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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    -Sentinel-'s Avatar

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    Default What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    I play a lot of cooperative board games with friends, including but not limited to Gloomhaven, Arkham Horror, Zombicide and Blackstone Fortress. I would like to introduce my family (including my boomer parents) to cooperative board games, and it would be best if we started out with something easy to learn. Also preferably a game that is not based on an existing media franchise, as the rest of my family are not huge geeks and are unlikely to be interested in, say, a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars game.

    What are the co-op games with the least complex rules? Should ideally be playable with 3 people.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    1) Escape: a frantic real time dice-chucker where everyone is explorers trying to escape from a collapsing temple in some arbitrary amount of time. Movement and obstacle-removing is done by spending rolled dice (everyone has 5), but the real-time nature of the game (combined with the fact that there's a die face that 'locks' your die) can make it quite frantic.

    2) Mysterium: I know you specifically asked for 3-player-friendly games, but if you can get up to 4 or 5 this one's great. Everyone except one player is each a psychic investigator trying to solve a murder (getting the correct person, weapon, location) while the last player is a ghost who communicates with each player only by sending 'visions' (in this case cards with pictures on them) as clues to try to lead them down the right track. There's a fair bit of thinking burden on the ghost at times, but everyone else, though they're each trying to guess the meaning of their own unique vision, can get help from the rest of the room, and the more-fiddly and game-y aspects are secondary to the simple puzzle of 'which picture is the ghost trying to get me to point at.'
    Coach, owner, manager, and gentleman of Hellbug's Heroes, GITP Blood Bowl Season II and III Cup Runners Up.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Narkis's Avatar

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Quote Originally Posted by -Sentinel- View Post
    I play a lot of cooperative board games with friends, including but not limited to Gloomhaven, Arkham Horror, Zombicide and Blackstone Fortress. I would like to introduce my family (including my boomer parents) to cooperative board games, and it would be best if we started out with something easy to learn. Also preferably a game that is not based on an existing media franchise, as the rest of my family are not huge geeks and are unlikely to be interested in, say, a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars game.

    What are the co-op games with the least complex rules? Should ideally be playable with 3 people.
    Pandemic is probably your best bet. Both the concept and the game is pretty simple, and the Legacy version is great fun if you prefer having a campaign.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    -Sentinel-'s Avatar

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Narkis View Post
    Pandemic is probably your best bet. Both the concept and the game is pretty simple, and the Legacy version is great fun if you prefer having a campaign.
    I've heard of Pandemic before, I'll have a closer look.

    Is it possible to play Pandemic Legacy in "one-off game" mode, or does it have to be a campaign? I do like campaigns, but my family's opportunities to play one are limited.
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    The Bloody Crown (WFRP) as Elsabeth Holt, rogue pyromancer

    Quote Originally Posted by TheSummoner View Post
    Oh wow. I will never again underestimate [our characters'] ability to turn friendly conversation into a possible life or death situation.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    Ludo has a crowbar, if that helps.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Not sure, but if you're looking at Pandemic, I'd also take a look at Flashpoint. They both play very similarly, but I personally find Flashpoint's 'deal with people in a burning building' cube-pushing a bit more relatable and satisfying than Pandemic's.
    Coach, owner, manager, and gentleman of Hellbug's Heroes, GITP Blood Bowl Season II and III Cup Runners Up.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Pandemic Legacy can be played normally like the base game (i.e. one-off) as many times as you like before beginning the campaign, which is 12-24 sessions long, depending on your loss rate. But if you don't plan to do the campaign, just get the regular version and pay less money.

    Another fun game is Betrayal at House on the Hill, which starts off as cooperative exploration of a randomly-generated mansion. Once the haunt begins, either one random person becomes the bad guy, or it turns into a free-for-all. The solo bad guy will need to privately read their rules which can sometimes be complicated, but not much is lost if you all openly read everything together.

    Shadows Over Camelot is also fun co-op stuff, you've got multiple objectives to handle simultaneously, and you need to get more successes than failures to protect the kingdom of Camelot. There's a mechanic for someone to perhaps secretly be a traitor, but you can just ignore that and have everyone be good. It's still a challenging game.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Zweanslord's Avatar

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    I'll offer up Forbidden Island as cooperative boardgame, where you try to find 4 treasures on a sinking island as a team. Find all 4 before the island sinks!

    I'll also back up Pandemic and Flashpoint as fun cooperative games!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zweanslord View Post
    I'll offer up Forbidden Island as cooperative boardgame, where you try to find 4 treasures on a sinking island as a team. Find all 4 before the island sinks!

    I'll also back up Pandemic and Flashpoint as fun cooperative games!
    Seconding Forbidden Island. I think there may have been another one like it, like Forbidden Desert or somesuch, but they play about the same.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Quote Originally Posted by TaRix View Post
    Seconding Forbidden Island. I think there may have been another one like it, like Forbidden Desert or somesuch, but they play about the same.
    Yep. Their mechanics are similar but there are subtle differences. Both are a blast. With Forbidden Desert everyone is racing to assemble an airship to escape a desert storm that threatens to sink everyone in a mountain of sand.

    Another good easy game is Castle Panic. In that game, everyone works together to defend a castle tower from wave after wave of goblinoids.
    Last edited by xroads; 2020-01-03 at 02:44 PM.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Forbidden Sky is in the same series as the other two Forbidden X games, but I think is more different (I haven't actually played Desert). It is more challenging than Island by a fair bit.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Forbidden Island is the easiest of the series - more aimed at young'uns. Desert is a bit more difficult, but still a fairly simple game. Sky, as you say, is a lot more complex & difficult. Not a hard game, but the most complex of that series.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    Mice and Mystics is another suggestion, very narrative, simpler take on something Gloomhaven-ish that's aimed for a more casual audience. Easy to teach and I've played it with kids.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: What's a good cooperative board game for novices?

    I second Castle Panic. It's remarkably easy to learn provided somebody familiar with the rules takes the first turn, and it's almost 100% strategizing together.

    I aalso suggest Fortune and Glory. It's got a pulp-adventure Indiana Jones theme where everyone is an explorer looking for lost artifacts, and it has both a few competitive modes and a cooperative mode where everyone is working together to race against Nazis. It's a lot of fun, and an action taken on one specific turn isn't going to completely sink one player's chances at contributing to a win.
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