Published on August 13th, 2012 | by Matt Moberly

Are You Game? Cooperative Play – Forbidden Island

Are You Game? – Cooperative Play

In my Getting Started article, I mentioned that all games are made of a mix of game mechanics, just as recipes are made of ingredients.  Different games appeal to people with different tastes.  This series is aimed at helping you decide which types of games best suit you and the people you spend time with.  In this article, we will take a look at the mechanic of cooperative play.  Read on to find out more about it and discover a few popular cooperative games on the shelves today.

All for One

In most games, players compete with each other to collect the most points, achieve a goal the quickest or force each other’s armies off of a map.  In the end, one player typically stands victorious while the rest hang their heads in defeat.  But in cooperative games, players instead work together to achieve a common goal, while the game itself advances to stop them.  Like a band of brothers, a table of friends must pull together for a shared victory or bravely go down with the ship.  Co-operative play is ideal for playing alongside people with different strengths and skills.  Since the victory is shared, players can freely offer advice and benefit from each other’s insights.  Win or lose, cooperative games build a sense of comradery and create stories to laugh about later.

We will look at three current cooperative games that suit different audiences: Forbidden Island for families, Pandemic for a casual evening with friends, and Arkham Horror for an entire Saturday afternoon immersed in story.

Fun for the Whole Family

Forbidden Island

# of Players: 2 – 4

Suggested Ages: 8 and up

Playing Time: 30 min

Price: $15 – 20

Where to Buy: Barnes & Noble and Local Game Stores

Great For: Families

In Forbidden Island, players are dropped onto a sinking island and must race to collect the island’s treasures before the entire thing goes under forever.  Come together to trade cards, split up to bail water and snatch up the treasures, and reconvene at the landing pad to get airlifted away before the treasures and your team are lost at sea!

With a 30 minute playing time and simple rules, Forbidden Island can be played between dinner and bedtime.  Parents can let children make their own decisions but also give help when it’s needed, and the game is over before those with shorter attention spans get too wiggly in their seats.

In the next installment we will cover Pandemic and Arkham Horror.

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About the Author

Matt Moberly is a software engineer, native hoosier and Purdue University alum. He spends his free time playing music and roping family, friends and co-workers into tabletop games of all varieties.

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