Because I have four blogs one of which updates daily, I limited this blog to just 1 post every two weeks. However I decided I want to make this blog a little more personal than just a game review every two weeks. So as well as the fortnightly review update I decided I will also do a fortnightly ramble or publish a mini review or a new scenario or game variant of my own… you get the picture.

Anyway, this week I wanted to talk about Co-op games. I have never played such a game, except I guess for Werewolf, which doesn't really count. However a couple of weeks ago when I was researching my Birthday list I became spellbound by the idea of Battlestar Galatica from Fantasy Flight Games.

I love the idea that all the players win or lose together (with the exception of the Cylon), the only games I’ve played before like that are the Dark World series published by Waddingtons. Yes the team defeats the evil overlord as a team , but they do so individually and at the end they count up points to find a winner so the comparison really breaks down quite easily. I also play a lot of Dungeons and Dragons, where again you work as a team to achieve objectives, however such games are on going and not constrained to board game mechanics so I wouldn't classify those as Co-op either.

So in short, to me, this seemed like a unique concept. I liked the idea of being able to put out an email to my friends and invite them to join my crew, to me the game sounds like more of an event than a game and that was really appealing. However… I ended up not buying it for two very good reasons. The first was that the friends I would be inviting to join me aboard the BSG are away a lot, we would play maybe once a year and the second reason was that my other gaming group, my family, would baulk at the idea of playing a sci-fi game (philistines!)

However that got me interested in seeking out other co-operative games and I soon found Shadows Over Camelot and Pandemic. The theme of the first would definitely appeal more to my family gaming group. However, from the description the game just failed to capture my imagination the way that Battlestar did. The second game, Pandemic, however really got me fired up.

There are a few reasons why Pandemic wins out over BSG and SOC in my opinion. The first is that it is cheaper and having never played this style of game before means that if I don't like it, I’ve wasted less money. The theme is a little more neutral than either of the other two, where one group might really like sci-fi but hate fantasy, or vice-versa, I can image that neither group would have a strong opposition to Pandemic's theme of world domination via virus. The final reason why I think I will eventually try Pandemic first is that it is truly co-operative, unlike BSG and SOC that both thrive on the idea of a traitor working against the group (an idea that I love, don’t get me wrong). This makes the game simpler to teach and understand and players can get to grips with the concept of working as a team without turning on one another in the hopes of catching the traitor.

Pandemic also has just had a new expansion released. The rules to both games are available online here and here (Click to open PDF’s in your browser or Right Click and Save Target As to save a copy to your computer). Having read the Pandemic – On the Brink expansion rules, I have to say, I’m itching to play this game! The expansion adds three new challenges, each of which are very thematic and include a scenario where one player is working against the others.

So… err… I guess that’s all I have to say on the matter. If you think I’m wrong or you have anything to add, maybe other Co-op games that are even better than these three, please feel free to leave me a comment. I read all of them and always respond. All input is greatly appreciated. Until next week…

Don’t forget you can support Unboxed and help me buy more board games to talk about by clicking on IGUK banner or any of the direct links in this blog, I get 5% credit on all your purchases :)