How and Why Cooperative Games Work
This is the authoritative source on cooperative board games and card games for gamers, aficionados, critics, and designers, featuring a deep dive into co-op gaming’s titles, mechanics, theory, and frontiers.
You are on an epic mission to combat global plague. Or you are seeking out werewolves in an isolated village. Houses are on fire, islands are sinking, and enemy androids have infiltrated the fleet.
You can’t succeed alone — and victory requires more than understanding your teammates. You need to know the game.
Join experts Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline as they examine not only how cooperative board games work, but why. With more than 150 enlightening images showing principles and mechanisms of play in action, this book helps you see your favorite cooperative board games in new ways. Together, we look deep into the machines of great games to reveal how they work — and how we play.
Whether you want to play cooperative games better, discover your next favorite game, or design the world’s next favorite, Meeples Together is for you.
"This is the single most valuable resource to date for the design of cooperative games."
— Raph Koster, author of A Theory of Fun
"Meeples Together is a must read for any emerging game designer, and an interesting read for all hobby gamers."
— Richard Launius, designer of Arkham Horror
“Required reading for game designers of any kind, bursting at the seams with knowledge and notions. I’ll be stealing ideas from this for years.”
— Matt Forbeck, award-winning game designer and New York Times bestselling author
"Meeples Together will deepen your understanding of cooperative game mechanics and dynamics, as well as keep you entertained."
— Eric B. Vogel, designer of The Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game
“If you like cooperative game and game design, this is the book you absolutely need to read. It includes an incredible exhaustive and detailed work analyzing the history of cooperative games, and tries to answer these two essential questions: how it works, and why it works.”
— Bruno Cathala, co-designer of Shadows over Camelot
Everything you always wanted to know about cooperative games but were afraid to ask...and more! Absolutely [a book] to read!
— Serge Laget, co-designer of Shadows over Camelot
Table of Contents
Foreword by Matt Leacock (designer of Pandemic)
Chapter 1: The Basics of Cooperation
Part One: The Spectrum of Cooperative Gaming
Chapter 2: Styles of Competition
Case Study: Terra
Chapter 3: Styles of Teamwork
Case Study: Contract Bridge
Case Study: One Night Ultimate Werewolf
Chapter 4: Styles of Cooperation
Case Study: Pandemic
Case Study: Forbidden Island
Case Study: Forbidden Desert
Part Two: The Mechanics of Cooperative Games
Chapter 5: Cooperative Systems
Case Study: Flash Point: Fire Rescue
Chapter 6: Challenge Systems
Case Study: Robinson Crusoe — Adventures on the Cursed Island
Chapter 7: Players Facing Challenges
Case Study: Shadows over Camelot
Case Study: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
Chapter 8: Players Undertaking Tasks
Case Study: Arkham Horror 2e
Chapter 9: Adventure Systems
Case Study: Mansions of Madness 2e
Part Three: The Theory of Cooperative Games
Chapter 10: A Theory of Cooperative Gaming
Case Study: Space Alert
Chapter 11: A Theory of Challenge Design
Case Study: Ghost Stories
Chapter 12: When Games Go Wrong
Case Study: D-Day Dice
Part Four: Cooperative Frontiers
Chapter 13: The Psychology of Cooperative Gaming
Case Study: Hanabi
Chapter 14: Assembling the Puzzle
Case Study: SOS Titanic
Appendix I: The Basics of Game Design
Appendix II: Game Design Dilemmas
Appendix III: Game Design Types
Appendix IV: Game Design & Social Theories
Appendix V: Cooperative & Teamwork Game Synopses & Reviews
About the Authors
Christopher Allen writes about collaboration. He’s founded several companies focusing on social software, including Skotos Tech, an online game company where he aided in the design of Castle Marrach, Grendel’s Revenge, and Lovecraft Country. His Life with Alacrity blog talks about the principles of cooperation, collaboration, and governance while his Rebooting the Web of Trust workshops imagine the future of collaboration on the internet.
Shannon Appelcline writes about games. He regularly contributed to the defunct board-gaming magazine Knucklebones, while his Eurogame-focused Meeples & Mechanics blog contains over a decade worth of game analysis. He’s also long been involved with the roleplaying field, working for Chaosium and supporting lines like Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon. He’s best known for Designers & Dragons, a four-book history of the roleplaying industry.