Crusaders Games

Strategy (Co-op)

The list is for strategic co-operative fantasy games that stand out for their theme and gameplay. Similar to co-op adventure games, these are likely to feature less exploration and character development to focus more on strategic options. I do not own many of these but these are my favourites i have played :


1. Nemesis – Awaken Realms (2018)

This is a co-operative survival game set on a dark space ship, and with revealing rooms and a strong aliens theme. The production quality of this game is high, the spaceship board is huge and double sided to give alternative play options, the rulebook is colourful, room tiles and tokens are all thick and solid, and models look great. Each of the six characters in the core set have unique skills and strengths and you will play to survive and escape from the ship, but with your own secret agendas and objectives to complete, some of which can be traitor style if selected. Playing Nemesis is an absolute blast, you awake from hibernation unable to remember the exact lay out of the ship, and have to investigate and uncover the various rooms turn by turn. Upon entering each one you create noise in the corridors and vents, until eventually your presence is enough to trigger the appearance of an alien. This game quickly fills with tension and you will soon each be needing multiple rooms or items to survive or remove contamination, as well as ensuring the ship is not destroyed by fire or mechanical breakdown. Towards the end you will be dragging your broken body towards the escape pods or hibernation chamber, afraid you will alert intruders at just the wrong moment. Games comes with a random set up and objectives, and the co-op storybook campaign has been excellent to play through. It has real atmosphere and interactive co-operative play, and is one of the best games i own.

 

2. Darkest Night 2nd Edition – Victory Point (2018)

A co-operative or solo adventure game, where the world has been ravaged by the evil necromancer, and is covered in blights, tainting the seven core locations. As the last heroes you must search for clues to locate missing holy relics, which will provide a way to defeat this enemy. Heroes start with 3 power cards, and these will help you directly support each other, increasing dice, or maybe provide unique abilities. There are 29 characters to choose from, and all have their own theme and attributes to try out, it has so much variety. The game features a darkness tracker which builds tension and increases the difficulty as time progresses, but your hero adventuring will bring new powers or treasures to help you. The production on this 2nd edition is now amazing, from artwork, large tarot cards, thick tokens, large and small board choices, and the hero standees are lovely, with miniatures an extra option but not being a necessity. This game presents loads of strategic choices, co-operative interplay and a develops a kind of storyline narrative too. It is close to being included in the adventure section, as heroes do develop and upskill and there are different events each game, but the board is static and you are not really exploring random areas, so i feel this is best placed as strategy co-op game.

 

3. Nemo’s War 2nd Edition – Victory Point (2017)

This is specifically designed for solo play but can be co-operative, merging an adventure storyline with strategic battling against the ships which slowly fill the seas of the earth. You will captain the nautilus to search for treasure, discover scientific knowledge and wage war, and each game you can choose one of four motives for success, which change the end goal emphasis. The game flows smoothly and its not overly complex, with most actions allowing you to wager extra influence on the dice roll by gambling the welfare of the crew, the ships hull or nemo’s own abilities. It has great theme, and whilst it has adventure event stories and encounters which change each game, it is very strategic in nature and the initial board locations do not change each game. This is a great but tough solo strategy experience to win, with so many choices to be made on the way.

 

4. Ghost Stories – Repos (2008)     (not owned)

This is a great co-operative game, protecting a village from legions of ghosts that are attacking each round. Each monk player has a unique ability to use for the benefit of the team, and the village tiles you defend each offer advantageous benefits and so each turn you have choose the best place to be. This is a tough game to win, but once you are familiar with the village tiles it all comes together and is not overly difficult or long to actually play, and you spend more time thinking about your turn than in fiddly updating mechanics that other co-operative games often have. It is just one of those games that works really well and requires interactive teamwork to succeed.

 

5. Spirit Island – Greater Than Games (2017)     (previously owned)

A strategic co-operative strategy game where your island is being invaded by colonists and players use different spirits to help the natives fight them off. Each spirit has its own theme and core strength such as earth, river, fire, nightmares and combining their powers together will be key to your success. This game is strategically deep, you must initially control your own area of the board, expanding and building your powers over the course of the game, giving a real feeling of progression. You can try out alternative powers and combinations, plus there are varied map configurations, and with the different spirits there is a huge amount of replay value. This is a more complex game with many little pieces on the board and the end of round update admin is quite high, but the design is really clever. It has an excellent solo game too, and seems more manageable with one to two players than higher player counts which has more downtime.

Previously Owned Outdoor Fantasy Adventure Games… due to space and funding restrictions i regularly trade out games to try newer ones, producing an ever changing favourites list, but one of these games may be right for you.

Robinson Crusoe – great worker placement survival game with an exploratory feel, but really tough and a little complex and lengthy to play

Legends of Andor /  Eldritch Horror – good co-operative survival games but replaced by Darkest Night 2nd Edition

Pandemic – the classic co-op but i find it a little repetitive to play even the legacy versions with storyline – Iberia is my favoured edition