For the ultra-competitive, the idea of cooperative games is pretty lame. Then again, they're probably exactly the ones who need to play them, if for no other reason than to chill out and learn how to "work well with others." And honestly, there's something really satisfying about achieving a common goal, even if it's with little plastic and cardboard pieces.
In Forbidden Island, players work together to get artifacts before the island they're on sinks into the ocean forever (at least until the next time you play, anyway). Pandemic unites players against a deadly plague sweeping the earth, challenging them to eliminate the disease before it eliminates humanity. You can probably guess the objective in The Lord of the Rings Game.
Elsewhere we've emphasized the valuable character-building elements of game play, and these are exemplified nowhere better than by these titles. Players aren't out to protect themselves and beat everyone else, they're called to use their skills and strategies for the good of everyone concerned.
For Christian families especially, this is an excellent theme to establish and cultivate. We don't want to raise kids who seek only their own gain and pleasure, we want godly children who will serve their neighbors and love their enemies. While these games don't explicitly promote this attitude, their nature inherently points to it.
That's not to say these aren't just plain fun games. Some of them are ridiculous, too (in Red November you play as a gnome submarine crew). At the end of the day, there's just as much to be said for having fun and laughing as a family or with friends, and these games are certainly condusive toward that end also.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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