Family Games – Part 1, Co-operative Games

Whether you’re a gamer looking to introduce your family to the world of tabletop games, or a family looking to spend a little more quality time together away from those devices, these are some of my favourite family games that are a hit with all experiences and ages, from kids to grandparents! In part 1 we take a look at the wonderful world of co-operative board games!

(I have included the recommended age for each game as well as the Board Game Geek community age rating where this differs from the publishers rating.)

Co-operative games

Co-op games are wonderful for families and beginners alike as you are all working together against the game. This means you are able to offer advice to younger players when it comes to their turn. Although I think it’s important that adults let the kids make decisions for themselves, pointing out all the options can be helpful when kids are learning the games.

Forbidden Island

2-4 players | age 10+ | 30 minutes | Gamewright

A group of intrepid explorers, you find yourself on a mysterious island in search of four relics. But the island is not what it seems and is in fact sinking in front of your eyes!

You must work together to keep the island afloat whilst searching out the relics. Your only way off the island is via helicopter so you’d better not let the helipad sink else you will go down with the Forbidden Island!

(BGG community age rating 8+)

Flash Point: Fire Rescue

1-6 players | age 10+ | 45 minutes | Indie Boards & Cards

In Flash Point you play as a team of firefighters with the task of putting out a house fire. The game comes with two modes: Basic and Advanced. Basic is perfect for kids to learn whilst Advanced also makes this a great game for adults (or kids who have mastered the basics) who want a more difficult game.

The youngest of children can also get involved in helping to roll the dice, which spreads the fire at the end of each players turn!

(BGG community age rating 8+)

Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective

1-6 players | age 10+ | 60-120 minutes | Ystari Games

If you or your children have ever enjoyed ‘choose your own adventure’ books, then I would highly recommend Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective! Armed with only a case file, map of London, directory and a newspaper you must follow clues and chase down leads to solves the crime.

Want to visit the scene of the crime? Find the name in the directory which will direct you to a excerpt in the case file. This may lead you to another clue or take you to a dead end. Peruse the mornings paper for seemingly mundane clues and break the case wide open!

There are 10 cases includes in the first set and many more available, so this game can provide hours or days of family time. And as there is no board, dice or cards to the game, it can easily be played gathered round on the couch, making it perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

(BGG community age rating 12+)

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

2-4 players | age 11+ | 45-90 minutes | USAopoly

As a self confessed Potterhead I can absolutely confirm that fans of all ages will absolutely love this game! Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is a deck building* game where you battle against the Dark Arts and Villains to save Hogwarts and various locations from the HP world.

It is a wonderful game for teaching the deck building mechanic to children and novice gamers alike as inside the box there are 7 smaller boxes, (representing the 7 years at Hogwarts) each one adding new elements to the game and gradually increasing the difficulty.

* For those unfamiliar with deck builders, the idea is that each player starts the game with a basic ‘starting hand’, these cards have purchase abilities (as well as some limited combat abilities) which allow you to purchase better cards from a marketplace. Purchased cards are then added to your discard pile, which will eventually be shuffled back into your draw pile. From the draw pile you draw your hand of cards, meaning over time you build up a bigger and better deck of cards to draw from!

(BGG community age rating 8+)

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon, featuring my favourite competitive board games for families and beginners alike!

3 thoughts on “Family Games – Part 1, Co-operative Games

  1. emptiful says:

    Great list! I’d also suggest:

    Pandemic: The Cure, which is the dice version of Pandemic, and a bit lighter/quicker, but still tense and challenging; and

    The Shipwreck Arcana, which shipped to Kickstarter backers recently, but is a co-op deduction game that involves some logic and maybe a bit of math, and has some wonderful art on big tarot style cards.


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