The Best Cooperative Board Games For Families & Friends: Top Picks You Have To Try!

Are you looking for the best cooperative board games for families and friends? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Cooperative games are one of our favorite types - rather than competing against each other, everyone works together to achieve a common goal. And yet, the spirit of competition still exists to keep the energy high. You and your family - or a group of your closest friends - win together, or lose together. But no matter the outcome, these games are always a blast!

However, these days there are so many different games to choose from that it can get tricky planning an upcoming game night. If you and your group are seeking something new and exciting to spice things up, we have a treat for you. In this guide, we’ll unveil our picks for the top cooperative board games of the year. Your new favorite game is here in this comprehensive review of the best cooperative board games for families just waiting to be discovered!

We’ll give you our picks for the best cooperative board games for 2 players, the best cooperative board games for couples night in, and much, much more. First things first, though - we see all sorts of misconceptions about what makes a cooperative board game. So before we get into our list of the top cooperative board games, we want to explain what separates these types of games from other styles.

What Are Cooperative Board Games & Why Are They So Awesome?

best co-op board games for family and friends

What exactly are cooperative - or co-op - board games? As we briefly mentioned at the start of this article, these are types of board games where you’re not competing against the players sitting at the table with you. Rather, they’re your teammates - and you all work together to achieve a common goal. Instead of competing against players, you typically compete against time. Another way to look at these types of games is that you’re playing against the game itself.

If you and your comrades fail to accomplish the object before time is up, you lose the game. 

Simple enough, right? Now, what makes types of board games so special? Once you’ve played a few of these board games yourself with the right group of people, you’ll understand why we love them so much. There are so many different types of board games out there. But, if we had to choose just one type of board game to play with friends and family, it would be cooperative board games. 

There is something about the teamwork and the energy co-op games create that other types can’t replicate. Don’t get us wrong - we will always respect the classics. There is a time and place for old-school board games like Monopoly or tabletop RPG games like Dungeons and Dragons. And, we’ll always have a few party board games in our stash as well. But today, we’re excited to unveil our selections for the top cooperative board games. Let’s move on to our criteria for selecting these games.

Our Criteria For Choosing The Best New Cooperative Board Games

We know you’re eager to get into our list of the best cooperative board games for families and friends. But let’s pump the brakes a bit. Before we unveil our list of the best co-op board games, we want to explain our criteria for choosing these games. In other words, what separates the top cooperative board games from the rest? Simple - the game should encourage teamwork. Moreover, the game should require teamwork for a successful outcome to occur. If you and your fellow players are unable to come together as a team and work like a well-oiled machine, you will fail. And that is the beauty of these games, in our opinion. 

Now, the best new cooperative board games these days range greatly in terms of difficulty. And the difficulty different games offer is important to note as you’re searching for your next game night selection. Are you looking to put you and your crew to the test and see what you’re all made of? Stick with one of the more difficult options we recommend below. Are you looking to enjoy a mellow night - with a bit of gaming on the side? You’ll want to choose an easier game.  

What Are The Best Cooperative Board Games For Families & Friends?

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for - we’re going to share our picks for the best cooperative board games for families and friends in 2022. In this section, you’ll find your new favorite co-op board game - and your friends and family will always remember their first time playing it! We are going to start things off with a few of the best cooperative board games for couples to play together.

Best Cooperative Board Games For Couples

Playing board games with other couples makes for a fun night with your significant other - but, it’s also nice because you get to hang out with other friends at the same time! And what better way to pass the time and enjoy each other's company than with the best cooperative board games for couples? Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Pandemic - this particular game is actually one of the best cooperative board games period. Full stop. However, it’s especially fun to play with couples. Why? Well, what better way to get closer with your partner than by working together to prevent infectious diseases from destroying the world?! There are a few versions of Pandemic out there, and you can’t go wrong with the classic - however, many people have claimed that the best new cooperative board game is actually Pandemic Iberia - which takes you back to 1848 as the setting. Check it out!
  • Gloomhaven - looking for something a bit less triggering than a game called “pandemic” as we’re still fighting to regain a sense of normalcy in 2022? We feel you. Consider Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion. This is another great cooperative board game for couples particularly if you’re looking for a game that’s a bit slower-paced and more digestible. We love that this game presents 25 different scenarios that can be taken along the campaign - you can play this game over and over, enjoying a new experience each time. You’ll keep coming back to Gloomhaven - and, there are different versions to try out once you’ve exhausted yourself of this classic!
  • Best Cooperative Strategy Board Games

    If you’re like us, one of your favorite parts of playing co-op board games is the strategy element behind it. In building this resource we found that so many people were seeking the best cooperative strategy board games. And while all co-op board games are designed around strategizing to some degree, there are a few games that will really put your critical thinking and strategy skills to the test:

