The 50+ best cooperative board games to play with kids. These co-op games for the whole family are fun to play with kids, adults, friends, and families. Family game night will be awesome because you win or lose as a team.
We have been playing games for my kids' entire lives. We own over 250 games, and we play one or more almost every day. We're game people.
Even though we've been playing games since they could hold cards and dice, my kids are not very good sports. If they aren't winning, they don't want to play. Obviously, this makes playing a lot of games a challenge.
I don't remember when I discovered cooperative games, but they have completely made over our game play. We can play a cooperative game, and we all enjoy the whole experience from start to finish. No one pouts because she's losing or storms off because she can see the writing on the wall. Everyone plays together, and even if we lose, we lose together.
Cooperative games normally play just like normal games. You take turns. On each turn, there are actions you have to take in a certain order. To win the game, you have to reach some milestone.
But the thing that's different about cooperative games is that everyone is working together. There's no sabotaging each other. There's no competition. Everyone shows everyone else their cards and playing pieces, and you can help others with their strategy and all work together. It's a unique way of playing games and makes for a really fun, bonding experience.
I know there are valuable lessons in winning and losing, and kids need to learn to win and lose graciously. I'm totally on board with that.
However, sometimes, you want to play a game without dealing with hurt feelings or pouty kids. In those times, a cooperative game is just what the doctor ordered.
I have collected my favorite cooperative games below for your enjoyment. They're all great; you can't go wrong with any of them. Try one or two and let me know how you like them.
In Disney Eye Found It, you search for hidden items as you travel through 12 Disney realms on the 6-foot game board. Help your team reach Aurora’s castle, before evil Queen Maleficent casts her sleepy spell. It's a cooperative game, so no winners or losers. There's a Marvel Eye Found It too, if Disney isn't your thing. Ages 4 and up.
My First Castle Panic – The original Castle Panic is listed below as it is for ages 8 and up, but this beginner version, intended for kids 4-8, is also great. The premise of the game is the same; you defend your castle against misbehaving monsters. It teaches strategy and planning ahead, and the pieces are big and sturdy to stand up to lots of play by little hands.
Princess Heroes - I love this game because the princesses are the heroes! It's a super cute game with big, sturdy pieces and no reading required. The object of the game is to get all the princesses through the enchanted forest and into the castle before the last leaf falls. Ages 4 and up.
Busy Busy Bakeshop - This cute game requires pattern and color recognition in order to save a batch of donuts from a hungry mouse. My younger daughter has a competitive cupcake game that reminds me a lot of this one, and we have been playing it for YEARS. She still loves it at twelve. Ages 4 and up.
Gnomes at Night - This game is super cool. You have to move your gnome through a maze, but the other player is moving their piece through a different maze at the same time - and your mazes are connected back to back, so you can't see theirs and they can't see yours! So you have to work together to find all the treasures and get them back to the queen. The box says this is for ages 6 and up, but I think younger kids could play, maybe like 4 and up.
Mermaid Island - As far as I know, all the games by Peaceable Kingdom are cooperative games. I have featured a bunch of theirs on this list because they're just so good. This is a simple one that only takes about 15 minutes to play. Players share 3 mermaid tokens, and the object is to rescue the mermaids before the sea witch captures them. Ages 5 and up.
Fastrek - You race against the clock to collect all the essential ingredients for your campout in this fun and easy game. You'll need a solid strategy to win. Ages 5 and up.
Stone Soup - If your kids like Memory, they're going to love this cooperative version where players have to find and match all the stone soup ingredients before the fire burns out. Ages 5 and up but probably good for younger too.
Cauldron Quest - In this game, aspiring wizards team up to save the kingdom from an evil spell. This is one of my favorite little kid games because there are no individual player markers (everybody plays all the pieces); it's a quick game to play; and adults enjoy it as much as kids. Ages 6 and up.
Stories of Three Coins - I wish this game had been around when my oldest was little because she would have loved it. I still can play it with my youngest, and we do enjoy it. Basically, you roll dice and create stories with as much detail as possible, scaffolded by the prompts in the game. Every time you play, your story is different. Ages 6 and up but can be enjoyed by much older as well as younger.
