Top 10 List of Cooperative Fantasy Flight Games

I was inspired by a recent Dice Tower Top 10 List (Top 10 Fantasy Flight Games) for this list.  My initial list had 9 cooperative games and only 1 game that WAS NOT cooperative (see below), so with just a minor tweak, this became a top 10 list of cooperative games … from Fantasy Flight.  Caveat Emptor: this is my opinion.

Honorable Mention

Ingenious ‐ Fantasy Flight Games English edition (2004)

This was the only FF game that wasn’t cooperative.  Ingenious is an abstract, competitive, tile-laying game.   It’s an older game, but it hit all my gaming groups by storm.  I know, it’s not cooperative, it’s not even published by Fantasy Flight anymore (Kosmos)! Ingenious is a great game that probably should have won the Spiel Des Jahres (2004), but it had the misfortune of being up against Ticket To Ride (the winner that year).  In any other year, Ingenious probably would have won.

On to the top 10 cooperative Fantasy Flight games!

10. Runebound 3rd Edition (with Unbreakable Bonds Cooperative Expansion)

Runebound (Third Edition), Fantasy Flight Games, 2015 (image provided by the publisher)

This is a relatively new game for me: I just recently broke it out of shrink and have been playing it.  This is a fantasy questing game, where players quest around the world of Terrinoth (you’ll see that world a lot on this list).  The players are buffing themselves up to fight the final boss monster.   My first few plays were of the base game, which is nominally competitive, but my experience was that this game could easily be cooperative (and it it, with the Unbreakable Bonds expansion).

Runebound (Third Edition): Unbreakable Bonds, Fantasy Flight Games, 2017 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

This expansion adds some new decks, replaces the competitive quest cards from the base game with new cooperative quest cards (adding two new ones, and replacing two from the base game and 1 from the Caught In A Web expansion).  The main change is that each “foe” has his own combat board (instead of having another player run him).  Overall, very fun.

Vs Vorakesh-Cooperative Mode

The only problem?  The cooperative expansion is almost impossible to get a hold of.

9. Elder Sign

Front Cover, English Edition, Actual production copy, High Quality

This is a dice game.  You chuck dice on “adventures”, trying to crack a challenge on some card (with appropriate benefits/losses). There are ways to mitigate the dice (spell and items help you reroll), but it’s all about the dice chucking.  The theme is a little lacking in the first base game, but the later expansions really ratchet up the theme, giving it more direction.

 Cover, English Edition, Actual production copy, High Quality

For a lot of people, the app on iOS/Android has replaced the physical version (I actually learned itfrom the app), but there’s something fun about throwing dice (especially when you are angry) trying to win.  But, at the end of the day, it is just a dice game.

Elder Sign components on table.

7. Lord of the Rings (The Cooperative Renier Knizia version)

Box Front - Fantasy Flight Edition

This is called getting killed by Sauron by my gaming groups: I think we’ve only won this game once.

Many people attribute this Knizia version of Lord of The Rings to be the first modern cooperative board game!  LOTR (or getting killed by Sauron) is a epic game spanning so many double-sided boards!  Each board is major location from the book (Morder being the last board, see below), and the object is to work together to get all the way to Morder (by traveling through each board) so you can thrown the Ring into Mount Doom.

End of my solo game (two player) so close, yet so far!

The game is weirdly abstract: the events on the left side (see board above) have to be mitigated so you don’t take “too much bad news”, but you have to balance that with getting off the board (among other things) so you can make it to Mordor with the Ring.   The events are in line with the book, but their representation seems very abstract.  Nonetheless, this game still comes out in my game groups: “Who wants to get killed by Sauron?”

7. Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game

high quality image of front cover

This is a small card that fits into a fairly small box.  But it’s actually quite a big game!  Each player takes the role of platoon of Space Marines (each platoon has it’s own special abilities) and works with the other platoons to take out the Aliens.  (Well, there are obviously the Aliens from the Alien/Aliens movies, but they don’t have the rights to them, so they are legally distinct, but we all know what they are).

First game, all set up. Time to die in the name of the Emperor!

The game has a lot of rules and set-up (it took me a while to get going), but once you get going, the games flows well.  Each platoon plays one of it’s three cards (the only rule being you can’t play the same card as last turn) and tries to take out Aliens to get to the end Location so they can escape.  Combat is simple with a single die, and there is quite a lot of push your luck (with some mitigation mechanics with a SUPPORT token you can give your compatriots).

