Board games are an incredible way for children to play and learn valuable skills. However, they can get a bit competitive and it takes the fun out of gaming for some. Cooperative board games — where it’s players versus the board — are a sweet spot where competitiveness and teamwork meet to achieve a common goal.
Cooperative games allow kids to work together, forming bonds and connections while building positive self-esteem. Nobody is left out, and every player has something to bring to the table. These games push kids to work through challenges together by sharing ideas and considering one another’s tactics.
So, if you’re tired of hearing arguments about who won that last game, check out our list of the best cooperative team-building games for kids, sure to get them banding together.
🏆 Our Top Picks for Best Cooperative Games for Kids
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Best for Younger Kids
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Playing time: 20mins
Oh no! Someone stole Mrs. Pumpert’s treasured pie! And the culprit is trying to bolt out of town before he is caught! Will your detective skills be enough to catch him? Or will the sly hooligan escape without a trace?
Put your deerstalker hat on, grab a magnifying glass, and get cracking on the case. Players will use their deduction skills to gather clues as they move about the board. Roll the dice to reveal who the suspects are, then search for evidence and use the clue decoder to rule out suspects one by one. Get to the bottom of the mystery and catch the thief to win the game!
This game not only gets kids to use logic, deductive reasoning, and probability, but it also promotes teamwork skills that can help form bonds and friendships. They’ll need to collaborate to find the fox as fast as possible so that in the end they aren’t Outfoxed!
#2. Mole Rats in Space
Playing time: 20mins
You hear the emergency alarm system activated on the space station. Something has gone terribly wrong — snakes are invading! You and your fellow mole rats need to collect the equipment and escape immediately.
Work together taking turns moving the mole rats to collect all 4 pieces of equipment before heading to the escape pod. Use communication skills and strategic thinking to determine which pieces should be moved during each turn. Climb up ladders and sneak through the air shafts as you maneuver your way through the research station, being careful to avoid snakes and other various obstacles. If you get bit, you’ll need to go back to the starting point. If any of the mole rats get bitten twice, they’re out of the game.
The playful space meets animals theme will get kids laughing as they creatively problem-solve their way to a win. It’s a great game to play for fun and not for individual bragging rights. Even if the group isn’t successful in the first game, a short playtime and varying strategy tactics give the game a high replay value.
#3. Forbidden Island
Playing time: 30mins
Powerful hidden treasures can be unearthed on Forbidden Island for those brave enough to seek them. According to legend, the Archeans used these treasures to control Earth’s 4 elements. To ensure these artifacts never fell into the wrong hands, they were hidden on the slowly sinking island, where no one could ever recover them. Until now.
You and your team of fearless adventurers will work together to strategize how to gather the 4 artifacts and make it safely to the helicopter landing pad without the island sinking. Move about the island as you try to capture treasures while salvaging flooded tiles when possible. As the game progresses and the water continues to rise, you’ll need to make strategic decisions and sacrifices to make sure no pieces are sunk and removed from the board completely.
#4. Quirky Circuits
Playing time: 15-30mins
Help program robots to take over the world!
Okay, actually the robots will be doing no such thing, but in Quirky Circuits, you and your teammates will be programming robots. You’ll have a variety of tasks for your robo-helpers to complete before their batteries need to be recharged. There’s a catch — you won’t be able to communicate with your fellow players.
The game consists of 24 scenarios in which you’ll be presented with a robot and a task — like Gizmo, the vacuum cleaner that needs to collect all the dust bunnies before docking on its charging station again. Players will draw their action cards and lay them in a sequence without communicating with their teammates.
You’ll need to guess what the other players’ actions will be to efficiently complete the objective before the robot runs out of juice. As rules are added each round, the game builds in complexity and grows more challenging.
If you’re looking for a game that’s easy to learn and a great way to introduce kids to programming, this is a fantastic option. While there’s a bit of luck involved, knowing how to read the other players and silently collaborate together is a great team-building exercise.Quirky Circuits
#5. The Crew (Mission Deep Sea or Quest for Plant Nine)
Playing time: 20mins
Venture to the dark abyss of outer space or dive to the murky depths of the ocean on an adventure of a lifetime. Whether you’re searching for the mysterious ninth planet or the sunken lost continent of Mu, these sci-fi games will send you on an epic journey.
