Toy Corner

Surprising Benefits of Playing Cooperative Board Games

Jul 01, 2024

benefits of playing cooperative board games

Cooperative board games offer quite a unique experience compared to the average board game. We are not trying to defeat each other but instead, we look to help each other succeed to get the victory. Due to this difference in strategy, there is a need to use a different set of skills, such as teamwork, communication and empathy.

These sets of skills are not only needed to win in the game but they are also great tools to have in our day to day lives, which is why I believe that cooperative board games bring a lot more benefits than just the average pastime. In this article, I will go through the benefits of playing cooperative board games and also some of the recommended games to play.

Understanding Cooperative Board Games

In recent years, there's been a significant surge in the popularity of cooperative board games. They're no longer seen as mere entertainment; instead, they're recognized as powerful tools for enhancing social interaction and strategic thinking. The appeal lies in their unique design which encourages players to work together towards a common goal rather than compete against each other. This collaborative approach has struck a chord with many players, transforming the way we perceive and play board games.

The main distinction between cooperative and competitive board games lies in their core objectives: while competitive games aim for individual victory, co-op games strive for collective success. In co-op games like 'Forbidden Island' by Gamewright, all players either win or lose together - fostering an environment that promotes collaboration over competition.

Moreover, these types of games often incorporate complex scenarios requiring strategic planning and decision-making skills – elements that offer intellectual stimulation along with enjoyment. For instance, 'Gloomhaven', ranked number one on BoardGameGeek’s list of top-rated board games since 2017, challenges players with intricate puzzles that necessitate teamwork for resolution.

dorfromantik board game

Cognitive and Social Benefits of Cooperative Board Games

Cooperative board games, it turns out, offer way more than just fun. They're a goldmine of cognitive benefits and social skills enhancement opportunities.

One of the prime advantages I've seen is their ability to enhance teamwork. These games require players to work together towards a common goal, fostering camaraderie. Moreover, cooperative games promote active listening as every player's contribution holds potential clues for success. It's not just about talking; it's about tuning in keenly to what others are saying.

Another aspect worth noting is the development of problem-solving abilities through such games. A game like 'Pandemic' is a classic example where players become disease-fighting specialists trying to treat disease hotspots while researching cures for each plague before they spread out-of-control.

Such thrilling scenarios demand smart strategies and quick decisions under pressure – skills that are handy in real-life situations too - honing one’s problem-solving abilities over time.

In essence, cooperative board games aren’t simply leisure activities – they’re interactive platforms promoting essential life skills subtly yet significantly.

Emotional Advantages of Playing Cooperative Board Games

Delving deeper into the benefits, I'll now focus on the emotional rewards gained from engaging in cooperative board games.

Playing these games offers an avenue for stress relief. Immersed in a world where cooperation reigns over competition, players find solace, reducing anxiety levels. It's no secret that laughter and enjoyment can lower stress hormones; cooperative board games provide plenty of opportunities for both. Additionally, achieving shared objectives sparks joy and satisfaction among players, leading to improved moods.

Cooperative board games serve as unique platforms for strengthening interpersonal bonds. Players collaborate towards a common goal, fostering trust and understanding along the way. They learn to appreciate each other’s strengths while supporting weaknesses, reinforcing mutual respect.

How Cooperative Board Games Foster Inclusion

Cooperative board games encourage inclusivity amongst players of diverse abilities and ages, promoting equal participation while reducing competition.

In cooperative board games, players with differing skills find a welcoming environment. For instance, these games often include roles tailored to various strengths – strategy-driven individuals might take on planning tasks, whereas creative thinkers could handle unpredictable scenarios. This flexibility allows participants to tap into their unique skill sets and contribute effectively towards a shared victory.

Furthermore, the age-friendly nature of these games bridges generational gaps. A game like 'Forbidden Desert', for example, offers varying difficulty levels that cater to both younger children and adults alike. Consequently, everyone gets a fair chance to contribute without feeling overwhelmed or under-challenged.

Unlike traditional competitive board games where players vie against each other to win, cooperative ones foster an atmosphere of shared responsibility. Each player's input is equally valued in strategizing solutions towards common goals – it’s not about who’s the best player but how well they can work together as a team.

Moreover, the reduced emphasis on competition mitigates feelings of defeat or superiority among players. Everyone shares in the triumphs, as well as setbacks - winning, isn't individual glory but collective success; failure isn’t one person’s fault but an opportunity for all to learn and improve together.

Ideal Cooperative Board Games for Different Age Groups

Cooperative Games for Children

A child's world is one of exploration and fun, making cooperative adventure board games an excellent fit. One game that we highly recommend is Big Potato game's What Next? Board Game, it is an entertaining party game designed for 3-6 players, typically aged 12 and up. The game revolves around making predictions about various scenarios and situations. Players are presented with incomplete stories or scenarios, and they must predict what happens next. This is an excellent board game as it encourages discussions, creative thinking and debates to consider what are the best outcomes to do next.

what next? board game

Options for Adults

Adults aren't left out in this exciting world of cooperative play. My top two picks include the gripping 'Pandemic' where players become disease-fighting specialists working together to treat infections while researching cures. It's a race against time that tests strategic thinking and teamwork under pressure. Another gem is 'Dorfromantik', an invitingly tranquil tile-placement game with captivating aesthetics that inspires creativity as you collaboratively build landscapes.


That's the scoop on the benefits of cooperative board games. It's clear they're not just about entertainment - they offer a slew of cognitive, social and emotional perks too. They're tools for team building, communication enhancement and problem-solving skill development. Even more, they gift us stress relief and mood upliftment while fostering empathy and personal growth. If inclusivity is your concern, you'll find these games are excellent at bridging gaps, be it age or ability-wise. As for game choice, there's something for everyone from 'Outfoxed!' to 'Dorfromantik'. So next time you're planning a family night or friends gathering remember that cooperative board games aren't just fun; they're beneficial in ways we often overlook. Here's to smart play!