Death Angel is small, simple (once you get into), and fun.  The only problem with this game: it’s hard to get a hold of right now.

6. Mansions of Madness (Second Edition)

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition, Fantasy Flight Games, 2016 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

This one is a little odd for me: I didn’t like it at first.  I hated the First Edition: I played it with my friends and we hated the 1-vs-many nature.  The Second Edition makes the game fully cooperative, so I was willing to give it a second try.  But then I played my first game of Second Edition right after a very long trip (from the USA to Australia), and I think that did the game a disservice.  Recently, I have picked it up again and replayed it.  You know what?  That was fun!

Box 1

There’s quite a bit of plastic and cards and the game’s components are very thematic. The app (which is required) really stepped up the theme.  Now, at first, I didn’t like the app!  “Where do I draw the line between what I do and the app does?”  I think my expectations were set wrong: once I dialed that back, I was able to see the lines clearly and be able to just play the game.

General look

This is a fun, thematic game.  If you are like me, you need to give it a try a few times to make sure you “get” how it all fits together  (it needs to “seep” into you).  Once it seeps into your soul, it’s a fun cooperative game of movement, exploration and fighting for 1-5 players with very thematic music and an immersive app.

5. Legacy of Dragonholt

Legacy of Dragonholt, Fantasy Flight Games, 2017 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

This game was a big hit in my gaming circles when it first came out! I was able to play in the very first adventure, but then my friends played without me (to be fair, I lived in a different city than that game group).   They all seemed to love it at first, but had trouble finishing it.  I recently picked up the game as a solo player and loved the heck out of it.  It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure meets a simpler Dungeons and Dragons game.   Each player creates a character with stats (like Dungeons and Dragons).  These characters then adventure in the world of Terrinoth.   The adventure flows out of books of text with decision points (much like Choose Your Own Adventure games).  It’s simpler than Dungeons and Dragons, but substantially more complex than Choose Your Own Adventure, as you have to do some maintenance as you play.

Game components

At the end of the day, it was quite fun, but it may not be your cup of tea.  There is a LOT of reading.  But, if you like the idea of reading and interacting with a fantasy book (with tons of content), this would be for you.   I loved playing it solo, but you can play it cooperatively (as my game group did) by “passing” the reading/choosing responsibility around the group.

4. Marvel Champions

Marvel Champions: The Card Game, Fantasy Flight Games, 2019 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

This game is supposedly a re-implementation of Fantasy Flight’s Lord of the Rings LCG.  It’s different enough that the game stands on it’s own.  Players play 1-4 Superheroes (Spiderman, She-Hulk, Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain Marvel are in the base game) taking on some bad guys (Ultron, Klaw, and Rhino are in the base game).  Players build decks with different “aspects” (Justice, Defense, etc), but honestly the base game suggests perfectly valid decks to play.

Intro game Spider-man, Captain Marvel vs Rhino

The game is a fun as you attack the Bad Guys, go back and forth between Superhero form and Secret Id form, and work together to take down the Bad Guys scheme.

It’s a good game: not too complex, not too simple.    They are making tons of expansions: new Heroes (Spider Woman is on the way, Thor and Captain America are extra decks already available) and new Bad Guys (Green Goblin and the Wrecking Crew are also available).  Fun game with a Superhero theme.

3. Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game

Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game, Fantasy Flight Games, 2015 (image provided by the publisher)

Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop entered into some kind of partnership in the early 2000s that allowed them to share Intellectual Property.   One of these joint ventures gave us Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game! This cooperative fantasy card game (by the Sadler brothers) had a very simple mechanism for actions: each player has four cards with actions.  A card is tapped to activate its action (and one of those four actions was to heal all 4).  One of the four actions was to help your compatriots, so it really encouraged cooperation!

Picture from first time playing Quest 1.
Picture 1

Players went on quests, fought monsters, and levelled up as they played.  It was quite fun and straight-forward fantasy game.  There was the promise of expansion (and there were two very small new character expansions), but the game ultimately was abandoned.   Why?  See Number 2 (below).

2. Heroes of Terrinoth

Heroes of Terrinoth, Fantasy Flight Games, 2018 — front cover (image provided by the publisher)

This game is a re-implementation of Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game (WHQTACG) (see above).   When Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop dissolved their games partnership in 2017, Fantasy Flight lost the rights to the Intellectual Property of WQTACG and thus could no longer publish that game.  They went ahead and re-themed the WHQTACG game engine in the world of Terrinoth (we’ve seen this world many times on their list) to give us Heroes of Terrinoth!


