PeakHope's comprehensive list of purely cooperative games
Kevin B. Smith
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Walnut Creek
California
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This list includes games where players cooperate to defeat "the game". No traitors. No GM/DM/referee. No teams competing against each other. Games where different players can have different levels of victory (e.g. "Master Slayer") are included. Games with unofficial cooperative variants are included. Expansions are not listed (except where they add a cooperative mode to an otherwise competitive game).

My goal is for this list to be comprehensive, so people seeking a game like this won't have to search multiple lists. The list is sorted by BGG rank, rather than alphabetically. However, the top-ranked games are not necessarily at their best when played as co-ops, so beware of that.

If you have suggestions for this list (additions, deletions, corrections), please send geekmail to me, PeakHope. I have now enabled comments, but not additions, so the list can remain accurate. Yes, I'm being a dictator here. No, that's not my normal style. I'm just trying to provide a structured alternative to the existing chaotic cooperative game geeklists. My goal is for this list to be a valuable resource, as opposed to a forum for discussion.

Note that I have stopped adding upcoming releases to the list. After getting burned a few times by games getting delayed (for years), I'm going to wait until they actually ship before adding them. As soon as I become aware of pre-release co-ops, I subscribe to them so I can know when they are out. But feel free to geekmail me if you see a good one. Worst case, I'll just let you know that I'm already aware of it.

Here are some of the games which were excluded from the list (Note that lists of excluded games are not comprehensive):

Games that have not yet been released. Originally I had upcoming games on the list, but after a few have been delayed by more than a year, I am no longer adding new games until after they have been released.

Traitor: Atentado no Cassino, Betrayal at House on the Hill, E.T.I.: Estimated Time to Invasion, Panic Station

Require DM/GM/Referee: Battlestations, Catacombs, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, HeroQuest, Mansions of Madness, Venture

One vs. Many: Agentenjagd, Akce X, Angel, The Anyville Horror,Armour Quest: Quæstro, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game (UK),Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Game (US), Chill: Black Morn Manor, Clue: The Great Museum Caper, Doom: The Boardgame, Dungeons & Dragons: The Fantasy Adventure Board Game, Escape from Colditz, Fortress America, Fury of Dracula, The Fury of Dracula, Garibaldi: La Trafila, Ghost Chase, Innsmouth Escape, Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, Middle-earth Quest, New York Chase, Scotland Yard, Skat, Space Crusade, The Thing, Trail of the Brotherhood

Teams: Absolut överens, Abstracts, Activity (family), Alias (family), ALMANiAC, Are You the Traitor?, Birth of America 1812, Die Kutschfahrt zur Teufelsburg, Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner, PostHumous Z, Saboteur, Shadow Hunters, Tannhäuser, Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition, The Werewolves of Miller's Hollow

Competitive: 2nd Guess, 2010 Swedish Parliament, 21 Freeze Out, After the Holocaust, Art of War, Artiste, Bang!, Colorado Midland, Crusoe, Dragonriders of Pern, Dungeon Raiders, Dungeon Run, Fair Play, Lorrein, Mutant Chronicles: Siege of the Citadel, Old Town, Orcz, Orient Express, Quest Cards, The Republic of Rome, Winds of Change

Games specifically aimed at children (the following being just some examples): Abenteuerinsel, Abracadabra, The Adventures of Harley, Adventures with Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Affenparty, Alphabet Soup, Amazing Illusions, Annie, Arthur Saves the Planet: One Step at a Time, Arthur's Get Together Game, Castle Knights, Monster Chase!, The Color Dwarfs, Piraten-Abenteuer, Die kleine Hexe, Dragon Keeper, Earthquake, Fairy Finds Game, The Fantastic Forest, First Orchard, Flowers are Forever, Herkules Ameise, Hop! Hop! Hop!, Auf Dem Lande, Max, Mimik Memo, Orchard, The Orchard: Card Game, Penguin Rescuer Game, Pick a Paint, Playmobil Dinoworld, Polar Bear A-B-C, Princess, Richard Scarry's Busytown: Eye found it! Game, Save the Fairy Tale Treasure!, The Secret Door, Tasapeli, Tchibum na Lagoa, Wildcraft!, Woolfy,

Activities that do not appear to actually be games. Earlier, I added some entries for "games", but when re-reading the description I determined that they aren't really games. So I am removing those, and will try not to add new ones.


