how to make a board game cooperative

Previously, I’ve shared my thoughts on why I like cooperative board games for children. Now I would like to provide you with some ideas of what to do with the good children games you have and how to make a cooperative board game of a competitive one. Or how to make them less competitive so you can focus on playing and not fighting each other:

If the game has scoring.

Scoring in “Looney quest” board game

That’s probably most of the board games. On our shelf, we have “Kingdomino”, “Loony quest”, “Herbaceous” and more others (including our new favourite “Cosmogenesis”). Count your points together. You can even make an achievement table of how many points you managed to get together playing each time. It’s kind of what a lot of solo games do – you are running against your previous scores.

If the game is a “racing” game.

All turtles on the finish line in “Ribbit”

Here one player wins when he discards all the cards, comes first to the finish line or gets a certain amount of stars, points, etc. These are classical “Uno”, “Ligretto”, “Ubongo” games, and also nice “Animal upon animal” and “Ribbit”. Then you can play until everyone wins and do not focus on who was the first. “You finished the game, now it is my turn to get rid of my cards (put all the animals, come to the finish line)”. With “Ribbit” we often tried to get all the turtles to the finish at the same time. It still keeps the game interesting, try yourself!

If a game plays simultaneously.

“Spot it” board game

And the player who got the most points or cards wins. We have “Spot it” as an example here (and trying to teach Niko “Galaxy trucker” this way also). In this case, you can play turn-based. If you want to add some speed you can set a common timer. So, “let’s count how many cards we will take together in 3 minutes”. 

Other dexterity games.

It is more complicated to make a cooperative game from a dexterity game like “Jenga”. When the tower falls you cannot do anything with it. However, when my son was 2 years old and we played it we were focusing only on making the tower higher but not on who made it fall. 

Do you have any other ideas how to make games more cooperative? Have you ever tried to play your game this way?

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