5 Board Games Like Pandemic That Offer A Rewarding Co-Op Experience

Zack Downes
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Let’s face it, there are few things in life more satisfying than saving the world from near certain doom together with your friends!

The term “Co-op game” originates from the shortening of the words “Cooperation” and “Game”, thereby describing a game that is played entirely between two or more players, where the group tries to accomplish a goal by working together (cooperation).

If you’ve ever played Pandemic before, you know it’s one of the best cooperative board games available to play.

But don’t fret if you haven’t had the pleasure, this article addresses three key factors you’ll need to consider when looking for a board game that fits your criteria and also takes a look at 5 of the best board games similar to Pandemic:

{1}. Number of Players: Just how many of you will be playing?
{2}. Short or Long-term game: Is this something you’ll be playing once a month with friends, or a game that you’ll play for hours on the weekend?

NameCategoryProduct
Arkham Horror Third EditionBest OverallArkham Horror Third Edition
Forbidden IslandBudget PickForbidden Island
Days of Wonder Shadows Over CamelotUpgrade PickDays of Wonder Shadows Over Camelot

1. Arkham Horror Third Edition

Our rating: 9 / 10

Arkham Horror Third Edition

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2. Betrayal At House On The Hill

Our rating: 9 / 10

Betrayal At House On The Hill

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Pros:

  • Players begin with free reign to explore the House
  • Content is ever-changing
  • Has an indoor map and a flashlight
  • Adds a lot of depth to the game.

Cons:

  • Board game is hard to store
  • Game can take over an hour to play

It's virtually impossible not to draw similarities between this title and Pandemic. It certainly isn't a bad thing, however. Just like the popular and critically acclaimed Pandemic title, Betrayal at House on the Hill is an intense strategy game for 2-6 players.

The game offers a lot of replay value due to the fact that each game is different depending on which floor of the house you explore. You can also add more content to the game to add elements of randomness, increasing the chances that each play will be different.

3. Days of Wonder Shadows Over Camelot

Our rating: 9 / 10

Days of Wonder Shadows Over Camelot

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Pros:

  • Complex and well-designed
  • Intriguing game that offers a challenge
  • Numerous and detailed miniatures
  • Highly dynamic game play

Cons:

  • May feel too long for some people
  • Expensive, considering the length of the game

This is a pretty complex game that is closely allied to the original Pandemic game. Some of the mechanics are similar or identical. For example, the concept of curing cities in the same area is the same. But there are considerable differences that you will experience, such as the role of Merlin the magician.

In Pandemic, you have a chance to work on saving the world from a viral outbreak. In Shadows Over Camelot, you happen to be following a pattern of tragic events which seem to be repeating themselves. You role-play the character of one of the Knights of the roundtable who have a difficult quest to fulfill in order to save Camelot.

The game itself is interesting in that players are also allowed to use hidden roles. You may need to challenge another member of your clan, or vice versa. These roles are unique and varied, and require you to rank high in a particular trait in order to win.

4. Gloomhaven

Our rating: 9 / 10

Gloomhaven

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Pros:

  • Intuitive mechanics
  • Strategic fast-paced game
  • 6 to 8 hours of play time
  • Perfect for two players

Cons:

  • May be too simple for some gamers
  • Takes a long time to get started
  • Players need to work together to win

Pandemic is one of the best games of all time for its unique and streamlined gameplay. It is a cooperative game where players act as a team to cure diseases from across the globe before they wipe out humanity.

Gloomhaven is the best alternative to Pandemic, because it offers the same satisfying cooperative gameplay. Players must face off against a dungeon master as they work through card-based battle encounters.

While Gloomhaven does offer some light-hearted fun, its heavy-duty gameplay that looks more like a board game than a physical game. This is perfect for fans of Pandemic, who are looking for a similar-type game that plays out like a board game.

5. Forbidden Island

Our rating: 8 / 10

Forbidden Island

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Pros:

  • Ideal for 2 to 4 players
  • Cooperative play
  • Easy to understand instruction manual
  • For players ages 10 and above
  • No dice rolls
  • Non-stop action
  • Each time a player loses all of their island pieces, new pieces are placed
  • Can set different levels of difficulty for the players

Cons:

  • Requires at least two players
  • Set-up times can be a little bit extensive
  • Some claim that it’s a little too short

Some potential buyers have claimed that this game is unrealistic in the sense that players should not be able to place pieces where they please. Others still have found themselves wanting to play this game more because of its simplicity and quick setup.

This game is fantastic for learning how to listen, communicate and to work together as a team. It makes for the perfect game to play with family members or to bring out when you have some friends over for the evening.

Conclusion

Board games are one of the best ways to bring people together; a few hours of fun, laughing, shouting, and joy. Anybody can become a game master and revivify the old, abandoned classics that are cluttering your family’s closet.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Arkham Horror Third EditionBest OverallArkham Horror Third Edition
Forbidden IslandBudget PickForbidden Island
Days of Wonder Shadows Over CamelotUpgrade PickDays of Wonder Shadows Over Camelot