Other geeklists of (more or less) cooperative games, which helped greatly in assembling this list:
- Cooperative Board Games - Best? New? Often Overlooked? (great list)
- The Best Co-operative Games
- Which Cooperative Games are Best?
- Let's Work Together >> Cooperative Games, Completely or Team-based
- Cooperative Games - what games are out there?
- Hippie meets gamer: any cooperative games that are actually fun?
- Cooperative Fantasy games that Don\'t require a DM/GM
- A Cooperative Golden Age? (please add)
- 2 player co-operative games
- A Crazy Couple's Cooperative Choices
- User Votes: Best Game of Mechanic Co-operative Play
- Cooperative Games - Rating for difficulty to learn and win
- Let's Work Together >> Cooperative Games, Completely or Team-based

EDIT 2012-09-22: Clarified some wording.
EDIT 2014-12-08: Added a 3+ game.
EDIT 2014-12-28: 3-player games are now included
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51. Board Game: Runebound (Second Edition) [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:491]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 240 minutes
Status: Available

Unofficial cooperative variants available on BGG:
Cooperative Multiplayer Variant for Runebound 2nd. Edition
Consensus Co-op Rules?
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52. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:492]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 officially, but can be played cooperatively
Length: 240 minutes
Status: Out of print
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53. Board Game: Lord of the Rings [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:503]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 5
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Available

One of the first modern cooperative games aimed at adults, this Knizia game first published in 2000 has a unique structure. Players are hobbits, attempting to advance the party along several tracks at once, across four scenario boards, on the way to destroy the ring at Mt. Doom.
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54. Board Game: A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:508]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 8
Length: 120 minutes
Status: Available

Official rules include competitive and cooperative scenarios
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55. Board Game: Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:509]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 8
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Players are high-adventure treasure hunters in the 1930's, battling pulp movie style villains around the world. Competitive or cooperative.
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56. Board Game: D-Day Dice [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:582]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2012

WWII themed dice game with simultaneous movement. Each player controls increasing numbers of units of soldiers, trying to achieve the goal as set by the specific scenario being played. An expansion adds competitive play as an option.

The earlier PnP edition is still available as a free trial.
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57. Board Game: Rune Age [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:593]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2011

A deckbuilding adventure game set in Terrinoth. The game includes 4 initial scenarios, of which one is purely cooperative. The other scenarios are competitive.
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58. Board Game: Shadowrun: Crossfire [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:616]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: Unknown
Status: Published 2014

Set in the Shadowrun universe (a cyberpunk/fantasy hybrid), this scenario-based deckbuilder casts players as shadowrunners, battling corporations, dragons, and everything in between. A campaign mode allows you to earn "karma" across sessions, and spend it on special ability stickers that you can attach to your character.

The base game includes 3 missions, of which one is designed for 1-4 runners, one is designed for 4 but has some scaling to accommodate 2 or 3, and one always requires 4.
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59. Board Game: Galaxy Defenders [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:623]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 5
Length: 120 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Players are defending earth against aliens in this miniatures-based sci-fi tactical battle game. The story-driven campaign consists of 12 missions, with some outcomes affecting later missions. An expansion offers a one-vs-many mode.
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60. Board Game: Castle Panic [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:620]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Available

Very light castle defense game, where players defend a common castle against invading orcs, goblins, etc.

The rules suggest that players score points for kills, resulting in just one player being named the "master slayer" if the group wins. However, that rule can easily be ignored, resulting in a purely cooperative experience.
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61. Board Game: Dungeon Fighter [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:630]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 45 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Dexterity game, where players become heroes in a dungeon quest. Hits on monsters are determined by tossing dice toward a target, in various ways.
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62. Board Game: Magic Realm [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:642]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 16
Length: 240 minutes
Status: Out of print

Can be played cooperatively, if players wish
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63. Board Game: Castaways [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:649]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 120 minutes
Status: Published 2013

Players are stranded on an island, and must survive and get rescued. Technically semi-cooperative (everyone loses, or one player wins), with mixed reports as to whether or not it works as a pure co-op:

Yes, says Stranded Again - Our Return To Castaways.
No, says Rahdo runs through Castaways (see his final thoughts).
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64. Board Game: Room 25 [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:714]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 25 minutes
Status: Published 2013

Players are trying to escape from a prison reminiscent of the "Cube" movies, with dangerous shifting rooms. The rules include 5 modes: Pure co-op, traitor, teams, pure competitive, and solo. In traitor and team mode, some the players are (or might be) guards.
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65. Board Game: Onirim [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:736]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 2
Length: 15 minutes
Status: Available

Card game with a thin theme of wandering through a dream world, avoiding nightmares while searching for the doors that will allow you to wake up.

