I love a good cooperative game. There is something fun about working together in a group that adds a measure of enjoyment to a game. That must be why I always gravitate towards the craps table in a casino (well that and the dice). Everyone is working together towards a common goal (except those jerks betting the ‘don’t pass line,’ don’t be that jerk.), you win together, you lose together. But as much as I love a good coop game, sometimes I actually do want to beat down on some other players. So when I want to maintain that sense of camaraderie but still have an opponent, it’s time to reach for a team game.
When it comes to choosing a team game, there are actually a good amount of options out there. From the classic partner card games (Canasta, Hearts) to more unique offerings, there is something for just about anybody. For the purpose of this top ten list, I decided to set a few simple guidelines. First, there are no “1 vs many” games included. The “1 player vs” games just don’t feel like a team to me. So games like Descent, Betrayal at House on the Hill and Last Night on Earth are out. Second, there are no games included that are clearly 2 player with alternate 4 player rules. Usually these games play much better with two players and the four player rules just divide up the work of one player. So games like Stronghold, Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit and War of the Ring are out.
Other than that, anything is fair game. So grab a partner and get ready to crush your opponents as we present our Top Ten Team Board Games.
Top 10 Team Board Games
10. Road Kill Rally
Road Kill Rally is an entertaining game that has players simultaneously trying to win a car race while also attacking other drivers (and pedestrians). Players will equip their cars with a variety of weapon systems in their quest to obliterate other drivers as they progress through the race. Road Kill Rally is highly comical and a nice twist on your standard racing game. While the game can be played as “every man for himself”, we’ve found Road Kill Rally to be a lot more fun when you play in teams. You can have coordinated attacks, partner up on kills and playing in a team also adds a bit more strategy to the game.
9. The Phantom Society
We had a chance to check out The Phantom Society at Gen Con 2013 and thought it made for a good family game. One team takes on the role of the ghosts who must hide out in different rooms on the game board. This is done by hiding your token under various room tiles (each with different costs). The other team then takes on the role of the ghost hunters. They have to try and find the ghosts without causing too much damage to the house. The Phantom Society is easy to learn, quick playing, and will probably be a hit with your young ones at home. The ghosts mostly have to work together in the planning stage while the hunters have to actively make decisions together as they hunt.
8. Star Wars: Epic Duels
Long since out of print, Star Wars: Epic Duels takes iconic characters from the Star Wars universe (both classic trilogy and prequels) and puts them together in a giant death match. Players can go at it single handily or, more fun in my opinion, fight together as either the Rebel Forces or the Imperials. Each character is has a custom power deck, a painted mini and has one or two minor characters to aid in their hunting. The characters are all unique and their powers are tailored to their role in the Star Wars universe. Easy to learn and quick playing, if you can find a copy of Star Wars: Epic Duels, grab it. It’s a must own for any Star Wars fan.
7. Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game
Fortune and Glory has seen a nice bump in popularity thanks to its recent apprentice on the Tabletop web series. This game has players taking on the role of globe-trotting explorers searching for ancient artifacts and relics (think Indiana Jones movies). While this game can be played individually, we have found it to be much more fun in a team environment. Players can work together to overcome dangers and its way more fun to have someone to fight the villains with. The rules in Fortune and Glory can sometimes get a bit fiddly, but the game does accommodate up to 8 players. Playing in teams will also help keep the game moving quickly and allow players to have someone to strategize with.
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures (review)
Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures has, by far, the best components of any game on this list. The ships that come with this game look amazing. Instead of the character vs character combat found in Epic Duels, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures puts players into the cockpit of the iconic Star Wars spaceships. Thanks to a variety of expansions, players can now fly over a dozen different ships (capital ships soon to come). As a team game, each player will fly for either the Rebels or the Imperials, as you might expect. Whether playing one of the various missions that come with the game or just doing a straight up death match, X-Wing Minis is a very customizable and highly enjoyable minis game.
