Published on August 31st, 2012 | by Matt Moberly
Are You Game? Cooperative Play- Pandemic and Arkham Horror
It’s the End of the World As We Know It
# of Players: 2 – 4
Suggested Ages: 10 and up
Playing Time: 60 min
Price: $30 – 40
Where to Buy: Barnes & Noble and Local Game Stores
Great For: Couples and Casual Gamers
Pandemic is the big brother to Forbidden Island, by the same designer. Pandemic features a team of researchers and field operatives working together to treat a handful of epidemics before the planet is overrun and humanity is doomed! Each player has a special ability that makes him or her a unique part of the team. Play takes place on a map of the world, where colorful cubes represent growing numbers of infected citizens in each of the world’s major cities. Players collect cards and use them to travel, establish research centers and develop cures. But hurry, time is not on your side! Each turn, cards are drawn from an infection deck to determine where the diseases spread next.
Pandemic has a lot of fun tension and interesting decisions to make. The way diseases move across the map and continue to spring up in problematic areas is very clever. With a 60 minute playing time, Pandemic would be a great game to play with friends while getting together for dinner. It could even be squeezed into a lunch hour with co-workers. Mark it on your timesheet as a team-building exercise!
At the Mountains of Madness
# of Players: 1 – 8
Suggested Ages: 14 and up
Playing Time: 3 – 4 hours
Price: $40 – $70
Available At: Barnes & Noble and Local Game Stores
Great For: Fans of H.P. Lovecraft, Storytelling and Fantasy Theme
Based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Arkham Horror is a sprawling game of mystery and action in the town of Arkham, Massachusetts. While something unspeakable stirs in its sleep, gates to strange lands in other dimensions are opening around town. A small band of residents fights monsters roaming the streets and collects clues about how to close the gates before something terrible comes through. This game has the strong feel of a 1920s pulp novel. The rules and playing time, like the unseen threat looming on the horizon, are not for the feint of heart. It’s also a space hog; with all of the cards out, this game can take up an entire dining room table.
If the idea of becoming a character in one of Lovecraft’s novels appeals to you and you have a group of friends who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do some hand to hand combat with cultists, witches and zombies, Arkham Horror promises a full afternoon or evening of very immersive play. With lots of locations in Arkham to visit and many decks of cards contributing to the plot, you will certainly never play the same game twice. There are also quite a few expansions to the game that add locations and characters from different Lovecraft novels, making the game as epic as you want it to be
So that’s a quick look at cooperative play. If the idea of rallying together to save the world or maybe just loot some forbidden treasure sounds like a fun night to you, give one of the above a try! If you’ve played any of these or other cooperative games, weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.
For more discussion of other game mechanics, see the links at the bottom of the Getting Started article.