Can be played solitaire, or as a 2-player cooperative.
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66. Board Game: Space Cadets [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:763]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 6 (2p only with an expansion or variant)
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Real-time game, where each player is assigned to one or more stations (mini-games) on board a starship. Some stations require dexterity, while others require memory, and others are puzzles. The Space Cadets: Resistance Is Mostly Futile expansion adds 2p support, and for the base game the designer suggested a 2p variant here: Re: Space Cadets for 2?.
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67. Board Game: Conquest of Planet Earth: The Space Alien Game [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:815]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 30 minutes
Status: Published 2011

Each player is an alien race, attempting to invade earth, along the lines of a campy B movie. Defeat human military forces and take control of cities to win.

Box includes rules for solo, competitive and purely cooperative play.
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68. Board Game: Agents of SMERSH [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:828]
 
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 4
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Had a successful Kickstarter campaign in early 2012

Players are UN spies in an alternate 1970's universe (think James Bond). The game has a heavy focus on the storytelling aspects, so to get the most out of it you will have to read and savor all the flavor text.
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69. Board Game: Samurai Spirit [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:836]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 7
Length: 30 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Each player is a samurai, and the group is defending a village against 3 rounds of attacks by a horde of invaders. On each turn, you can fight, defend, or help another player. If you fight (get wounded) enough, you gain superhuman "beast" abilities. From the designer of 7 Wonders, Ghost Stories, Hanabi, and others.

EDIT: Corrected/clarified gameplay description
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70. Board Game: Zombie 15' [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:873]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 to 4
Length: 15 minutes
Status: Published 2014

In this real-time 15 minute game, players are 15-year olds, fighting hordes of zombies. There are 15 scenarios in the box, with a variety of goals, and which can be played in a progressive campaign mode. Combat is deterministic, while searching for items is card-driven.

With 2 players, each must control 2 in-game characters.
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71. Board Game: Witness [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:880]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: Exactly 4
Length: 10 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Set in the world of "Blake and Mortimer" (a Belgian comic series), the 4 players try to solve a mystery, but are very limited in how they can communicate (it is similar to the old party game known as "Chinese Whispers" or "Telephone"). The group score is based on how well the individuals answer the questions. The game includes 64 cases.
 
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72. Board Game: Zombicide Season 3: Rue Morgue [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:938] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 12
Length: 60 minutes
Status: Published 2014

Players are survivors of a zombie plague, attempting to fight off hordes of zombies and complete the objective(s) for their scenario. The game includes miniatures and a modular board, along with 12 scenarios (not including the tutorials. Integrates with earlier games in the Zombicide family, but unlike earlier titles, this adds a competitive pvp mode.
 
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73. Board Game: Prophecy [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1006]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 2 (with cooperative variant)
Length: 180 minutes
Status: Between printings, apparently

Normal game is competitive with 2 to 5 players. There is an unofficial cooperative variant for 2 players which seems to have been well playtested: Deebs' 2 player co-op variant

The Prophecy: Dragon Realm expansion includes official solo and cooperative rules: co-op play?
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74. Board Game: Police Precinct [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1078]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published 2012

Players are police officers, trying to gather evidence to solve a murder, while responding to emergencies in the city, and also keeping a lid on street crime. Can be played solo, pure co-op or with a possible traitor.
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75. Board Game: Carnival Zombie [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1120]
Kevin B. Smith
United States
Walnut Creek
California
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designer
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Players: 1 to 6
Length: 90 minutes
Status: Published 2013

The players control a band of 6 characters who are trying to escape from Venice during a kind of zombie cataclysm which erupted in the city during the "Carnival" festival.

Each round represents a day, and has two phases: Daytime, where the group moves together across a map of the city, and nighttime, where the group hunkers down and must defend themselves against individual attackers. Each night is like a tactical mini tower-defense game.
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