14 of the best cooperative board games for two players

From Mansions of Madness to Horrified and Stuffed Fables, these are the best two player cooperative board games around.
best co-op cooperative board games snallygaster situation

Board games are a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. They can frighten you with silly scares, challenge you with complex puzzles, or send you on a grand trip through space and time. While you can play board games any way you like, the best experiences are often shared – and cooperative board games are no exception. Grab a friend, and you can have a blast playing through epic tales together.

Whether you’re journeying through a strange fairytale or attempting to fight off evil villains in a haunted town, there are plenty of spectacular cooperative board games perfect for quieter gaming sessions. From monster romp Horrified to Cthulian mystery adventure Eldritch Horror, these are the best cooperative board games for a great two-player experience.

The Snallygaster Situation: Kids on Bikes

snallygaster situation kids on bikes
Image: Renegade Game Studios

The Snallygaster Situation: Kids on Bikes is a perfect co-op board game for those who enjoy spooky tales starring wily and adventurous kids, like Stranger Things or Stephen King’s It. In the game, you and your friends will embody a pack of kids who start to notice strange sounds in their hometown, as monsters begin to crawl out of the woodwork and threaten peace and safety.

One of the players will go ‘missing’ as a lost kid, and the other player (or players) must then work alongside them by interpreting clues to their location, as a doom tracker counts down the hours. Should it reach the end, the fate of the lost kid is grim – but until the timer runs out, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to discover new clues by travel through your town, and searching every corner amidst mounting danger.

Chronicles of Crime

chronicles of crime game
Image: Lucky Duck Games

Chronicles of Crime is a great co-op detective game for anyone who loves a good mystery. In this hybrid digital and physical board game, players will put on their best Sherlock Holmes by analysing clues presented in crime scenarios, and working towards a logical conclusion. As time goes on, more clues are presented, with a slowly-unfolding story being revealed as players discover new secrets, and scan special QR codes within the Chronicles of Crime app.

The base game includes five major scenarios, but players can also expand this offering with a number of extra packs – including the excellent Redview expansion, which focusses on strange things happening to a group of kids in Maine in the 1980s (just like The Snallygaster Situation, there are shades of Stephen King here).

Stuffed Fables

stuffed fables best co-op games
Image: Plaid Hat Games

Stuffed Fables is a whimsical storybook-based adventure board game where players work together as odd little ‘stuffie’ creatures who are stuck in a nightmarish world. As a ‘stuffie’ each player will work through various challenging scenarios, utilising their small size and combat capabilities to jump through hurdles, take down creatures, journey through dungeons, and survive terrifying circumstances.

The action of this adventure is determined by a flip book, with multiple chapters diving deep into Stuffed Fables mythology, as players rely on each other (sharing dice, protection, and skills) to tackle each puzzle in the game. While you can romp through this dark story with multiple friends, it’s best played in a quieter, more intimate setting for dramatic effect.

Marvel Champions: The Card Game

co-op board games marvel champions
Image: Fantasy Flight Games / Marvel

For a light-hearted co-op board game with plenty of style and easy-to-learn gameplay, you should have Marvel Champions: The Card Game on your radar. This card-based heroic adventure game tasks you with conquering a range of Marvel villains, with each player embodying an iconic Marvel hero. Utilising this hero’s special abilities, players will work out the best strategies to take on rampaging bad guys, with each successful defeat advancing a campaign-based story.

While this game relies heavily on imagination, with minimal use of tokens and actual game boards, the slim design makes it extremely accessible for players of all ages, particularly those with little tabletop experience. All you really need is to understand the components on each card – and then you can hop into battle, playing through an epic story with your chosen favourites by your side.

Andor: The Family Fantasy Game

andor family fantasy game
Image: Leah J. Williams

Andor: The Family Fantasy Game is an aptly-named cooperative board game – because it really is perfect for anyone in the family, particularly kids. This fantasy adventure allows players to embody a band of troops who set out to rescue wolf cubs in a dangerous world haunted by a terrifying dragon. In each turn, players will travel through a variety of obstacles, uncovering hidden secrets on a map, and attempting to avoid the dragon’s gaze.