Heroes of Terrinoth is almost exactly the same game as WHQTACG, but with slightly different theming (more lighter Terrinoth fantasy than darker Warhammer fantasy).  The rulebook of Heroes of Terrinoth is better than WHQTACG and perhaps a little more accessible.  My hope was that we’d see some expansions for Heroes of Terrinoth, but as of the time of this writing, there hasn’t been any.

Which game do you want?  it depends on what you can find!  If you see WHQTACG for cheap somewhere, pick it up!  It’s a good game and almost the same as Heroes of Terrinoth.

1. Arkham Horror (Second Edition)


To be clear: this is the 2nd Edition of the game (not the 3rd).   This game shows its age a little (it’s a little long, and it’s structure is a little dated: see this blog entry), but it is a favorite of mine and a lot of my friends! We still play it every Halloween!!!  I think we like it so much because it gives us the RPG flavor (as each player takes the role of an Arkham character) without needing a Dungeon Master to run an adventure!  All players have to work together to explore the city, fight monsters, close gates, and (ultimately) defeat the final big bad Cthulu monster.    There’s multiple paths to victory (close gates or fight monster?), coordinated choices (“I’ll kill the monster so you can get to the Clue”), and even lots of flavor text in each of the challenges at Locations.

Arkham Horror at FFG booth, Origins 2005

We played this game to death over the years (it’s about 15 years old).  Arkham Horror  has tons of expansion (both big box and card only).   This is probably one of the games I have played the most in my life.  I love the game, I love the choices, I love the cooperative nature, I love the memories (We played it for my bachelor party).  This is easily my favorite Fantasy Flight game.

Appendix. Where’s XXX?

There are some quite a number of Fantasy Flight cooperative games.  If your favorite isn’t on here, it’s likely I haven’t played it yet or I didn’t like it, but here’s some comments about a few I didn’t mention.

  • Where’s Arkham Horror LCG? I played Arkham Horror LCG: It wasn’t for me (see my review here). I know a lot of people love it.  It’s just not for me.
  • Where’s Eldritch Horror?  I haven’t played it yet. It “promises” a shorter, stream-lined Arkham Horror 2nd Ed (AH2E) game, but every game I’ve seen of Eldritch Horror lasts just as long as AH2E, and it seems to have streamlined the game too much for me.  I’d rather just play AH2E (but I will play Eldritch Horror someday).
  • Where’s Arkham Horror 3rd Edition? I have it, but I haven’t played it yet: it’s still in shrink.  I haven’t heard great things about it.

A Review of Orleans Invasion: Part I. Unboxing, Solo Rules, Cooperative Rules, and First Impressions

Orleans and its cooperative expansion, Orleans: Invasion

So, this is a cooperative games blog.  Why are we talking about Orleans, a competitive, bag-building Euro game?

Orleans is a  game that came to my attention because it could have fit on two of my recent Top 10 lists: Top 10 Cooperative Deckbuilding Games (bag-building is a dual of deck-building) and Top 10 Games That Can Be Played Fully Cooperatively.  There is a big box expansion called Orleans: Invasion that imbues this competitive, victory-point-scoring  Euro with cooperative and solo rules (and some campaign rules for a competitive game, but we won’t delve into that)!

I’m not sure why I picked this up: Was I curious how to make a Euro cooperative?  Yes!  Had I heard good things about the cooperative mode?  Yes!  Was it on sale!  Yes!  Oh, that’s why I picked it up!

Unboxing The Base Game

Orleans: the base game!

Well, the expansion looks great .. but I can’t really get to it until I get into the base game!  I just want to say, there’s a lot in here.  A lot of cardboard, a lot of boards, a lot of tokens, a lot of rules (but not as many as expected).

An ad for the expansion … all right No need to keep shilling!! I already bought it!
Ah yes! This looks like the rulebook of a dry, soulless Euro!

This is a bag-building game.  Each player will have their own bag, and slowly build their own bad by adding tokens (soooooo maaaaany tokens ….)

Blue Player board

Each player also has their own “action selection board” where they can play their tokens (see Blue Player board above).  The color is a little muted, but you can see that is the blue player’s board.