Space Escape - This game is about saving mole rats in space from snakes in space. Yes, it is as ridiculous as it sounds. It's also really fun. It's simple enough for little kids and challenging enough for adults. You will not win most of the time, but often enough to keep the hope alive. The box says ages 7 and up, but younger kids can play with no trouble.
Andor: The Family Fantasy - This game is great. It's a little like an introduction to Dungeons & Dragons, which my older daughter LOVES. It takes a bit to get everything set up, but once you understand the process, the game is easy to play and really fun and interesting. It's not that hard to win if you plan ahead and have a good strategy. Ages 7 and up.
Magic 8 Ball Magical Encounters - This is a cute little game where the players work together to save the kingdom from a dragon. The best part about it is that the game includes a working Magic 8 Ball and you actually use it in game play! Ages 7 and up.
Mice & Mystics - This game was created by a dad whose child had a reading disability and needed motivation to keep reading. The game follows a story about people turned into mice who have to save the kingdom. Each mouse has special powers and contributes to the overall mission. It's simple enough for kids, even younger than the intended age, but complex enough that their adults will enjoy the game as well. There are a couple of expansions if you like the original game. Ages 7 and up.
Cross Clues - This game is simple to learn and quick to play. You set up a grid and work as a team to fill it in with words using clues from cards. It's small and portable which makes it nice to take on vacation or to a friend's house. This one is a winner. Ages 7 and up.
Illiterati - A cooperative word game where you play a LIBRARIAN! This game was made for me. Less so for my kids, but they'll humor me and play along sometimes. It's a little like Scrabble because you use letter tiles to make words, but it's cooperative, so everyone is working together and you can play on all the different strengths of the group. This is one of my favorites on the whole list, and I often play it solo. (But then, I play Boggle solo too, so...) Ages 7 and up.
Minecraft Heroes of the Village - My Minecraft lover went crazy for this game. It was made by the makers of the video game and is exactly what you would expect. You have to build and explore the world, collect materials, and protect your village from mobs. Ages 7 and up.
Pandemic is a cooperative game where the players work together to save humanity by finding the cures to eradicate four infectious diseases that plague different regions of the world. It's also great for geography as you play in cities all over the world. There are literally dozens of spin-offs and expansions of Pandemic. I only have the original, so I can't really speak to any of the others. Ages 8 and up.
Castle Panic - In this cooperative game, the players work together to defend the castle against a horde of monsters. It is wildly different every time you play because the monster cards you draw change the play. It's a relatively long playing game, taking somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half to finish. If you already know that you like cooperative games, you might want to spring for the Castle Panic Big Box which includes all the expansion boxes in one package. It's way cheaper than buying them piecemeal. Ages 8 and up.
Hanabi - I think this is the least expensive game on the list, typically under $10. It's easy to learn, great for both kids and adults, and uses simple cards to play. Each player gets a hand of 5 cards, but they have to hold them backwards so that everyone can see them except the owner. Then you give each other clues and try to get all the players to play their cards in the correct order. It's fun. Ages 8 and up.
5 Minute Dungeon - This is called 5 Minute Dungeon because you have exactly 5 minutes to beat the dungeon (which is full of monsters). A round is 5 dungeons, so just under a half hour. The gameplay uses cards. Ages 8 and up.
The Mind - How to explain this one... Basically, everyone has to play all of their cards in ascending numerical order without speaking. It isn't my favorite, but my teen played it at a church youth group and asked me to buy it. I never say no to games, and so that's why we have it. The few times we've played it, we've not wanted to stop because every time you think, "just one more shot!" and then you play again. We're pretty terrible at it. One of the things I dislike about The Mind is that you always know who messed up. So, if the same person plays the wrong card over and over (which is what always happens in my family), it's like, "Well, there she goes again. She can never get it right." And that kind of sucks and defeats the purpose of a cooperative game. But if you have a lot of people with evenly matched intelligence/savvy/experience, it can be fun. Ages 8 and up.
Just One - In this party game, one person chooses a card with a mystery word on it. Then all the other players write a clue on their game boards. All duplicate clues are tossed out and then the player uses the remaining clues to try to guess the mystery word. Everyone will need to be able to read and write, but this is a really fun game for young and old to play together. Ages 8 and up.
