Sometimes it’s nice to put your competitive nature aside and play a co-operative board game for a change of pace. Don’t get the wrong idea, these games can still be plenty challenging, but you’re competing against the game instead of against your friends.
PSA: This article has been getting a lot more attention over the past few days, due to the increase in awareness that North America is finally showing for the Coronavirus global pandemic. Regardless of how serious world leaders are taking this or not, we strongly encourage you to take your own precautions. You can always reschedule a game night if one of your members is showing any symptoms of illness. If you’re in the demographic that isn’t affected very seriously, it’s still possible for you to spread the virus – even if you aren’t showing any symptoms. Be smart. If you need something to do without a group of people, check out our recommendations of board games for single players. And finally, a quick message for people who are still feeling cavalier about this whole ordeal: You may not have to worry much about Coronavirus, but what if you break your leg? What if you catch pneumonia? What if your appendix burts, and the medical system is too overwhelmed to help you? We’re all in this together, and young healthy people can still get hit by a car, or face any number of other medical emergencies. So, if you’ve been in the camp of “it doesn’t matter to me, I’m safe”, you’re wrong. It can impact you in countless other ways, so be smart. Avoid gatherings. Stop traveling. Take this seriously. Ok, we now return to our regularly scheduled game recommendations…
Z-Man Games put the spotlight on this genre in 2008 when they published Pandemic, a co-operative roleplaying game designed by Matt Leacock. If you like Pandemic and you’ve made your way through it’s expansions, you may be ready for a new co-op experience.
Here are some alternatives to Pandemic that are still in the same ballpark so you’ll love the similarities. They also offer unique mechanics and strategic challenges, so call up your crew and work together to solve these excellent co-op games like Pandemic:
5. Arkham Horror
- Players: 1-8
- Genre: Lovecraftian
- Time: 120-360 Minutes
- Where to buy Arkham Horror: Amazon
If you’re looking for something much more complex than Pandemic, Arkham Horror is a great alternative to play.
In this game, each player controls an investigator as they try to stop a mythical beast before it’s too late.
Based on the macabre fiction of H.P. Lovecraft, this game will have you feeling like death is waiting behind every corner. Maybe it is?
4. Shadows Over Camelot
- Players: 3-7
- Genre: Medieval
- Time: 60-80 Minutes
- Where to buy Shadows Over Camelot: Amazon
Shadows Over Camelot is a classic co-op board game set in Medieval times. Each player represents one of the knights of the round table, and the game is centered around working together with the other knights in order to complete quests before the time runs out.
But be warned: one of the trusted knights miiiight be a traitor, who is deliberately trying to stall the game and slow down the party’s progress. Find out who is working towards the same goal as the rest of the team, and who is trying to slow you down, and find out whether you and your buddies can
3. Betrayal at House on the Hill
- Players: 3-6
- Genre: Horror
- Time: 60 Minutes
- Where to buy Betrayal At House On The Hill: Amazon
This game is for all of the classic horror fans out there. Betrayal at House on the Hill takes place in a haunted house (because where else would it take place?) where each player controls one person who is walking around the house, looking for artifacts.
The brilliance of this game is that you don’t know how it’s going to play out until you’ve already reached the second stage.
Eventually, the “Haunt” is revealed and a scenario is chosen out of the book. These vary wildly from dragons to exploding necklaces and everything in between. This allows for replayability, and different experiences depending on who you’re playing with, and how much they’re willing to get into the mood.
- Players: 1-4
- Genre: Fantasy
- Time: 60-120 Minutes
- Where to buy Gloomhaven: Amazon
Gloomhaven is the kind of game that you’ll find yourself wanting to play again and again, so don’t even worry about getting your money’s worth – this isn’t a game that’ll just sit there collecting dust on your shelf.
This is a fantasy board game that plays out like a very elaborate “choose your adventure” story, involving multiple players and paths to explore.
In true RPG fashion, you’ll need to upgrade your equipment, gain experience, and complete side missions.
When the time comes, you’ll all band together to take on the biggest challenge of all…
1. Forbidden Island
- Players: 2-4
- Genre: Adventure
- Time: 30 Minutes
- Where to buy Forbidden Island: Amazon
|Forbidden Island – The Cooperative Strategy Survival Island Board Game||$19.94||Buy on Amazon|
Forbidden Island is a game where players race against time to collect treasures before the island sinks. Each player gets a different adventurer with a unique skill to help them accomplish this task. Much like pandemic, this game is really easy to understand for new players and gives a great sense of co-operation.
Other games like Pandemic?
Do you have any other suggestions of games that somebody would enjoy if they like Pandemic? We would love to feature some smaller independent games that deserve the spotlight, but we need help finding them!