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How to Play Together

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10 May 2022 10:09 #332979 by oliverkinne
I know you can group games in all sorts of...

Co-operative games come in all shapes in sizes, just like any game. So there should be something there for anyone, irrespective of what you're looking for, as long as you want an experience where everyone works together to win the game as a team. In this article, I look at a handful of different types of co-operative games, giving examples of games that fit into the category, so that, hopefully, you can find something that suits you.

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11 May 2022 10:35 #332980 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic How to Play Together
I have been playing a lot of co-op games in the last couple of years due to the pandemic, partly because most co-op games also work well as solitaire games. I like playing co-op games where there is a lot of tabletalk about strategy and tactics, but enough limits on information that we ultimately leave it up to each player to decide how to play their turns. This includes games like Arkham Horror 2nd and Escape from 100 Million B.C. Marvel Champions is another favorite, though the sweet spot for co-op play seems to be 2 players. But in recent years, I have been leaning more towards semi-cooperative games, where players have the potential option to abandon or betray teammates. My favorite semi-cooperative games are Camp Grizzly and Saltlands.
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11 May 2022 22:23 #332992 by mc
Replied by mc on topic How to Play Together
My favourites are the ones where not everyone has the same information and can't communicate it. It's not about ruling out alpha play, it just feels more interesting to me generally. So a good example is the Grizzled. The non-communication part isn't large, really, but what I like about that one is that it really does create an interesting feeling among the players. You are a little platoon of WW1 soldiers in a trench on the western front and the aim of the game is to try and make it to the Armistice without anyone dying. Every round you play cards in to the middle and there are rules about how many symbols are allowed and so on. But the great part is, as time goes on, players get "hard knocks" - either they can't face certain cards being played (gas, rain, artillery shelling, etc), or they develop, essentially, an aspect of PTSD, so they might have to play more cards because they have become reckless or what have you. At the end of the round, players make a decision about who they will give "support" to (represented by coffee!) - which can help get rid of hard knocks. It creates this really nice thing where when a player does something really frustrating if you are trying to win, it's like, "are you kidding me!!!" but ALSO there's this sympathy at the same time, because you know it's not their fault.

Anyway - good stuff.

Of the ones with the information available to all - I think what I don't like about these is that they feel more puzzle like, which is just not really why I game. I like the drama and emotion as described above in the Grizzled; if the game could be played by me alone, which, basically, you can if all the info is out there to everyone, then it just feels like some kind of puzzle.

But having said that, sometimes that puzzle is good, especially if it is not a mechanical puzzle (how can we create enough cubes or remoev enough cubes with this many actions). So, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective to me is a great co-op; you have all the info, sure, but there's so much discussion about what the clues mean etc. I really like the analogue nature of it - it feels historical - but, we have also enjoyed the Chronicles of Crime game, which uses an app. The 1400 one in particular.

I also do like semi-coop but that's just a separate thing altogether to me, feels very different. Really what I like about those is the shared incentives, which you can get in straight competitive games too. Love a bit of "okay, I'm going to do this to help out another player, let's see if I can do that but then leapfrog above them because i've eked out the deal just a bit more in my favour". That's what semi-coops are about to me. Sure the traitor stuff can add some interesting levels to it but it's more about giving players a sniff so they help you but not so much so they can beat you. (I suck at it).
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27 May 2022 02:55 #333314 by oliverkinne
Replied by oliverkinne on topic How to Play Together
Thank you all for your comments. I'm glad there is so much love for co-operative games out there.

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