Losing graciously is a tough skill to master for children–and, let’s be honest, for some adults as well. Cooperative board games with everyone working together to reach a goal can help ease the disappointment of competitive kids who always want to win.
If you’d like to avoid sending anyone to timeout this International Tabletop Day, here are five suggestions for family-friendly cooperative games to play for a tantrum-free day.
It’s a whodunit for detectives as young as preschoolers as players search for clues to unmask a pie thief. Players work together to roll dice and move around the board, uncovering clues to the thief’s identity. With the help of an ingenious clue decoder, players can rule out suspects based on what those wily foxes are wearing. (They really do know how to accessorize.)
The thief is also on the move, however, so the rolls of the dice can also move him or her ever closer to their escape. Can all of the detectives find out the identity of the thief in time?
Ages 5+, 2-4 Players
There are rabbits running wild, and it’s up to you and the other players to round them up in this dexterity dice game. Set up the fence pieces in a square and drop the rabbit dice into the pen. The rabbits are loose!
A turn begins by rolling the action dice. A fence piece or a rabbit dice is moved based on the roll. Depending on the face showing on the rabbit dice, players can wrangle that rabbit into the middle of the fences. Players aren’t just setting rabbits gently into the pen; they’ll also be flicking them across the table to make them bounce just as enthusiastically as a real rabbit. Everyone works together to get those rascally rabbits into the pen in this unique game from Gamewright.
Ages 6+, 2-4 Players
If you’re planning a longer gaming session with the kids on International Tabletop Day, look no further than Mice and Mystics for your game of choice. As a bonus family activity, paint the miniatures that come in the box before game day.
Your family’s dungeon crawl begins with one of the chapters in the included storybook. Choose your characters and their miniatures, select their abilities, and your family is ready to enter the kingdom of Prince Collin and his loyal companions. Mouse and enemy minis are placed on the board, and the initiative cards are shuffled and laid out so battle can begin. Mice can move, fight, scurry, search, and more on their quest to meet the chapter objective.
Wil, Anne, and Ryan Wheaton and Nolan Kopp played Mice and Mystics as a family on TableTop. Watch their adventure unfold to get an idea of how to play this cooperative game.
Age 7+, 1-4 Players
Dungeon Fighter is another cooperative adventure for the family, but one that you can finish in an hour or less. It’s also not your typical dungeon crawl. Rather than simply rolling dice to defeat monsters in the dark depths, you and the kids will be tossing dice in all sorts of hilarious ways at a game board target to land an attack.
Each monster faced has different values for health, attack, and gold. A toss of the colorful dice at the target reveals how much damage the hero inflicts by where it lands on the board, and possibly activates the character’s special abilities.
But it’s not as easy as chucking the dice at the target; players have to toss the die while jumping, with their eyes closed, under a leg, and more. Make it all the way through the dungeon as allies and defeat the final boss to win the game.
Age 10+, 1-6 Players
Castle Panic is a cooperative tower defense game that has players working together to defend the castle against an approaching horde of monsters. The board is divided into colorful zones and specific areas for the encroaching army, with the castle in the center.
As trolls, orcs, and goblins approach from the forest on the edges of the game board, players attack with the cards face up on the table and turn the monster tokens to show the current hit points.
Wil Wheaton and friends take on the monstrous attackers in a 2012 episode of TableTop. Will they survive the approaching invasion?
Age 10+, 1-6 Players
What’s your family’s favorite cooperative game? Tell us about it in the comments.
Featured Photo: Plaid Hat Games
Other Images: Gamewright, Plaid Hat Games, iello games, and Fireside Games