: 27
Rank Pts: 17
Plays Pts: 2
TOTAL: 46
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16. Board Game: Battlestations [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:916]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 players

Total Plays: 955

Team vs. One

commissardave: "The description of the rating sums it up nicely, I will never turn down a game of Battlestations. The combination of ship to ship and intraship activity is what makes this one special, in my opinion. Each member of the crew feels as if they contributed to the success of a mission, be they Marine, Scientist, Engineer, or Pilot. The underlying system is simple enough there is little need to reference the rules during play, but the variety of possible actions allows a crew multiple paths to victory. I can see where the time investment could be a turn off to some (a mission will likely take 4 hours), but is not an issue for me."

Rating Pts: 10
Rank Pts: 14
Plays Pts: 22
TOTAL: 46
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17. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:333]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 6402

Traitor

vitas: "Fun game with two phases: 1) exploration, 2) haunting. All through out, this is a co-operative tile-laying exploration game of an old mansion. When the haunting kicks in, one player betrays the others, so it's a contest between the betrayer and the rest of the players. For the sake of variety, a book of scenerios is consulted at that point to find out how the game will proceed. As the nature of adventure games, it's not balanced, but the end result makes for an interesting story."

Rating Pts: 25
Rank Pts: 18
Plays Pts: 8
TOTAL: 51
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18. Board Game: Warhammer Quest [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:464]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, more than 4 players

Total Plays: 564

Team vs. One

hjhaapakoski: "This is the best dungeoncrawl game I have ever played. It is challenging, filled with high quality components (from cards to pawns) and includes rules for both boardgaming and roleplaying. Of all the Games Workshop's quality adventure games, this is the absolute favorite of mine. A warning for the faint hearted though: there's tons of luck."

Rating Pts: 13
Rank Pts: 15
Plays Pts: 25
TOTAL: 53
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19. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:506]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 1007

Team vs. Game

willdesigns: "This is probably one of the best horror games I have ever played. It rivals Arkham horror on so many levels that I can say it wins on most of them just for the time it takes to play it. With Sleepy Hollow soundtrack this game is even better. Both Competitive and Cooperative are awesome as well as the possibilities to add more difficulty if necesary. I recommend it to anybody willing to spend a quality time alone or with friends."

Rating Pts: 17
Rank Pts: 16
Plays Pts: 20
TOTAL: 53
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20. Board Game: Dead of Night [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:3289]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 83

Team vs. Game
Free Print 'n' Play

jqdeacon: "All time best zombie game around. The only game that really captures the atmosphere of a last stand against zombies. All seems hopeless, but everyone fights on none the less no matter how hopeless the situation seems. Desperate heroics abound as well as crazed acts of desperation. Nothing worse than having someone crash your vehicle in a desperate act to kill a handfull of zombies. Also holding the zombies at bay with your trusty lawnmower only to have a sudden power failure. This is one of those games that just doesn't get old. It's random elements add uncertainty to the game without making you feel as if your not in control. No zombie game deserves a 10 more than this gem."

Rating Pts: 7
Rank Pts: 33
Plays Pts: 33
Free Print n Play bonus: -20
TOTAL: 53
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21. Board Game: Skat [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1096]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3 players
Recommended with 3, more than 3 players

Total Plays: 980

Team vs. One

Gargoyle: "At the first glance, perhaps the most confusing card game ever (excluding L'Hombre). But under all the different game-modes and a weird scoring-system lies a very interesting trick-taking game. Choices are often tough, there are surprises here and there and the decisions really affect the outcome of the game. The best 3-player card game I know."

Rating Pts: 12
Rank Pts: 27
Plays Pts: 21
TOTAL: 60
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22. Board Game: Saboteur [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:631]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7, 8 players
Recommended with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 players

Total Plays: 5975

Traitor(s)

dysjunct: "Superb! A fantastic little game, very light and highly thematic. I always play with the advanced rules (loyal dwarves with broken tools get no gold), put the center goal card an extra space away (to prevent a single tunnel card revealing two goal cards) and the saboteurs-in-cahoots rule (like Werewolf -- everyone closes their eyes, then the saboteurs open their eyes and see who each other are).
A phenomenal gateway game, a great introduction to hidden role games, a great filler ... what's not to like? "

Rating Pts: 32
Rank Pts: 24
Plays Pts: 9
TOTAL: 65
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23. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:646]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3 players
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 players

Total Plays: 641

Team vs. Game

mcknight: "I have played this game for 20 years and I have never played or watched a game that didn't have some new delightful or astounding event. I wish I could figure out some way to make it a simple game, but each mechanism I think to simplify defeats in some way the subtlety and depth of the design. I can only offer my 8-page rule summary (available for downloading on the 'geek) and point out that the game takes on a life of its own when your imagination is strong enough to read a whiny Escort Party, naive young Rogue, or belligerent Knight of the Order out of the charming capriciousness of the 2d6 rolls!"

Rating Pts: 23
Rank Pts: 20
Plays Pts: 24
TOTAL: 67
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24. Board Game: Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:1161]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 4, 6, 8 players

Total Plays: 1384

Team vs. Game

seaapple: "AWESOME!! My favorite game. RPG meets board game. You set the length of the game at the beginning so you play as long as you want. The expansions add more character, weapons, etc. so it won't grow stale playing the same characters over and over plus you can create your own. You can play with 2-16 players and if you have an odd number of players it doesn't hurt the game, you just adjust the number of characters per team. Mechanics are great and with a twist you want to roll low. Finally a game where my Mage Knight dice are good for something."

Rating Pts: 28
Rank Pts: 23
Plays Pts: 17
TOTAL: 68
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25. Board Game: The Fury of Dracula [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1010]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Games Workshop version

Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 241

Team vs. One

crackedlcd81: "Absolutely perfect. Well worth a fat investment on Ebay as this is a far cooler game than whatever 3 or 4 European family games you can buy for the same price. The Dracula theme and gothic atmosphere are perfectly evoked by the components, mechanics, and rules. Really it plays something like a more advanced Scotland Yard but with a great (and fun) combat system and lots more strategic options. I would say that this is easily one of the top 5 games I've ever played. I want it so bad I can taste it...blood!"

Rating Pts: 19
Rank Pts: 19
Plays Pts: 31
TOTAL: 69
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