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Board Games/A specific kind of cooperative games


Dear Don,

I'm looking for cooperative games with certain characteristics. These games can help me to determine which elements might be useful for a set of rules I'm developing for (the process towards) setting moral priorities as a team. I would really appreciate receiving recommendations (and explanations/links) about games that have all of the following characteristics:
- They are cooperative games (without traitors) in which the team either loses or wins (like Pandemic). There may be several teams, but none of the teams lose (so either everyone wins or everyone loses).
- The games are either not solved yet (like chess and go) or solved, but too difficult to play perfectly (all the time) for humans (like draughts).
- The games are abstract board games or can be easily changed into abstract board games (by for example using pawns instead of wizards).
- I like games that take minutes to learn and a lifetime to master and I dislike dices and games where you have to draw a card when you land on certain squares (like the Chance cards in Monopoly).
- The games can be rarely played variants of more common games (like Kriegspiel chess).
- Team members have to set priorities (because there are limited resources of time/players/et cetera).
- You get better at the game by playing often, but if you win that doesn't guarantee that you win the next time (because the game might proceed in different ways).
- Communication between team members is allowed.
- The game isn't over in a minute, but doesn't take days to complete either.
- If the game would be solved, a best move could be determined.
- The game is designed in a way that it's unlikely that team members blame each other for failing as a team.
- The players have to take turns, it's not necessary that all of them take the same amount of turns, but players shouldn't be idle for a long time.
- There are clear rules that every participating player interprets in the same way.
- Fair Play / Sportsmanship is obligatory.
- Good players recognize common patterns in play.
- It is possible to practice or study the game on your own.   

I know that this is a very difficult question so any help is highly appreciated. Thank you for reading my question, I hope to hear from you soon (but take your time if that helps you to give a better answer).    

Kind regards,


Hi Rick,
I was thrilled to read your question.  We are long overdue for games at the caliber you are describing.  It appears you have given much thought to the do's and don'ts of what you are looking for in cooperative games.  As I reviewed your list of characteristics, it became clear to me that most games do not share these characteristics in their rules.  As you know, most games in the general marketplace tend to follow more traditional patterns of win/lose, leaving a smaller subset of "cooperative games" that have rules that are typically outside of what you are looking for.  Hence, you are asking me this question.  I would really enjoy seeing at least one game that shares most of the characteristics you are describing, which would put you in a very unique position.  My guess is that there is probably a small number of folks outside of the mainstream of game production, who have tried to produce a game that shares at least some of your characteristics.  I would recommend doing something you probably have already done, which is to do a series of very specific Internet searches with well-crafted descriptor words to tease out these individuals or smaller companies.  I applaud you for your desire to come up with something at this level of cooperation and I would be glad to respond to any follow-up question(s) you might be willing to share.  Good luck in your search and let me know what your find out.  
Best regards,

PS:  I sent you a message about contacting the Program on Negotiation at Harvard University.  This program is among the most advanced programs in the United States that may have information concerning the topic you are describing in gaming.  They may have knowledge of games within the university environment across the nation or games that are currently being developed that may be of interest to you.  I am hoping that someone on their faculty may be able to assist us.

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I have expertise with answering questions about American board games since 1950. I have a special interest in family games. If I don't know an answer, I can assist with finding helpful resources. I am not an expert with answering wargame, eurogame and online board game questions.


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