Main Board with a map to travel around and a bunch of spaces …

There is a main board (see above) with a map (you travel around: this mechanic surprised me a little) and some spaces to do stuff.  And places to hold resources  on the left (wheat, wine, etc.) … I told you this was a soulless Euro!)

…sooo maaany tokens…

There’s also an auxiliary board to do “side quests” as you play.

Action spaces (on a global side quest board) that all players can activate

If you had any doubt, this is a Euro!!  How are they going to make this solo and cooperative?  Stay tuned … we are almost there …

Resources! This is a Euro!

Main Rulebook

So, because the Solo and Cooperative modes are “add-ons” from another completely different expansion, you will have to go through the main rulebook to get the feel of the game.


I’m not a huge fan of when games just “list” components and don’t actually show them (see page 1 above)!  I like the kinesthetic experience of matching the components from the rulebook with the components of the box; it helps me absorb the game.  A plain “list” mapping listed components to real components becomes that much harder. If I had one major complaint about this rulebook, I’d say it was the lack of component pictures.

The first pages show the Set-Up

But, on the second page is a picture of set-up.  Ah!  With this, I was to at least have a better idea of what was going on just by setting up the game.  This was a good set-up, showing little boxes and arrows and what the game looks like set-up.  I will “forgive” the list of components on the previous page because this set-up page makes up for it!

The phases of the game

The rest of the rulebook is good.  I was able to read through the rules and get a good sense of the game quickly.  There are a 7 major phases of the game (see pages above) and the main structure of the game comes across as pretty straight forward.

The rest of the rulebook elaborates on the main rules, main cards, etc. It was a good rulebook in general: lots of pictures, good explanations/elaborations.

What Do I Do Next?

Okay.  I’ve read through the main rulebook, and I have set-up a game of plain Orleans (or at least put tokens on the board).  What do I now?  Do I play the base game first?  Can I play Solo first? (That sounds hard! I don’t know the rules!!!!)

So, here’s what I did: In hopes that the solo mode was simple enough (this was a Hail Mary to be sure), I opened Orleans: Invasion expansion and started looking at the Solo Mode … gulp … here goes …

Orleans: Invasion

Which Solo Mode?

Back of the Orleans: Invasion box. Three solo modes and a cooperative mode!

So, interestingly, the game has not 1, not 2, but 3 solo modes!  The first two are simpler and the last one is more complex.  Which one to start with? The first one!

First Solo Mode


If I were to repackage this game, I would put the first solo mode (The Dignitary) in the base game!  This seemed like the best way to learn the game!  It lets you learn most of the mechanics at your own pace and it’s quite fun!  (This solo mode also eliminates the resources as well, making the game easier to set-up and play).

All you need are 3 things from the Orleans Invasion box! A token, the set events board, and the Stage Coach!


You only need three things from the expansion to play the Dignitary solo mode: a white token, the Stage Coach and the “set events” board (see above)!!! This isn’t too bad!


The rule changes/elaboration are described in two pages. Basically, you make this game cooperative by collecting “Dignity” (the little dudes) before you run out of time (ie., the events play out).

Collect “Dignity” (the little dudes) from the map and actions

You still play the base game fairly normally: build your bag, move your token around the map, and try to collect enough “Dignity” before times runs out.

This DOES mean you will have to have two rulebooks open  (the main Orleans and the Orleans: Invasion rulebooks) when you play solo or cooperatively: not a deal-breaker by any means, but not ideal.  BUT: the changes are minimal for this first solo mode.

A Winning solo game!

In the end, I would recommend going through the first solo mode (The Dignitary) for your first play.   The changes from the base game were minimal … and most importantly, the changes weren’t daunting.

This is the way to learn the game! Your first play should be a solo game of The Dignitary.

Cooperative Mode

All the stuff needed for the cooperative mode!

The cooperative mode is MUCH more complicated to learn and it has a lot more components needed (see above).  I strongly recommend playing the base game or the solo game before playing the cooperative game: there’s “too many rules” to just jump into this.

A Two-Player Cooperative Game Set-Up!

How does the cooperative mode work?

The Story: The city is being invaded, and players have to work together to collectively “shore up” the city so the invaders can’t get through!  Like the solo mode, the game is over when the event deck runs-out … so we’d better get cracking on shoring up the city!

Players have to work together to fill up the Main city board (see below) with the proper type of workers, coin, and resources to defend the city!

Left part of the city: required to man all stations!!

Each player also plays a unique character with a unique sub-goal:  All sub-goals MUST be completed to win!


