Board Games 101 – Cooperative vs. Semi-Cooperative

We all love to play.  It’s something we do to interact with each other and find relief from our daily stress.  Some of the games we play don’t actually help with this unfortunately as they can be difficult and conflictive.  This may be the type of player who wants to play a game that alters the game play atmosphere into something that promotes teamwork instead.  It is in Cooperative games or Semi-Cooperative games that they will find their fun.

What is a Cooperative Game?


As the name implies, a cooperative game is one that all the players are working together to attain a goal.  This means that all players either win or lose together in unity.  This goal is set out by the games rules and mechanics that will automate a process that the players will have to play against.  Cooperative games often have a higher difficulty to offset the teams joint efforts against the game.  It is because of this that these games often require a high degree of teamwork from the players to attain victory.  One bad apple in the bunch can often lead the team to defeat if the players don’t practice communication and cohesion.


What are examples of a Cooperative Game?




Players will be working against the clock in the form of a deck a cards that will be infecting the planet with four deadly diseases.  It’s up to them to find a cure for all four diseases before the planet is overrun.


Arkham Horror


Players will be diving into the world of H.P. Lovecraft and trying to prevent an Ancient One from devouring the world.  This game oozes theme and narrative which brings you into the world it creates.


Flash Point: Fire Rescue

flash point

Nothing says teamwork like a firefighters.  This game brings the idea of putting out fires and saving lives into a board game form.  It’s wonderful how this can bring a team together.

What is a Semi-Cooperative Game?


These games share almost every aspect of mechanics with cooperative games but with one very important difference.  The difference being that there is an element of conflict between the players that keep some of the players away from victory.  This comes in various forms depending on the game that is being played.  Some games will have a traitor that will be secretly working against the group from within with their own set of goals.  Other semi-cooperative games will only grant victory to one player so back stabbing may be involved.  They can also feature teams that are working together to beat other teams that are playing the game.


Examples of Semi-Cooperative Games


Dead of Winter

dead of winter

This introduces the idea of a traitor that is trying to sabotage the other players attempts to stop a zombie horde from eating their faces.  Very dark but also is very good.  Players will be constantly questioning every move the other players make and always watching their backs.


Between Two Cities

between 2 cities

Players will be working on building two cities that will be on either side of them with the players that are sitting next to them.  This forces players to work together in choosing buildings that they will need but also making sure that they aren’t passing tiles that other players will need.


Fury of Dracula


This has one player taking on the role of Dracula and the other players as the hunters.  Players will have to be very clever to solve this one as Dracula will have the benefit of hidden movement that they will have to contend with.



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