Players work together to help each player achieve their own individual objectives and complete the missions while maintaining restricted communication. The games span over multiple missions (Quest for Planet Nine has more than Mission Deep Blue) which grow in difficulty as you progress.
Both games are known for their unique twist on trick-taking, while also offering a puzzle-like element to their cooperative mechanics. The challenge comes from the combination of tricks that can be made, which make every game unique and stimulating.Amazon product
Playing time: 45mins
As soon as you enter the haunted grounds of Warwick Manor, you’ll feel an unearthly presence that lets you know you’re not alone. So, you gather the most illustrious mediums you can find and prepare for a séance, where you’ll meet a mute ghost who needs your help to solve the mystery of his murder.
Unfortunately, the ghost communicates solely by visions. You and your team of psychics will have just 7 hours to use your deduction skills to decipher the visions and gather clues from our amnesiac spirit. Will you be able to find the who, where, and how before the case goes cold?
Playing time: 25mins
Launch a dazzling fireworks display that spectators will remember for years to come!
To make this a truly memorable show, players will need to work together to overcome the obstacle of trying to organize the spectacle in the dark. Although your cards will only be visible to the other players, you will be giving each other important hints about what cards the others hold. If players can successfully direct each other’s moves, it’s sure to be a magnificent show that truly illuminates the night sky.
Hanabi is a cooperative game that helps players to build trust with their teammates as they’re blindly led to create a beautiful show that will leave the audience wanting more.
#8. Castle Panic
Playing time: 60mins
Prowling in the dark, ominous forests near your castle, a slew of orcs, trolls, and goblins have been plotting an attack, waiting for the right moment. You’ll need to defend yourselves and protect the castle as the monsters approach and seek to destroy your home.
Formulate a strategic plan, trade cards with other players, and slay monsters as you fight to keep your fortress intact through the attack. Although all players will work together in this cooperative game, only one player will come out on top and earn the title of Master Slayer.
Castle Panic is a fast-paced game that will have you on the edge of your seat. With a combination of strategy and luck, you and your friends can beat the vile monsters. When you’ve mastered this version, there are tons of different versions and expansion packs available, so the fun never has to end.Castle Panic
#9. Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters
Playing time: 30mins
“Who you gonna call?” Well, actually, in this game, you’re the ones who will be fighting the paranormal entities that roam about the house. You and your friends are on the hunt for the treasure, but every time you hear a door mysteriously slam, or feel a chilling sensation that makes your hair stand on end, you know the poltergeists are closing in to protect what is theirs.
Navigate your way through the home, searching the rooms for the treasures, but any time a ghost is haunting a room, you’ll need to battle them before you can claim the jewels. As the hauntings increase in number, you’ll need to request backup to seize the treasure. A roll of the die will determine if you’ve successfully vanquished the spirits. Collect all 8 treasures and make it out of the haunted house to win as a team.
Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters is an award-winning cooperative game that starts out seemingly simple, then suddenly you’re swarmed with ghosts wondering how you can pull it off. Kids will love the spooky theme, even when it’s not Halloween.Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters
#10. Cauldron Quest
Playing time: 20mins
Bring a little magic to the table with Cauldron Quest, where players need to brew a potion to save the kingdom! The evil wizard wants to cast a wicked spell over the land and only you can stop him! You’ll need to gather 3 potion ingredients and move them to the cauldron before the evil wizard blocks your path.
Roll the dice to inch potion bottles closer to the cauldron, cast charms, or even place blockades on the board. With a bit of collaborative strategy, a hint of magic, and a sprinkle of fairy dust for luck, players will be well on their way to saving the kingdom.
Young witches and warlocks will enjoy working together to create their enchanted potion and stop the malevolent wizard from casting his evil spell. Cauldron Quest is great for promoting strategic thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork. It has a fantastic fantasy theme that adds a little magic to playtime.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best cooperative board games for kids & teambuilding activities! These games are sure to get your kids working together and having fun while learning important lifelong skills. Make board gaming a family tradition!
Have you and your kids tried any of the games on this list? Did we miss any of your teambuilding favorites? Drop a comment below and let us know! We’d love to hear from you.