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You May Also Like: Pandemic

You May Also Like: Pandemic

Pandemic shines as a cooperative game, it revolutionized that subcategory of board gaming, giving rise to countless co-op games that we've all come to love. Just not as much as the original gangster of cooperative board games, Pandemic (and all of its iterations and expansions). Not only did Pandemic revolutionize cooperative gaming, you could also argue that it did the same for Legacy games with their Pandemic Legacy series, but that's a topic for another post.

For this list of games, we stuck with games that really lean into that cooperative mechanic but still feel different enough to stand on their own as solid board games without borrowing too much from what makes Pandemic so great.

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island Board Game Setup

Number of Players 2-4
Playtime 30 Min
Suggested Ages 10+
Designer(s) Matt Leacock
Publisher Gamewright

Are you brave enough to discover Forbidden Island? Join a team of fearless adventurers on a quest to secure four sacred treasures from the ruins of this dangerous paradise, it is do or die! Your team needs to work together, making some pulse-pounding maneuvers, as the island sinks under each step you take! Race to secure the treasures and escape before you sink into the watery abyss!

Forbidden Island is an cooperative board game, that's visually beautiful to play. The 'island', is created by arranging the multiple beautifully screen-printed tiles before play starts. Players then take turn moving their pieces around the island. As the game continues, island tiles sink, more and more, making them unavailable, and the pace quickens. Players use strategies to prevent the island from sinking, while attempting to gather items and treasures. The water level rises, making it more difficult, forcing players to make sacrifices.

What makes this game really stand out among co-op and competitive games, is the amount of detail that has been put into the physical components of the game. The plastic treasure pieces and wooden pawns are well made and they fit perfect into the box, which is an organized and sturdy tin of perfect shelf storage size. The cards are well printed, durable, and simple to understand. The tiles representing the island are the best part of the game: screen-printed with vibrant colors, and a unique and pleasing image on each piece.

With different levels of difficulty, unique characters to select (each with a special ability of their own), several optional island formats and game variations, Forbidden Island has big replay value. Play with only two players or up to four (though it can accommodate five). More players creates an even faster and more difficult game, though the extra help can make a big difference. This is a entertaining game, tricky for players of almost any age. Surprisingly, sold for under twenty dollars, Forbidden Island is a rare game of quality at an affordable price.

For players who enjoy Forbidden Island, check out the follow-up project titled Forbidden Desert.

Buy Forbidden Island online now!


Saboteur Card Game Gameplay

Number of Players 3-10
Playtime 30 Min
Suggested Ages 8+
Designer(s) Fréderic Moyersoen
Publisher Amigo

In Saboteur, players act as dwarves. They are in a mine, as miners, hunting for gold. A pick axe swings down and shatters the mine lamp, surprising everyone. The saboteur has attacked. However, which of the players are saboteurs? Will you discover the gold, or have the fiendish actions of the saboteurs find it first? Playing over three rounds, the player holding the most gold wins.

With the assistance of Dwarf Cards, players have assigned roles: a miner or a saboteur. The roles secret, and only revealed when a round is completed.

The Start Card and the three Goal Cards are put on the table, with each seven cards away from the start and one card between each Goal Card. The Goal Cards are put face-down. The gold is on one of the Goal Cards, however nobody knows which.

Players hold a hand of cards. On each turn, a player must do one of three things: place a Path Card into the mine, place an Action Card in front of a player, or pass.

The Path Cards create paths leading to the Goal Cards. Path Cards are required to be played next to a already-played Path Card. All paths on the Path Card need to match any already-played cards, and Path Cards cannot be placed sideways.

The miners are attempting to create an uninterrupted path from the Start Card to a Goal Card. The saboteurs are attempting to stop this. However, they shouldn't try and be too obvious about it, incase they be immediately found out.

Action Cards can be played in front of any player, including oneself. Action Cards allow the players to help or hinder each other, and also gather information about the Goal Cards.

Once a Path Card hits gold, the round is completed. The miners have won and get cards with gold pieces as their reward.

The round also ends if the gold could not be reached. In this case, the saboteurs have won and get the gold pieces.

When the Gold Cards have been distributed, the next round starts. The game ends after the third round is completed. The player with the most gold pieces wins!

Buy Saboteur online now!

Castle Panic

Castle Panic Board Game Gameplay

Number of Players 1-6
Playtime 60 Min
Suggested Ages 10+
Designer(s) Justin De Witt
Publisher Fireside Games

The forest is full of all kinds of monsters. As you built your castle and trained your soldiers, they watched and waited.  However now they have called upon their army and are marching out of the woods. Can you use teamwork to protect your castle against the horde, or will the monsters rip down your walls and destroy the precious castle? You will all win or lose together, however, only one player can be declared the Master Slayer!

Castle Panic is a light strategy, cooperative game for 1-6 players, aged 10+. Work together to protect your castle, in the middle of the board, from monsters that attack from the forest at the edges of the board. Together, players trade cards, hit and slay monsters, and propose strategies to ensure their castle towers stay intact. Players win or lose together, however only the player with the majority of victory points is the Master Slayer. Players must balance their own desire to win with the survival of the entire group.

Buy Castle Panic online now!

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Flash Point: Fire Rescue Board Game Gameplay

Number of Players 2-6
Playtime 45 Min
Suggested Ages 10+
Designer(s) Kevin Lanzing
Publisher Indie Boards & Cards

The call comes in... "911, what is your emergency?" On the other end is a panicked response of "FIRE!" Moments later you don the protective suits that will keep you alive, gather your equipment and rush to the scene of a blazing inferno. The team has only seconds to assess the situation and devise a plan of attack – then you spring into action like the trained professionals that you are. You must face your fears, never give up, and above all else work as a team because the fire is raging, the building is threatening to collapse, and lives are in danger.

You must succeed. You are the brave men and women of fire rescue; people are depending on you. This is what you do every day.

A game of fire rescue, played cooperatively among players. Flash Point offers two versions of game play, a basic game and an expert game. Both versions have players attempting to rescue 7 of 10 victims from a building raging in fire.

As players try to rescue the victims, the fire spreads to other parts of the building, creating structural damage and sometimes blocking pathways through the building. Each turn players can spend action points to attempt to put out fires, navigate through the building, move victims out of the building or do various special actions like moving emergency vehicles. If 4 victims die in the fire or the building collapses from too much structural damage, the players lose. Players instantly win once the 7th victim is rescued.

The expert variant in the game offers thematic elements like combustible materials, flash over, random setup, and variations on game difficulty from novice to heroic. The game offers a double sided board with two different building plans and multiple expansion maps are available.

Buy Flash Point: Fire Rescue online now!

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Board Game Components

Number of Players 2-4
Playtime 30-60 Min
Suggested Ages 11+
Designer(s) Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Kami Mandell, Andrew Wolf
Publisher The Op | usaopoly

The forces of evil are threatening to take over Hogwarts castle in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, a deck-building, cooperative game. It's up to four students to ensure the safety of Hogwarts by combining their defenses and defeating villains. During the game, players act as Hogwarts students: Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville, each with their own personal deck of cards used to gain resources.

By acquiring influence, players include more cards to their deck in the form of iconic characters, spells, and magical items. Other cards lets them regain health or battle against villains, stopping them from gaining power. The villains push back players with their attacks in the Dark Arts. Only with teamwork will players be able to defeat all of the villains, securing the castle from the evil forces.

Buy Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle online now!

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