The Councilman  “subgoal”, fill up the Assembly Hall!

So, the cooperative game proceeds very similarly to base game: players build their bag with workers, sometimes having to sacrifice those workers to the City (to protect it) or their sub-goal (to fulfull their protection goals).  Although it seems “weird” to HAVE to complete subgoals to win the game, I’d like to think the sub-goals are important to complete because they represent the city being organized enough to fend off the invaders!  Ya, it’s my own rationalization.


Finally, the players must fortify all the establishments around the map: this are an important cog in the defense of Orleans!  (Recall The Dignitary does not use resources, but the cooperative mode absolutely does! See the map above).

So, in summary, to make Orleans cooperative:

  1. Add sub-goals (where you lose workers from your bag)
  2. Adds a city board to be “manned”: Players fill up City Protection Positions (losing more workers from your bag)
  3. Move around the map collecting resources to fill the necessary stores in the City
  4. Other minor change (change the event deck, adding cards for each player)

In general, it works.  BUT:  It’s hard and it adds a lot of rules!

A losing cooperative game!

My first cooperative game: We lost, and we lost badly.  Here’s the thing: I kept thinking about it about I lost!!  “How could I have done better?  Should I have done that?”  That’s always a sign that you are really invested in the game!  And I do want to play it again.

Just remember, don’t play the cooperative version until you’ve played the solo or base game: there’s just too much (rules, components) to play cooperatively the first time.


A wider view of the losing cooperative game!

If I had played this before I did my Top 10 Games That Can Be Played Fully Cooperatively or my Top 10 Cooperative Deckbuilders, I think this would have made both lists.  The expansion is ABSOLUTELY worth getting!   The solo mode(s) are interesting, and good ways to learn the game, and the cooperative really steps up the game!  Even beyond the solo and cooperative mode, Orleans: Invasion adds scenarios and just tons of content.

In the end, Orleans and Orleans: Invasion really surprised me! I didn’t think it was possible to make good solo/cooperative modes for soulless Euro games, but you know what?  They did!   Is it worth getting Orleans and Orleans: Invasion JUST for the cooperative and solo modes?  I think so.  Hopefully this review will help you get a feel if it’s a good cooperative game for you.


Top 10 Games That Can Be Played Fully Cooperatively

The real title of this top 10 list should be “The Top 10 Board and Card Games that aren’t really fully cooperative games, but can be played that way with a few modifications”, but that doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?   Over the years, I’ve collected a number games that aren’t TRULY fully cooperative, but I’ve found there that was some way to play them fully cooperatively.   How? It might be as simple as ignoring some simple rule or as complex as adding a full-blown expansion whose sole purpose is to make the game cooperative!


A few definitions before we begin: fully cooperative (or I might just say cooperative without the fully qualifier as we get into this) are games where all players in the game are invested in helping each other and working together as one team to win the game.   Other games types like team-vs-team or one-versus-many or semi-co-op or traitor games I do NOT consider fully cooperative!  There are elements of cooperation in those, but at the end of the day, at least one player is still “against” other players.

For each game, I give an overview of the changes needed to play the game fully cooperatively, as well as answer the burning question: can you play it solo with the newly formed fully cooperative rules? (I.e.,Saunders’ Law?)

These are the ones I have enjoyed the most.  If there is a game I’ve missed, please add it to the comments.

Honorable Mention: Runebound (3rd Edition)

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  You need the Unbreakable Bonds expansion.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes: the Unbreakable Bonds expansion adds solo play as well.

The base Runebound (3rd edition) is competitive.  You need the Unbreakable Bonds expansion to play cooperatively.

The reason this is Honorable Mention is that I haven’t played it enough yet! But I do know a lot of people who really like this  high-fantasy game.  It’s easy to get Runebound,  but it’s really hard to get a hold of Unbreakable Bonds at this point, so the lack of availability also slips this into the Honorable Mention.

10. Mage Knight


How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  Ignore the victory points.  Play Cartman Cooperative.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes.  The rulebook has rules for solo play, but I’ve found you can just play the game with one Mage Knight and there’s less maintenance and more fun.

I find that I enjoy the Star Trek: Frontiers version of Mage Knight better, but it’s still just about the same game.  See my review of Star Trek: Frontiers here.  There is more content for Mage Knight proper (a few more expansions and a Big Box version of the game), but there is a Khan expansion for Star Trek: Frontiers.

