Gateway Games: Introduction to Cooperative GamesOctober 2, 2018
Gateway Games is a series of articles aimed at helping you find the games that are right for you. Today, I am going to focus on a genre I highly recommend for teaching people to play – cooperative games.
Cooperative games can solve many issues that players face. I often get asked questions like, “How can I make sure my friends are enjoying playing games with me if I am always the one who wins?” or I hear stories like, “I want to play more board games with my significant other but we often get too competitive when we play.” A common answer to problems like this is to break out a cooperative game.
There are many styles of cooperative games out there, but I’m going to focus on a few that are very fun and easy to learn for beginner players.
1. Forbidden Island
Forbidden Island is a fairly simple game that can be fun for all ages. As explorers, players work together as a team to save four treasures – each representing an element: fire, wind, water, and earth – and escape the island safely before it sinks. Each explorer takes on a role that has different special abilities. The longer you play, the faster the water floods the island and the harder it gets to maneuver. One of the great things about this game is that you can up the difficulty once you are ready for a challenge. It’s really exciting to win as a team, flying off together in a helicopter while you watch the island sink into nothingness below!
In Pandemic you must work together to save the world from multiple deadly disease outbreaks! Each player takes on a unique role to help research, discover a cure, provide medical assistance, and more around the world. I recommend letting people choose character roles that they relate to in order to help get into the spirit of saving the world. While doing all you can to save humanity, you have to deal with sudden catastrophic epidemics that always keep you on the edge of your seat. Luckily, there are also special events that help the players in their race against the diseases. I can’t say that each game is easy to win, but I can say that cooperation is crucial if you want to win.
3. Betrayal at House on the Hill
Betrayal at House on the Hill is one of my personal favorite cooperative games. Players explore a tile-based haunted house that changes with each play through. At some point in the game, a traitor or monster is discovered and the players must work as a team to defeat the newly found enemy – and part of the fun is that one of the players gets to take on the role of the monster! I really like playing this game with eerie horror music in the background and imagining being in the weird house as you discover each bizarre room. I absolutely love the flavor in this game and believe that it truly sets itself up for getting into character with your fellow players. Each player does get to select a character to play, with detailed game pieces of each one. Most of them are silly stereotypes from what you’d expect from horror movies, but I think that helps add to the setting.
I hope this was helpful for people interested in trying out some games beyond what they have already played and as a guide for turning your friends and loved ones into hardcore gamers.