If your party can save the wolf cubs before the dragon reaches the end of its track (your kingdom), the game is won. But with each move, you risk the dragon getting closer – so Andor: The Family Fantasy Game becomes a light strategy feast the longer you play.

For a meatier challenge, this version of the game is technically a ‘Junior’ companion to Legends of Andor, which features similar movement-based co-op gameplay determined by a heartier story and more complex tasks.

Eldritch Horror

eldritch horror board games mystery
Image: Fantasy Flight Games

Eldritch Horror, part of Fantasy Flight’s Arkham Horror brand, is a gorgeous, world-hopping mystery game where players work together to defeat terrifying beasts and solve eldritch crimes before the world is overtaken by darkness. In the game, you and other players embody skilled detectives, each working to uncover a global conspiracy that threatens to bring back the horror god known as the Ancient One.

As you progress through the game, you will discover new mysteries to solve, travel the world uncovering clues, and make hard decisions about your path forward. Along the way, you’ll need to contend with the risk of injuring yourself in battle – but also being driven mad by the strange and uncanny magics you encounter during your investigation.

This requires a balancing act, and for every player to work together as the darkness in Eldritch Horror advances, and the Ancient One draws near.

Escape The Dark Castle

best co-op board games two players
Image: Themeborne

Escape The Dark Castle is a co-op board game that opens with players in a dark and cavernous dungeon ruled by monsters. As escapees from a strange prison, it’s your job to conquer a deck of villains as you roam through each dungeon floor and discover new dangers around every corner.

The whole game takes around 20 to 30 minutes to complete, making your romp through the dungeon a quick and brutal adventure. You may not make it to the end, but being able to discover new cards with every turn is a real joy — and sometimes, if you get lucky with your dice rolls, you may even see what happens when you finally ‘complete’ the game.

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Escape The Dark Castle can be played solo, but it’s a perfect two-player co-op adventure that’s quick to learn, constantly surprising, and a real blast to conquer as a team. It can be frustrating when your third and fourth run-through still don’t yield victories, but the enjoyment here is in the chase.

The Adventures of Robin Hood

co-op board games robin hood
Image: Kosmos

The Adventures of Robin Hood is a multimedia board game that includes a ‘hidden door’ adventure map alongside a novel-length book that guides you along the way. In this co-op journey, you’ll embody Robin Hood and his Merry Men on a wild path through Sherwood Forest, with every outcome determined by your choices. No two games are played the same, and you’ll need to make important group decisions as you encounter enemies and deadly puzzles along the way.

This is a game that requires a longer time investment, so you won’t be able to dip in and play it with just anyone (the game remembers your choices with each chapter) but for those looking for a Dungeons & Dragons-style experience in a board game box, you won’t find much better than The Adventure of Robin Hood.

Making each turn is a real joy, and the game itself is a stunner filled with gorgeous art, and unique character-driven tales. Anyone who enjoys a well-told story or a board game with innovative ideas should give this one a go.

Mansions of Madness: Second Edition

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

Mansions of Madness is a hybrid digital-physical co-op board game experience where the action takes place on spooky tiles, and also on an app. When you load up the app, you’re given a horror-inspired story, and told exactly where to place tiles, and how your characters can interact with the world. There are secrets underneath every token, monsters to fight in frantic, deadly battles, and plenty of new worlds to explore with every creepy tale.

The horror themes of Mansion of Madness may turn some off (it includes references to gruesome injuries and terrifying Lovecraft-inspired beasts), but the gameplay here is incredible, and works well on all fronts. The app provides a great deal of atmosphere, and the art of the physical game is delightfully gross. As one of the best co-op board games on the market, Mansions of Madness deserves your attention.

If the horror themes prove to be a bit too much for you and your player two, you can also check out Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, which uses the same hybrid digital engine.


horrified co-op board game
Image: Ravensburger

In Horrified, you and your team are tasked with an impossible quest: defeating a slew of classic Universal Monsters before they terrorise and destroy your town. Working in co-op, you and your fellow players will strategise and plan the best ways to kill each monster, analysing their weaknesses and working to thwart their plans.