Mists over Carcassone - Carcassone is one of my favorite games, and this cooperative version does not disappoint. In the original, you take turns building the game board using landscape tiles, each containing fields, castles, rivers, houses, and more. This version adds ghosts, and if you get too many ghosts, you lose the game. Ages 8 and up.
The Game - This game is a little like The Mind (above) but better in my opinion. You have to play all of your number cards in the right order without showing the other players what numbers you have in your hand. If everyone plays all their cards, you win. Ages 8 and up.
Miller Zoo - In this game, the players run a zoo. (Bet you didn't see that coming!) The Miller Zoo is a real place in Quebec, Canada, and the game mirrors the real life place. You play as the real staff members and take care of the real animals that call the zoo home. Each time you play and win, you open up a new envelope that adds animals and resources to the game. There are 6 envelopes altogether, and the game is still playable and fun even after all the envelopes have been opened. Ages 8 and up.
Disney Sidekicks - This game is very complex with a lot of rules and a lot of little pieces, but hear me out. It's a fun game once you get going with it, and any Disney fan is going to love the fact that you're playing the Villians and rescuing the Heroes. If you decide to get this one, plan on watching some YouTube videos and looking up the corrected rules online. It's possible to figure it out, but you'll have to put some effort into it. I promise that you'll be glad you did once you've got it all figured out. Ages 8 and up.
Forbidden Island - This is a cooperative card game where players work together to find treasure on an island before the island falls into the ocean. You aren't competing with your team members but rather helping each other to succeed. More players mean that the game is more difficult, but there are more resources to use. I like to play this one with my boyfriend, but the kids love it too. Ages 10 and up.
Paleo - I love the pieces of this game. It's essentially a quest to complete your cave paintings, but you have a bunch of humans to feed and care for in order to achieve that goal. This is one of the most expensive games on the list, but I think it's worth it. Ages 10 and up.
The Grizzled - This is a fairly simple card game about a group of French soldiers in the trenches during World War II. (Hence the age suggestion, the theme is pretty mature.) Depending on the cards you're dealt, it could be an easy win or a near to impossible mission. The graphics are beautifully done, and I've never talked to anyone who didn't enjoy this one. Ages 10 and up.
The Legends of Andor - Like the kids' version of Andor, this game is a little like Dungeons & Dragons. The gameplay follows a "Legend" through several days, and on each turn, the players ("heroes") can either move or fight. The game takes a solid 20 minutes to set up, but it's easy to understand. There are 5 storylines in the original box, and then there are several expansions available. Ages 10 and up.
The Liberation of Reitburg - This game takes place in Andor (above) but is a standalone game. This one is much easier to set up and play than The Legends of Andor, and it is an entirely different premise. In this one, the castle is overrun by monsters, and you have to team up with the other players to defeat them and save the kingdom. Ages 10 and up.
Horrified: Universal Monsters - This game is easy to understand and play can be adjusted to be easier or more difficult based on how you set it up at the beginning. Basically, you have to save the town from a bunch of movie monsters, and each one has certain strengths and powers that make it hard to defeat. There's also an American Monsters and a Greek Monsters game. Ages 10 and up.
Mysterium - This game is about a thirty-year-old murder. One player is the murder victim, now a ghost, and the other players are psychic sleuths who seek to solve the crime. The play is a little complicated (as are most of the games on this list above age 8 or so), but it is easy to learn and winnable most of the time. The pieces are beautifully illustrated which makes this fun game even better. Also, this game is very popular and thus there are tons of expansions available. Ages 10 and up.
The Crew: Mission Deep Sea - In this game, cards are dealt to players facedown, and then the players have to figure out how to play their cards - with no talking. It's a better game with 3 or 4 players than with just 2, FYI. Mission Deep Sea is version two of this game. The original The Crew game is still available, but everything I've read says that the Deep Sea version is an improvement on the original space one. Ages 10 and up.