    • Horrified - This game may look like it was built specifically for a fun Halloween night inside. But make no mistake - you’ll find yourself coming back to replay Horrified time after time! Classic monsters including the likes of Dracula, the Mummy, and more will show their ugly faces in this awesome strategy co-op game. You and your crew’s goal is to stop the monsters from harming the locals - but as you’ll discover in that first play, there isn’t always a “right answer”. You’ll have to weigh your choices as to who to save and to let fend for themselves. 
    • Arkham Horror - Another consideration for the best cooperative strategy board game is Arkham Horror. And while the name of this game suggests it’s similar to Horrified, the similarities start and end with the category these games fall under - horror. In this cooperative game, you’ll be faced with an open portal letting aliens into our world. Your goal? Close the portal before extraterrestrial beings enter our realm. Along the way, you’ll be forced to get creative and strategize with your teammates. But unlike many other co-op board games, you can’t talk strategy in the here and now. There are priority numbers you and your players will use to communicate with each other. This adds a level of difficulty and pressure to the game that we absolutely love.

    Best Cooperative Board Games For 2 Players

    Co-op board games are a ton of fun to play with groups of players. In fact, the more players you add to these types of games the more difficult they typically become. Nevertheless, there will come a time when you and a friend, spouse, or family member really want to play a co-op board game between just the two of you. And in these instances, you’ll want to be prepared with the best cooperative board games for 2 players. Here are some of our picks for the best two player cooperative board games:

  • The Captain is Dead - While up to 7 players can work together on this awesome co-op strategy game, this is one of the best two player cooperative board games currently out there. It’s a tower defense type of game with serious depth to it. In the franchise’s third installment, players must collect alien artifacts without the bug-eyed aliens catching them in the act. As you venture deeper and deeper into enemy territory, the risk of being captured rises. How far will you push your luck?
  • Sherlock Holmes - if we had to just recommend one choice as the best two player cooperative board game, it would be Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. Feeling bored and lonely? This is a game you can entertain yourself with, too, as it’s rated for 1-8 players. This race against time will put your skills to the test using engaging mysteries and immersive props. Your goal is to crack the case before time is up - more specifically before Detective Sherlock Holmes himself figures it out. While many readers who are only interested in the best new cooperative board games will scoff at this 40-year-old game, we said it before - you have to respect the classics!
  • Best Cooperative Board Games For Kids

    Looking for the best cooperative board games for kids? Maybe you want to get the whole family in on the action so nobody is left out. Or, perhaps you want to entertain your children while the adults play one of the other games we’ve unveiled! After all, many of the games we’ve recommended thus far can be a bit too difficult for children. That’s why we’re going to share two of our favorite picks with you down below:

    • Outfoxed (ages 5+) - Our pick for the best cooperative board game for kids is Outfoxed. Why? It’s a simple introduction to co-op games that your kids will actually enjoy playing! They’ll get to learn the importance of teamwork and communication at a young age - something that will pay off throughout their lives. Who said they couldn’t learn life lessons while having fun? In this game, players are responsible for narrowing down suspects to identify the guilty fox - before it’s too late. Because games are short - sometimes, lasting just 20 minutes - you won’t have to worry about the children getting bored and losing interest. They’ll be engaged and ready to run it back once the first game is over!
    • Disney Eye Found It! (ages 4+) - if you’ve been struggling to get your kids into board games, it could be that you need to find something they’re already interested in or can relate to. And what better way than through Disney?! Disney Eye Found It features their favorite characters in a fun race against the clock. The objective? Getting Cinderella home before midnight - when the clock strikes, the game is over! Not only will this game help your kiddos hone their critical thinking and motor skill. But, it can also help increase focus, memory retention, and object identification skills. With super short 15-minute games and the option for solo playing, this is a must-have in any parent’s arsenal.

    How To Make The Top Cooperative Board Games Even Better: Tips For Hosting

    We’ve covered the best cooperative strategy board games of the year - featuring some options for families, couples, solo players or two players, and even kids.

    best new cooperative board games in 2022

    At this point, it’s time for you to take a deeper look into the recommendations made above and figure out which one you want to start with. While certain instances will call for certain games, you can’t go wrong with any of these! With that said, we’re going to teach you how to make the top cooperative board games even better. We recently wrote a complete guide on hosting board game night for your friends and family. This is an evening everyone looks forward to, and you want it to go off without a hitch. Read the full article to set yourself up for success - or, skim the important points down below:

    • Choose your game and players wisely (consider personalities and player count when choosing a game).
    • Prepare your playing space & set the ambiance (get your board gaming table cleaned up and ready to go!)
    • Don’t forget food and drinks (important for keeping the energy up and showing what a great host you are)
    • Have fun, but remember that you’re the host (which means you’re the moderator! Keep things moving, and step in to reiterate rules/guidelines when necessary)

    Final Thoughts On The Top Cooperative Board Games Of The Year

    There is no feeling like accomplishing the objective and beating the game with your closest friends and family members - or seeing the look of triumph and jubilation on your kids’ faces as they win their first round. And with the top cooperative board games on this list, your new favorite game is here waiting for you! We hope you find your new favorite game among our list of the best new cooperative board games. Be sure to try them all and keep things fresh!