5. Memoir ’44: Operation Overlord
Memoir ’44 is a great entry level war game (grabbing the #1 spot in our Top Ten Entry Level War Games list). Utilizing Richard Borgs “combat card” system, Memoir ’44 can have you up and playing very quickly. Normally Memoir ’44 is a simple 1 vs 1 affair. However with the Operation Overlord expansion, Memoir ’44 becomes a 4v4 combat experience. One player will take on the role of the general and directs his troops (the other 3 players) by passing them command cards to use. To play Operation Overlord you’ll either need to buy the expansion or have a second copy of Memoir ’44 (and then download the free rules). Playing Operation Overlord is quite a different experience than vanilla Memoir ’44. If you have the chance to play this one, take it!
4. Dungeons and Dragons: Conquest of Nerath
Conquest of Nerath may have Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) in the title, but this is a war game at its heart. Players will take on one of the iconic races from DnD (Humans, Elves, Goblins, Undead) and attempt to dominate the land of Nerath. In addition to recruiting the expected soldiers, monsters, elementals,
and dragons, players can also recruit heroes for exploring dungeons to find them treasure. As a team game, it’s strictly a good vs evil affair. The two evil or good players will team up and work together to dominate the land. This works out really well as the races all play a little differently and have their own feel. Working together allows players to make up for some of their weaknesses and also coordinate attacks. And let’s be honest, it’s also a lot more fun to jointly crush your fellow opponents.
3. Battlestar Galactica (review)
Battlestar Galactica is probably the most unusual game on this list. It can start out as a fully cooperative game thanks to the hidden loyalty cards, but doesn’t remain that way for long. There are two factions in the game, the humans and the cylons. Thanks to the loyalty card, players don’t know who is on the cylon team unless the cylon player(s) choose to reveal themselves. This creates a fun atmosphere of mistrust, betrayal, and deduction. With enough players, you are guaranteed to have at least 2 cylons by the end of the game. One of the interesting things is that halfway through the game, another set of loyalty cards are dealt out. This means a human player can all of a sudden be moved to the cylon team, secretly of course. Near the end of the game, usually one cylon will reveal themselves to the humans and openly start causing havoc while the other cylon player will stay hidden and secretly work to help his teammate. Even if you are not a fan of the TV show this game is based on, it’s absolutely worth a play (Topping our list of Top 5 Games with a traitor). Battlestar Galactica is a well made game that’s both highly thematic and very unique.
2. Axis and Allies (and spinoffs)
This is probably the oldest game on this list and the least surprising. Axis and Allies is the classic war game set during World War II. Ideally suited for 5 players, 3 players will take on the role of the Allies (USA, Russian and Great Britain) while the other two players are the Axis powers (Germany, Japan). If you enjoy historical combat, Axis and Allies is both accessible, strategic, and a whole lot of fun. Players will be building up their forces, spend time assaulting other countries, and pretty much do everything you might expect in a war game. If you end up enjoying Axis and Allies, then you can also easily jump into one of their many spin off games (Pacific, D-Day, Etc..) as well.
1. Space Cadets: Dice Duel
The newest game on our top ten list and the one we’ve been having a lot of fun with recently. Space Cadets: Dice Duel pits two teams (up to 4 players per team) against each other as they attempt to destroy each other’s ship…in real time. Players each take on a few different roles on their team (weapons, helm, engineer, etc…) and will be frantically rolling dice as they try and out maneuver and out gun the other team. Space Cadets: Dice Duel can support from 4 to 8 players, but really needs at least 6 people to be the most fun. The game is fairly easy to learn and can be played in 20-30 minutes. Usually we end up playing a few matches in a row because the losing team always wants “one more shot.” If you are looking for a unique team game with a lot of constant and intense action, then look no further than Space Cadets: Dice Duel.
So there you have it. Our Top 10 Team Based Board Games. Whether you are looking for a war game, a racing game, or something more unique, there is something for everyone. Team games make for a great option when you want to have a partner, but don’t want to only play against the game. Think we missed one? Let us know in the comments below.