Cooperative games are board games or card games in which all the players win or lose together rather than competing against each other. We love this approach to play. Eric and I want to encourage cooperation rather than competition, particularly within a family unit — and as an added bonus, nobody has to lose, feel inadequate, not play as well as he/she could due to being the grownup, etc.!
Orchard (by Haba): Gorgeous game with little wooden fruits and eensy real baskets. It’s almost entirely a game of luck, but it’s quick, not boring, a sensory pleasure. Unfortunately, as with so many games, the pieces are appealing chokables: we haven’t played it since Simon was born.
Richary Scarry’s Busytown: Eye Found It: A satisfyingly huge board and great fun. We all like that there’s a skill component (if the spinner stops on Goldbug, everybody tries to find some particular object in the pictures on the board — all the mailboxes, for instance — and moves farther on the board if the group finds more objects). This one has gotten years of regular play.
The Yoga Garden Game: A great concept, but not really a great game. It’s extremely nonlinear (which admittedly makes sense for a yoga game, but still …) and sometimes seems to go on forever. Noah likes it, though. The fact that it involves doing yoga poses is fun; I just wish there were a greater sense of purpose or momentum as our little bee token travels ’round and ’round the circle on the board.
Stone Soup (by Peaceable Kingdom): A matching/memory game in which players work together to make soup for the community. The game’s instructions include a short version of the ‘stone soup’ folktale, and it’s easy and fun to find more at a library. Well-made, attractive, and fun … especially for me, since I’m by far the least adept member of our family when it comes to memory games. Except for Simon, for now.
Race to the Treasure (also by Peaceable Kingdom: check out their site, everything we’ve tried from them has been awesome): A fun, well-made, quick game built on a grid system (so, it teaches that concept). Get to the treasure before the ogre does, and the group wins!