Each monster moves differently around the map, and has their own nefarious goals, so this is one game you can play and replay, with different outcomes every time. You won’t always save the town, but you will always be taken on a ride.

While Horrified does look fairly complicated, it’s actually got a simple game system that’s easy to understand, and minimal messing around with tokens and cards. It’s just you, your goals, and one doomed town in this frightful experience. With the likes of Dracula, The Wolf Man, The Mummy and The Invisible Man bearing down on you, bringing a friend is strongly recommended for success.

Unlock! Adventures

co-op board games adventure unlock!
Image: Leah J. Williams

The Unlock! adventure co-op board games are based around the ‘escape room’ concept: you get cards featuring a variety of mystery items, and it’s your job to combine them to solve complex puzzles and ‘escape’ your in-story location before the time runs out.

There’s a bunch of themed adventures in the series already, including a cowboy tale (pictured above), a Star Wars series of escapes, a story set in Ancient Greece, and a bunch of original romps, too. Each adventure features a number of puzzles, some of which are very complicated — and that’s where your chosen buddy comes in.

You can easily play these games solo, but you may find yourself getting stuck on certain puzzles. Some are fairly straightforward: combine flour, eggs and milk to create a cake. Others are wildly obtuse, and require lateral thinking that always works better with two heads.

No matter which way you play these games they’re a bunch of fun, but they are best with two players.

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Fallout: The Board Game

Image: Fantasy Flight Games

Fallout: The Board Game is a really interesting translation of the Fallout video games, and introduces modular, exploration-based gameplay to your tabletop nights. You and your co-op teammate will start this board game as lonely Vault Dwellers in a hostile land filled with secrets. As you travel, you’ll flip each game tile to reveal new locations, discover quests, and battle iconic Fallout creatures, like ghouls and supermutants.

There is an element of chance in what you find in the game, but that’s what makes the whole experience so engaging. Some tiles will yield nothing, while others may flip to reveal a powerful Deathclaw enemy, or even a coveted weapon that can help you conquer quests faster and level up your character.

This board game comes incredibly close to replicating the true Fallout experience through its exploration mechanics, and while there is some clunk in learning the rules (you’ll need to set aside a good half hour to learn the game), it’s still fantastic to play with mates.

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island

Image: Portal Games

Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a dense game that requires a stubborn and/or patient group of players to really get into – but once you’re over the game’s steep learning curve, you’ll find a brilliant, exploration-oriented adventure. Even from the name of the game, you can understand what it’s about: you and your teammates are shipwrecked on a deserted island, and will need to survive (and thrive) under hostile circumstances.

Part survival-sim, part adventure story, the Robinson Crusoe board game sends players off into the world with mini-tasks to first establish a campsite, then build habitats and weapons, and eventually set off for adventure across the mysterious island.

Like Fallout, it uses tile-based exploration, and every mission here has the potential of yielding special rewards, or certain doom. It’s a difficult game to learn and master, but it’s incredibly rich once you know what you’re doing. With every turn there’s new events and items to discover, and plenty of well-earned treasure waiting just over the horizon.

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion

Image: Cephalofair Games

Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a slimmer version of Gloomhaven, the massive co-op fantasy board game adventure filled with magic, mystery and mayhem. While the original version of the game is a genuinely whopping box filled with more tokens and papers than you can keep track of, Jaws of the Lion is much simpler and easier to learn.

It’ll still take some getting used to, particularly for players who are unfamiliar with board game mechanics or the world of high fantasy, but it’s absolutely worthwhile diving into Gloomhaven – and this is the best entry into the series.

Here, players will be able to choose from four unique characters, and set off on a hairy journey through taverns, forests and deep dungeons. The action is controlled by a flip-book, which features each locale players visit, and makes traversal a much easier task. For a fully-immersive fantasy adventure with minimal complications, Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion is a great co-op board game option.

While there are plenty more great co-op board games around, these titles are our favourite starting points for players of all experience levels. The best thing about modern board games is there’s something for everyone, and you’re sure to find something that works for you here.

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Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.