At the end of the day, this game is almost fully cooperative.  It’s a scenario based game where you either beat the scenario or not, so the players must work together partly to accomplish that. There’s a notion of victory points at the end, so each player tends to step on each other (especially near endgame) to try and get “more victory points to win!”.

Just ignore the victory points, play it as a fully cooperative game! At the end, revel in your shared win or commiserate in your shared loss.

The only reason this game is so far down the list is that it’s hard to get to the table: it’s a big sprawling, long game.

9. Shadows Over Camelot

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  Don’t play with the traitor. And see below.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Maybe?  You can play two characters, but then you have to worry about accidentally sharing card info, and you’d have to use the Changing Perspectives idea.

Shadows Over Camelot is a hidden traitor game with hidden information.  In the set-up for the game, some cards are handed out dictating if you are a traitor or not.  It is very possible that no one is a traitor.  So, rather than rely on that, we simply eliminate the traitor completely.  Since none of the players are allowed to see the other player’s cards, you can still play the game normally. The hidden information still allows the game to be interesting (and you still have to work together with imperfect information).

Now, getting rid of the traitor makes the game significantly easier.  We’ve found we had to change the win condition to make it harder.

  1. Players have to place the last sword white.  Even if they have a (overwhelming) majority, the last sword must be white or the players lose.
  2. Players need a overwhelming majority of swords  to win:  (an extra 2 or 3 white swords over simple majority, depending on how hard you want the game).

This game is lower on the list only because it’s older and doesn’t come out to the table as much.

8. Dungeon Lords

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  Umm, this one’s pretty complicated.  See rule changes below.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes.  There some solo rules on BoardGameGeek here.

This is a favorite game of my friend Junkerman and myself.  Strictly speaking, this is a competitive victory point game with agonizing worker placement decisions.  Each player runs their own dungeon and is trying to get the most victory points by keeping those pesky dungeon adventurers out.  At its core, players are competing hard for resources in the worker placement phase, because you need those resources!

As we’ve played over the years, we’ve realized the real goal is to keep the adventurers from infiltrating ANY of your dungeon.   As a cooperative game, if all players (we’ve really only played two players in this mode) can keep their dungeons pristine, we call this a cooperative win!  And we ignore victory points.

Unfortunately, making this cooperative is a lot harder than most games.

  1. The worker placement phase is very tight, and it too easy to mess each other up. There’s just not enough resources to really make this work.
  2. There needs to be some form of communication, but too much communications just makes the game “not fun” as you end up in analysis paralysis.

So what do we do?  We basically add two new rules.  One of them requires a new deck of cards and the other is a new ruleset.

  1. Add the DungeonLords Improvements deck and rules to the game.  See here for details.  The basic idea: when you would go to a place that’s blocked, you may play one of your SPECIAL cards instead.  Basically, you can still do something interesting, even when you get blocked in the worker placement phase.
  2. Added limited negotiation in a few places.  This one was tricky, because we didn’t completely open it up to “we can negotiate everything”, but just in a few places:
    a. You can do one negotiation/information at the start of the worker placement: “I really need that Monster, so just do you know”.  It was more like, I am telling you what I need and maybe saying what the alternatives are.  That’s it, just a little extra information.
    b. Offer places where our workers WON’T Go. Similarly, when we put away our workers, we kind of tell each other “.. these are the kind of places my workers WON’T GO today, would any of those help you?”

In the end, the game is still tight as both players have agonizing decisions to make.  On some level, this fully cooperative version is more of a stay-out-of-each-other’s way cooperative.  But, it’s a cooperative form of a game that has no right to be cooperative in any way!

7. Conquest of Planet Earth

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  It comes with the game: it’s an alternate way to play the game.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes.  There are solo rules in the box.

This game has the players take on the role of aliens invading earth!  It’s a fun theme.  The base game is competitive, but the rulebook has a cooperative variant built-in.  The cooperative variant is easily the best way to play this game.

This game is a little harder to get a hold of these days.

6. CO2/CO2 Second Chance

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  It comes with the game: Depending on the version of the game you get, it’s either the base game or  an alternate way to play the game.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes.  There are solo rules in the box.

This may be a cheat to put on the list, as the newest version of CO2: Second Chance has it’s base game as cooperative (with a competitive variant built-in as well).  The original version of C02 was a competitive game but there just happened to be some variant for cooperative play.    If you do pick up the original box, you can still play cooperatively.  If you have a choice, pick up the CO2: Second Chance instead.  This is a heavy resource management game where everyone is working to save the planet together by eliminating our dependence on carbon.  (Honestly, the theme cries out for a fully cooperative game).