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure to Mount Doom - In this game, you have to help Frodo save Middle Earth. Like a lot of the games on this list, Adventure to Mount Doom can be played as a single player or multiplayer game. The graphics and game pieces are really nice in this one. Ages 10 and up.
The Adventures of Robin Hood - This game is a story. As you read the story, you play different challenges and quests in the game. There are four separate installments, so there is a good bit of play involved from beginning to end, but once you've gone through the whole story, you may not want to play again for awhile (til you forget, which you inevitably will). On the other hand, if you have a kid like my autistic teen who loves to repeat the same things over and over and over again, you may end up playing the same story more than once and having a good time doing it. Ages 10 and up.
Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure Begins - This game is designed to be an introduction to the world of Dungeons & Dragons. You take turns being the Dungeon Master, and no special skills or background is required. There are lots of how to videos on YouTube to explain the mechanics of play and how to get everything set up. Ages 10 and up.
Alien: The Fate of Rostromo - This board game is based on the movie, Alien, where you're under attack by an evil alien and have to survive. The play is a little complicated, but the game maker put together a really comprehensive how to play video on YouTube. This is a good one to play solo, but it's also lots of fun for a group. Ages 10 and up.
Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle - This is another cooperative card game. I got it when we started reading the books together as a family. Basically, you have to work together, as one or more of the four main characters of the series, to defeat a villain from one of the books. There are 7 individual games, one for each book, and they get progressively harder as you play. I actually bought this game, opened it, and then lost half of the pieces before ever playing, so I bought it again. The trouble is that it takes a full table space to play, and our table is always covered with assorted detritus and not available for playing. But we have played it twice, and we loved it both times. Ages 11 and up.
Paint the Roses - I picked this game up at a game store in the Mall of America over the summer. As I said above, we love cooperative games, and I thought this one looked interesting and unique. You have to deduce the cards that the other players hold based on how they play certain tiles and then you use those cards to solve a puzzle to win the game. Ages 11 and up.
Ravine - This is a card game with a relatively short play time (unusual for the games on this list): 15 to 30 minutes. The premise of the game is that you have survived a plane crash and now have to work together to survive on an island. You have to gather food, start a fire, and build shelters without dying or going crazy. There's a video on the Amazon page that will teach you how to play. Ages 12 and up.
The Captain is Dead - This game is great for a crowd because up to seven people can all play together. It's got a great replayability factor as well because there are eighteen different characters to choose from, so it can be a very different game each time you play. The premise is that the players are the crew of a damaged spaceship and (surprise!), the captain is dead and the crew is under attack by aliens. If you survive, you win. Ages 12 and up.
Spaceteam - This is a 5-minute game (there's a timer!). It's a party game, and everyone has to work together to gather the cards required to build a spaceship. We don't often have enough people to play it, but it seems like it would be pretty fun. The cards all have really wacky and hard to pronounce names (on purpose). Ages 12 and up.
Betrayal at The House on the Hill - In this super spooky game, players build a haunted house and then try to escape it alive. There are 50 (50!) different storylines which make this game almost infinitely replayable. You'll need at least 3 players to play, but I've heard that people have done it with 2 people each playing 2 characters a piece. Ages 12 and up.
Diplomacy - This is a new version of a classic game. It's not for the casual gamer as it is best with 5-7 players and takes six hours to play. (SIX HOURS!) I included it on the list because it's a classic, and if you're a really serious game player, you probably want to give it a go. But I wouldn't recommend this one for any but the most devoted gaming groups. Think upper high school and college-aged kids, childless adults, and empty nesters. Ages 12 and up.
7th Continent - This game was huge on Kickstarter a year or so ago. It's a survival game where the year is 1907, and you are exploring the newly discovered 7th continent. It's got a bit of a Choose Your Own Adventure feel to it as you make choices and then live with the consequences. If you survive, you win. This one is great as a single player game but also fun for up to four players. Ages 14 and up.
Arkham Horror - This is another story-based game. Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, this game requires players to beat monsters and save the town. There are a bunch of different characters to play, each with different powers, so it's easy to replay and have a whole different game. This is on the longer side, about 2 hours for 2 players and increasing to 4 hours for 4-5 players. There are a whole bunch of expansions for this one. Ages 14 and up.