Team based card and board games
September 18, 2023 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Looking for team based card and board games appropriate for teens. Not necessarily cooperative (Pandemic or Forbidden island), but games that can be done like 2v2. We have a younger person who feels like they "always lose" if playing solo, but they're ok playing team with another teammate. So far the only one we have enjoyed is Skipbo using 2v2 variation. (Games not specifically designed for teams but can be done so would be great too.)
posted by roaring beast to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sequence is fun and team-based.
posted by umber vowel at 8:17 PM on September 18, 2023 [1 favorite]


There are quite a few good team-based guessing games: Codenames, Decrypto, Monikers, and Wavelength.

If something more explicitly adversarial (but also team-based) is more your teen's wavelength, then Captain Sonar is hilarious.
posted by Paragon at 9:49 PM on September 18, 2023 [3 favorites]


If you are open to a game that uses an app and is very interactive, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is really fun.
posted by CleverClover at 9:56 PM on September 18, 2023


Codenames - one player gives clues, the other guesses. There are many variations including pictures, co-op, and themed/branded versions.

Ticket to Ride's Asia expansion includes a team version for 4 or 6 players. Communication is limited between team members; you can't talk about your tickets or color cards. You can only communicate by how you play your turn and by which cards you put into your team's joint pool.

Pandemic's In the Lab expansion includes a team mode, where the game overall is still cooperative, but teams also have secret objectives and some separate resources. I haven't played this one. You need to have the base game and also the first expansion On the Brink in order to play.
posted by expialidocious at 10:03 PM on September 18, 2023


Spirit Island is pretty great, though it's coop not 2v2.


Guards of Atlantis II is explicitly team based, considered best at 4, but you'll need to be ok learning a game that's more complicated!
posted by Carillon at 10:44 PM on September 18, 2023 [1 favorite]


Seconding captain sonar, code names and decrypto.
posted by poxandplague at 11:34 PM on September 18, 2023


When you say "card games" I presume you mean modern specialty card games, but have you considered traditional games that use standard playing cards?

Pinochle is my family's card game of choice but in a pinch I'd play spades, euchre, etc.

My brother has passed the tradition along to his kids and most of the time I've spent with them has been across a pinochle table, with much trash-talking going on. Once they caught on to the rules and basic strategy the kids were pretty into it. They were about the age it sounds like yours were when they got seriously competitive and they loved being able to compete on an even footing against the adults in the family.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:56 AM on September 19, 2023 [2 favorites]


Mille Bornes is fun. We play 2x2 teams.
posted by belladonna at 2:52 AM on September 19, 2023


Traditional games Nerd didn't name: Whist, contact bridge. Curiously, whist is easier because it's harder. The higher information level in bridge rewards the analytic mind.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:04 AM on September 19, 2023 [1 favorite]


Canasta is generally 2 v 2, although with one exception, you're not supposed to confer with your teammate. My friends and I taught ourselves to play from a book as teenagers and we sort of all agreed to allow a little bit of game talk between partners. This makes it more fun all round, but the downside is that it's hard to play with anyone who's playing strictly. Since I've barely encountered anyone else who knows how to play canasta, it's not been an issue, and I'm glad that I've learnt to play one old school classic card game!
posted by pianissimo at 7:50 AM on September 19, 2023 [1 favorite]


Nthing codenames. It goes pretty quickly, and switching up the partners makes it feel more fair to everyone. Poetry for Neanderthals is great too, it's a 2v2 "explain this clue using only one syllable words" game. For both of them we tend to filter out clues that aren't fair for the younger kids (words they woundn't know, etc). Also you get to hit someone with an inflatable club if they mess up.
posted by true at 8:03 AM on September 19, 2023


It’s old school, but Pictionary is also great for teams. It’s been ages since I played Cranium, but I’m pretty sure it is as well.
posted by Mchelly at 8:17 AM on September 19, 2023


Mind Mgmt is a hidden movement game that can be played team vs 1 or team vs AI (on a phone with an app).

Agree with Spirit Island above too. It is a co-op game, but generally each player sort of "handles" their area and asks for help when they need it. It deals with quarterbacking by being so complicated that you sort of have to focus on your area, instead of with hidden information. So a player who would be more comfortable leaning on someone else can within the confines of the game because there isn't any hidden information.
posted by cmm at 8:18 AM on September 19, 2023


Mysterium (cooperative, but you need someone to be the ghost, so minimum 3 players). We played this with a wide range of ages last holiday and had a ton of fun. This party game list also has good ones!
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:10 AM on September 19, 2023


2nding canasta - great card game to play in teams of two.
posted by koahiatamadl at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2023


Canasta. Cribbage. (Please, please learn Cribbage. More people need to know this game!)

We've played Catan in teams. We've played Cards Against Humanity in teams. We've somehow started normal Monopoly in the normal way and it evolved into teams. (Even more amusing if it's 3am and its devolved into our own "cheater" version.)

We'd even adapted Uno at one point, but that's been at least 10 years since I played it that way, and I can't remember the rules the kids came up with. Swapping cards across one for one, maybe, if you didn't have a card to play and your teammate did? Might have started with larger hands, too, to make the rounds last longer. Or maybe drawing cards, the number was doubled? There was something that meant we occasionally ended up with a ridiculous number of cards.

An awful lot of normal games can be twisted somehow into teams/cooperative if you're willing to experiment, even if they were never intended to be played that way.
posted by stormyteal at 1:10 PM on September 19, 2023 [2 favorites]


Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a semi-co-op with a single winner (you're building a castle with each of your neighbors, and you win based on the lower of the two scores).

The Crew has two versions, both trick-taking co-ops.
posted by DebetEsse at 2:52 PM on September 19, 2023


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