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58

What is a game? There's some argument about what exactly constitutes a "game" in academic and design circles. Going by Salen and Zimmerman's definition from Rules of Play: A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. Cooperative games still have rules and definite win/...


31

The biggest thing I can think of is limited knowledge. Hanabi is a cooperative game where each player has access to different information (no one can see the cards in his or her own hand, but can see everyone else's cards). As soon as different players have access to different information, playing by yourself becomes impossible. The other examples I can ...


19

BoardGameGeek's advanced search can be used to find a large list of co-op games. You can then sort or filter this list in several helpful ways. This form is a little bit daunting, but powerful. From the "Board Game Mechanic" list, select "Co-operative play". You will probably also want to check the "Filter Expansions" box and, if you are interested in widely ...


16

Simultaneous choice is another method of forcing players to stumble over each other a bit. Space Hulk Death Angel uses this to great effect - players have to choose between their available actions, placing the card facedown, before all choices are revealed simultaneously and then executed in order. Robo Rally can be played in teams, and there you can really ...


13

Check out http://boardgamegeek.com/ and play with the advanced search feature. You'll find everything you need. It probably will be a better source of knowledge than your local game store, as BGG is not limited to what it has on the shelves and does not try to sell you something. (btw, the game you played was most probably K2) The link to boardgamegeek ...


7

Not going to better Alex P's great answer, but I just thought I'd throw in a comment: it depends entirely on what you consider a game to be. Based on the question, it sounds like you consider a game to be a strategic competition between participants (nothing wrong with this view of course!). In this case, cooperative games can become barely a game at best. ...


6

When we play games, we strive to come up with optimal strategies. Optimal means that the strategy can be adjusted to suit changing circumstances, whether the circumstances are created by opponents' strategy, or by the game itself. If a game is poorly designed, then such an optimal strategy will be too easy to find, and too simple and easy to carry out, even ...


6

In addition to @GendoIkari's excellent answer, a possible way to force the need for multiple players is to force simultaneous action with time constraints. Space Alert, for instance, requires that all players react to imperfect information and is simply too fast to plan perfectly.


5

A game whose game states are too complex for a single player to handle is another way to require multiple players, although this is subjective to the player or the design of the game. For example, Sentinels of the Multiverse is a cooperative multiplayer game where each player makes decisions for a single a character and the players cooperatively track the ...


5

One of the best ways to keep it interesting is to have the players competing against the system (eg as a team of firefighters trying to put out a fire) and award points for, e.g. each civilian saved; the player with most points wins. The old Avalon Hill game 'Republic of Rome' took this to a new level; the players are factions within the Senate, and you ...


5

Sure. There are several reasons you might want to do this. Obviously if there's a monster that will threaten you, and you're worried about it, and your opponent can't kill him on his own, you may want to assist. On a more strategic level, you may want to cooperate, especially if there are more than 2 players. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tit_for_tat ...


4

The social contract does most of the heavy lifting The social contract is an unspoken agreement between all the players of the game as to how the game should be played to maximize the enjoyment of all the players. (Sometimes it's a spoken agreement, especially in tabletop roleplaying games. Regardless, it's always present.) The goal of a game isn't to ...


4

There is really not much that you can do in rules to totally eliminate this problem, but you can try to reduce it. One possibility is to implement catch-up mechanisms so that it is rather unlikely that a player falls so far behind that (s)he has no chance of winning any more before the game is close to the end. Another one is to have all or at least part of ...


4

A cooperative game is a game because it has a win and a loss condition. You are playing against the system. Play worthiness has nothing to do with it. Tic-Tac-Toe is a game, just not a very good one.


4

You have Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, in which the goal is to find the truth in the smallest number of steps. You can never lose to SHCD, you can simple have a very bad score. In Shadows over Camelot, each quest will give you either white or black swords. The game ends when the players collected 12 swords or more and they win if more than half of ...


2

Not to beat a dead horse, but I think there's a more elegant/universal definition of a game that also answers your question. Taking a page from game theory, A game is any procedure where the player(s) can make choices which influence the outcome. This definition suggests that there's no meaningful difference between competitive and cooperative, or even ...


2

Semi-Cooperative games Another option is "semi-cooperative" games. Legendary is a good example; at the end whomever saves the most bystanders and beats up the most villains is the "biggest winner", but if the players fail to cooperate they could all lose together.


2

Andrew provides an excellent answer, I'll just add one more option. Randomness can prevent "alpha player syndrome" to an extent, by making the outcome of choices uncertain. In a deterministic game with no hidden information, some actions are objectively better than other, and the alpha player will campaign for these. If there's an element of randomness to ...


2

Have you played Space Alert or Escape? Both these games force co-operation by use of a soundtrack. In Space Alert things can go awry that cause you to be delayed or bump into each other and it is different every time. While a regular player may have ideas things can still go completely wrong and screw their plans. You have to co-operate to win and even ...


2

Having "The Dictator" hijack decision-making in co-op games is never much fun. However, it should be said that in many of the real-world situations such co-ops model, dictators are built into the system in the form of a chain of command. If the guy at the top wants something done, it will be done. With that said, dictators in true co-ops can be fairly ...


1

Real Time games Another option is to have your game happen in real time. Damage Report and Captain Sonar both happen in real time, and everyone needs to be doing their part all the time, so there literally isn't time for one person to be "alpha gamer" ... Though one could argue that the captain in Captain Sonar sort of needs to act as an "alpha gamer" for ...


1

By the nature of it being a co-op then everybody wins. I can't anything specific in those rules to say an eliminated player doesn't win so I wouldn't rule that just those surviving are winners. It seems very against the spirit of a co-op game to try and claim you won solo unless thats specifically in the rules such as Archipelago where everyone wins/loses ...


1

I can think of a couple of situations where assisting another player without being able to rally might be beneficial to you. If not doing so will most likely lose you the game - If an opponent has the summoning stone, and is rolling many more dice than another player, it may be useful to help that player damage the summoner. You will most likely be wounding ...


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