A lot of cooperative games have very dark and depressing themes: “Work together to save the world! Or everybody dies! AHHH!” (In fact, that’s exactly what we did to make Lost Ruins of Arnak cooperative last week!) We wanted to point all those cooperative games where a “sense of humor” permeates the game. What do we mean by that? Something that makes you laugh! As you read the rulebook, as you play the game, you notice little touches that tickle your funny bone. It may be flavor text, or the way a rule is expressed, or just some picture that make you giggle and not take the game (or life) too seriously.
To be clear, these are all real games (some heavier than others), and not just excuses for jokes!
10. Dungeon Lords
So, we are cheating a little bit here: Dungeon Lords is ONLY cooperative if we play with our rules from our Top 10 Games That Can Be Played Full Cooperatively. This would probably be further up the list if the cooperative rules were better fleshed out. (Hint, hint, Rich). Dungeon Lords has one of the funniest rulebooks we have ever read, the art is silly and evocative, and the games mechanisms and cards reinforce this sense of humor. The funniest bit in the game: the Dungeon room where, for 2 imps and a food, you can create another imp—we call this “The Romantic Dinner Room”.
9. Far Away
This is further down the list because, although the sense of humor pervades the rulebook and the box and the components, its not quite as prevalent as we start playing: it’s a pretty heavy game. We reviewed the game here and it also made our Top 10 Cooperative Space Themed Games. Overall, the game has an almost dark sense of humor! My favorite joke:
Overall, this is a heavier game (see below) that uses a sense of humor to keep it from being too much.
8. CO-OP: the co-op game
CO-OP: the co-op game is a silly game where Hippies of all generations come together to stop Mondo Mart (which is nothing like MegaloMart or Walmart) from taking over the local CO-OP. The rules encourage you to embrace the hippie vibe of the game and roleplay your characters. The cards have funny little flavor text at the bottom, but the best part are the ridiculous things you can buy at the shop such as 103% Dark Chocolate, Chaka Reversers, and the game itself (yes, you can buy CO-OP: the co-op game in game). It’s a silly but fun light-hearted co-op. It also made our Top 10 Cooperative Games of 2017.
7. Unlock: Squeek and Sausage
Squeek and Sausage is an Unlock Escape Room game (we’ve reviewed a few of Unlock games: Unlock Epic Adventures and Unlock: Star Wars). This particular universe, with a silly professor who has “doomed us all”, has been so popular that he has spawned two more Unlock Escape Room Games: A Noside Story (from Unlock: Secret Adventures set) and Professor Noside’s Animal-O-Matic (from the Unlock: Mythic Adventures Set). Squeek and Sausage is still my favorite, as it introduced us to this hilarious world.
6. Agents of SMERSH
I was a kickstarter of the very original Agents of SMERSH back in 2016! (And I am kickstarter on the reboot in 2021 as well: this is a neat game). This is a storybook game (as it made our Top 10 Cooperative Storybook/Story Telling Games), where players roam around a world map trying to find and take out Dr. Lobo before he can “destroy the world!”. But, this game is very much a love-letter to the silly 70s tropes of Secret Agents and James Bonds. The text that comes out in the storybooks is very action-packed, but still has decisions and a sense of humor. This game also made our Top 10 Cooperative Games “Off The Beaten Track”.
5. Spirit of 77
This game almost didn’t make the list, because it’s a Role Playing Game rather than a board game, but the game is cooperative. It is also THE MOST RIDICULOUS GAME I HAVE EVER PLAYED. In a good way. We reviewed it here, and tried to explain how the game naturally encourages a sense of humor with playlists, twists, and other mechanisms. The game is strongly dependent on the group itself having a sense of humor, so you have to make sure your group is in the right frame of mind. I look forward to further plays with silly thing like Bigfoot jumping over 30 Ford Pintos in a Dodge Pacer.
4. Forgotten Waters
We initially reviewed Forgotten Waters here, but the game has just gotten better and better for us! It’s a silly, pirate themed Adventure game with a great story! It has some really silly jokes dressed up in an App that makes it that much more thematic! Forgotten Waters made our Top 10 Cooperative Storybook/Story Telling Games, our Top 10 Cooperative Swashbuckling Games, as well as our Top 10 Cooperative Board and Card Games of 2020. It’s a real fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but still has a lot of good choices.
3. Scooby Doo: Escape From The Haunted Mansion
Scooby Doo: Escape from the Haunted Mansion is essentially a Scooby Doo themed Escape Room game. The players, as a group, take the roles of the Scooby gang. Each character has their own “verb” they apply to objects throughout the Mansion: Fred can investigate, Velma can research, Scooby can smell, and welllll, Shaggy can eat. That’s right, Shaggy will frequently just pop things he finds around the Mansion into his mouth and try to eat them! There’s a fun mystery to solve, and the interactions in the game are pretty hilarious. This game really brings in that sense of humor from the Scooby Doo cartoon. This game made our Top 10 Cooperative Creepy/Spooky Games as well as our Top 10 Cooperative Detective Board and Card Games!
2. Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger
This is probably the lightest cooperative game on this list, but maybe the funniest by itself! It made the number 2 spot on our Top 10 Cooperative Storybook/Storytelling Games because of how easy it is to play and how ridiculous it is. You can pick this up at Target for fairly cheap, and also play online fairly easily (see our Top 10 Cooperative Games You Can Play Online). It’s a pretty simple story game, but the stories it tells are just hilarious and your choices do kinda matter!
Cantaloop may be my game of the year for 2021! We reviewed it more deeply here. This game has the best sense of humor I have ever seen. Jokes, throw-away and essential, permeate the game. The art style is silly and works with the game. And yet, for all the humor and silliness, this is still a fantastic point-and-click adventure game masquerading as a board game! One of many throw-away jokes: “What’s the best time of day? 6:30 hands down!”