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Cooperation is the name of the game

Cooperation is the name of the game

Life is better shared. We’ve all heard this wise saying before, but are there some concrete ways we can make this maxim a reality? Nothing sums up this heart-felt sentiment more than when we make the effort to socialise with friends. I don’t mean just sitting around passively talking about mundane stuff like work , or aimlessly passing time on Facebook, but truly connecting through actively sharing experiences that give us a buzz and leave us on a high.

Schedule regular gaming nights

It sounds too easy to be true, but scheduling a regular gaming get together on a weekly basis with like minded friends brings rich rewards, and not just in monopoly money. Many board games can be the perfect backdrop for entertaining at home, and the more the merrier: four people or more joining in the action raises the fun level through the roof.

Which games are better shared?

I’ve found that cooperative style strategy games are best for bonding with your friends. Avoid hard-core competitive dog-eat-dog style games that can test the strongest friendships. Choose games that can be played within around 90-120 minutes, so you can make a night of it and still have plenty of time for the other stuff – like beer, pizza and gossip!

Caring and sharing games

Some great examples of caring and sharing games are the eurogames Agricola and The Settlers of Catan. Agricola is a turn based game ideally suited to couples, even though it can also be played solo. Role playing a farmer and spouse partnership can really hone friends’ cooperative skills.

The Settlers of Catan also depends on players being supportive of each other rather than combative.  As a recent immigrant to the island of Catan, you work cooperatively with other players through trade. You can expand your island colony by utilising surrounding resources wisely – but only with a little help from your friends of course.


  1. With so many games specifically aimed at cooperative play, i really don’t understand why Agricola would even be mentioned above. Now while i suppose technically you could make up house rules to play the solo game cooperatively, why not play some of the fantastic games out there that are made to be played cooperatively straight out of the box?

    Battlestar Galactica, Pandemic, Arkham Horror, Ghost Stories, Shadows over Camelot and my personal favorite at the moment Space Alert, are all fine examples of games that would offer a far more rich cooperative gaming experience. And all are available from games paradise 😉

  2. Rick Underwood

    March 1, 2010 at 12:47 AM

    I’d also ask you to consider A Touch of Evil as a good fun co-op board game. Think of the game Clue. Make the goal to track down and kill the murderer, instead of just finding out who it is. Change the board to reflect a 19th century type village and its surrounds. Make the killer a supernatural creature that changes every time you play. Give the option for co-op play or competitive play and ramp up the villain’s abilities if you choose co-op play. Give secrets to non-player characters in the game, some of which allow that NPC to assist the villain in the final encounter but give the players the ability to discover those secrets, if they so choose. Voila! A Touch of Evil! Yeah actually it’s nothing like Clue, but you get the idea! 😉

  3. I forgot to add Last Night on Earth!

  4. Rick Underwood

    March 1, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    My take on Last Night on Earth, which my gaming group love, is that it’s a team game, one team of players against the other, rather than a co-op game.

  5. Do the players in the same team cooperate? Does each team cooperate with the other?

  6. I also completely fail to see SoC or Agricola as co-op games.
    They are all games where one person wins over the rest. Trading/bargaining/interaction constructs are just part of those games that ultimately aim to benefit one player more than the other.

    If you really consider those co-op then you should perhaps mention Bohanza, which has a lot more discussion and ultimately (usually) favors the player who trades the most, and thus encourages all players to trade continually and fairly with all other players.

    I very much enjoy entire-group wins or looses games like Pandemic and Space Alert.

    I consider team games like Saboteur and Bang! as co-op games; Team based co-op where ultimately a group of players wins or loses together. Both long time favorites for me.

    Side note: Our group games every lunch time and play many single-winner games with no impact upon friendships.

  7. I believe the idea of the article is to compare mainstream games to strategy games, ie Settlers of Catan Vs Scrabble.
    I would suggest everyone can agree that there are purely “co-operative” games out there – Pandemic, Battlestar etc
    I would argue that there may be an audience reading these articles who have never played “co-operative” games, or even strategy games before, and although Agricola may be quite a hard one to get into, most would agree both this and Settlers of Catan are consistently top rated, and top sellers across all review sites, and retail stores.
    That being said – My favourite co-op is game is Pandemic by FAR!

  8. nice post. thanks.

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