5. Legendary

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  Ignore the victory points.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  There are a lot of ways to play solo on BGG.

We’ve talked about Legendary quite a bit on this blog (See “Top 10 Cooperative Superhero Games”): it’s a fun, superhero based deck-building game.  Players “buy teams” of heroes to build their decks up, in hopes these decks will help them to take out some Bad Guys.   All players lose together if they don’t defeat the Bad Guy (and his scheme), but the player with the most victory points (cards he’s collected throughout the game) wins.

We ignore the victory points completely when we play.  We just rejoice in the shared win or commiserate in the brutal loss.

4. Near and Far

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  You have to buy an expansion: The Amber Mines
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  No, there aren’t solo rules, but see below.

Near and Far is a competitive worker placement, storybook game.  In order to play cooperatively, you need the Amber Mines expansion.

The Amber Mines has a bunch of modules you can add to the game: one of them is the cooperative module.  Basically, it adds as timer to the game: a new board is added to the game which “moves up a track by 1” after the 1st player goes.  If this track makes it to the last space (skull), the players lose.  Otherwise, the players are trying to get victory points: when the game is over (when the 14th tent comes out), players add up their victory points.  If that sum is greater than the “track number x number of players”, the players win!  It’s a little esoteric win condition,  but you still get to play the full goodness of Near and Far in a cooperative venue (Oh ya, you still need to kill some bosses to win too).

I am surprised they don’t have solo player rules!  The win condition has to do with “track number x number of players”, so obviously the winning condition can scale to a single player.  To learn the cooperative version of the game, I simply played one character in the cooperative mode and got as many victory points as I could.  If nothing else, this solo mode seems like a perfectly cromulent way to learn the cooperative game.

3. Mousquetaires Du Rey


How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  At the very end of the rulebook, there are co-op rules.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes. The players takes the role of 2 chartacters in the co-op variant.

Mousquetaires du Roy is based on the novel “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas.  The base game is a one-versus-many game where one player plays Milady against the rest of the players playing the Three Musketeers.  At the very end of the rulebook are some rules for playing the game fully cooperatively.  Basically, in the cooperative version, all players play one of the Three Musketeers.  There’s an AI that controls Milady’s actions as she conspires against the players.

This game really surprised me!  When I played it cooperatively, I really had fun!  It’s too bad it didn’t too better: I never see it mentioned.  It even made my More Cooperative Games “Off The Beaten” Path List (see here).

2. Thunderstone Quest

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  You have to buy an expansion: Barricades Mode
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes.

Thunderstone Quest is a competitive deck-building, dungeon-delving, killing-monsters game.  See my review of the base competitive game here.  In order to play cooperatively, you need the Barricades Mode expansion.

Thunderstone Quest makes the players work together to keep the town safe.  The base deck-building game is still there: at it’s core: this is a deck-building game where players can build themselves up in town (buying equipment or stuff to build their deck) or can head to the dungeon to fight monsters.  The Barricades Mode makes the game a lot more complicated, adding dice and experience boards and other stuff (see my review here).

Even with all this complexity added by the Barricades Mode, cooperative play was really fun!  There’s a lot of decisions to make, a lot of beautiful art, and a lot of monsters to fight!  Players work together to save the town from being overrun with monsters. There is also a ton of content from 3 (maybe more at this point) kickstarters.


1. Detective: City of Angels

Cover for Detective: City of Angels. Art by Vincent Dutrait.

How To Play Fully Cooperatively?  At the very end of the rulebook, there are co-op rules.
Can You Play Solo with fully cooperative play?  Yes, there are solo rules built-in and they are quite good.

Detective: City of Angels is a storybook game where players solve a mystery. The base game is  one-versus-many as one player plays as the Chisel and “runs” the mystery, sort of like a DungeonMaster running the game.  The Chisel “runs” the game, knows the solution to the mystery, but still wants the players to “fail”.

Luckily, Detective: City of Angels has a great cooperative mode built in.  The rules for it are in the second half of the rulebook (belying that it’s a variant of the game and not the default way to play), but the rulebook does a great job of showing set-up and describing the full cooperative mode.  It’s really fun and the co-op mode made my favorite cooperative game of 2019 (see here).  You can also see my full review of the game here.