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Cooperative games put to the test: fight bravely to the rush of victory together


Opponents don't always have to sit at the gaming table: they can work together too. Those who think cooperative games are boring are missing out on great stories and shared successes - which are not easy to achieve.

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Board game "Harry Potter - Death Eaters Rising": no other player has to act as the evil overlord


Maren Hoffmann / DER SPIEGEL

The days are getting shorter, but that just means: the evenings are getting longer.

With it you can finally put something epic on the gaming table again, a game that you immerse yourself in like in a good film or a captivating novel.

The best thing is: You can play a part in it yourself and influence the plot.

But that doesn't mean it has to be complicated.

Many games take their fellow players gently by the hand and familiarize them with the rules on the way.

For families and groups of friends, there can be wonderful high-five moments of shared victory rush when you compete against a common opponent.

Unfortunately, many families only know the principle from the children's game »Obstgarten«, which has about as much to do with the high-end works of the game scene as an iPhone with a yoghurt tub parcel cord phone.

In most games, no other player has to mimic the evil overlord, because a clever mechanic made of cards or a companion app takes on the role of villain.

Here are four very good new cooperative games for the dark season - from simple and short to longer fun to board game epic.

"Harry Potter - Death Eaters Rising": Roll the dice against Voldemort

If you first want to try out what it feels like to fight with each other instead of fighting against each other, you will find a family-friendly and uncomplicated introduction here - most of the characters should know the characters from the Harry Potter universe and can easily find their way into the game story.

In the middle of the plan is the one whose name is not allowed to be mentioned (ok, we at SPIEGEL of course dare: his name is VOLDEMORT!), And points his wand threateningly at us.

We are students of sorcerers who stand together valiantly against the dark lord.

We fight with dice, our goal is to get the most powerful troops together - to do this we collect cards from allies or try to send evil Death Eaters to the wizard prison Azkaban. Once per turn, Voldemort also gets his turn and becomes active in one of the three locations on the round game board, inflicts damage on the Dumbledore team and tries to get hold of places like Hogwarts or Diagon Alley. At the beginning you only have a few dice, but if you manage to put together your wizarding team wisely, you gain clout and tactical options and have a chance of defeating Voldemort. The game, developed by Patrick Marino and Andrew Wolf based on the Rising games from US publisher The Op, has turned out to be a well-rounded affair. Easy to learn, with a relaxed, happy factor and beautifully designed.Not only Potter fans have fun plotting and rolling dice together.

For two to four people aged eleven and over, playing time around an hour.

"The Dwarfs Big Box": Not that small at all

The board game "Die Zwerge" is based on the five-volume series of novels by German fantasy author Markus Heitz.

But you don't have to know the books to enjoy the game.

We join together as a lively group of dwarfs in order to defend the "Safe Land" against all kinds of villains and to carry out glorious tasks - and that over, analogous to the books, five adventures.

The game has been around for almost ten years. The publisher has now packed everything that there is in the way of extensions to the longsellers by Michael Palm and Lukas Zach together in an opulent "Big Box". If you fancy a group or family project over several winter evenings, you are well served here: Each adventure lasts between one and one and a half hours, the level of difficulty can be adjusted depending on the composition of the round.

Each and everyone chooses one of the twelve dwarfs; one is particularly good at fighting, another may be able to help the luck of the dice on the jumps or is better on foot. The group should coordinate well so that nobody is left behind - because then everyone would lose. Trolls, orcs and albae oppose our brave dwarfs and spread over the plan if we don't stop them. Here, too, we fight with dice, but also have to keep an eye on politics - a side board is dedicated to the council of dwarves, which can give us advantages. A timeline ensures that the game doesn't last too long.

If you feel like trying your hand at a richly decorated fantasy adventure, but don't want it to be as complicated as with the really big knockers of the genre, you will get a lot of game with great atmospheric density without overly complicated rules.

You may have to search for the game in stores - it is already sold out in some online and offline stores, but will probably be back in February.

For two to six people aged ten and over, playing time one to one and a half hours.

»Aeon's End«: Colorful, evil magical world

Nasty, nastier or particularly nasty: In Kevin Riley's Aeon's End we have the choice of which enemy we want to face together. Should it be the Carapace Queen who hatches new horrors all the way down to the nose, or rather as long as a feeler? But would you prefer the insatiable one, rich in tentacles, or the disgusting birth hatred that is getting angrier and angrier? The story is actually a minor matter in this complex, cooperative game, which you can also play alone: ​​We are magicians, weak at the beginning, later (hopefully) stronger, who have to push back dark forces at the cracks of time.

Aeon's End is a so-called deck builder: every player has his own deck of cards, which is never shuffled, but which can be improved by purchasing additional cards. Every monster we face has a different fighting technique - and we have to use crystals, spells, artifacts and special abilities to counter it in a smart and coordinated way and bring its life points to zero before the same thing happens to us or our fortress.

Because the decks are never shuffled and only the turn order changes randomly from round to round, tactics are trumps - and you take a steep learning curve in the course of several games when it comes to working with other magicians.

It's great fun to tinker around together and again and again to somehow create something that seems to be impossible to create.

However, you have to groom yourself a bit.

The game is not a feel-good adventure with breaks to relax, but from round to round it is hard on the hat.

You have to like it, but it is highly addictive.

Supplies are then taken care of: there are already several expansions and a second independent basic game that can be combined with the other.

For one to four people aged ten and over, playing time 45 to 90 minutes.

"Descent - Legends of Darkness": It doesn't get any more epic

The box of the expensive, now completely redesigned classic »Descent« meets almost all the requirements of modern residential construction, that's how big the box, divided into two floors, appears with more than 40 detailed miniature figures and many map pieces. Almost. The board game epic, for which you need a free app that controls opponents and the story, is 26 centimeters high and almost 30 centimeters wide and deep. That sounds more annoying than it is - games like "Lord of the Rings: Journey through Middle-earth" have already shown that something like this can be integrated really elegantly. The electronic helper has the advantage that everyone can really pull together and that nobody is busy with administrative work - and that the regular reading can be kept within limits because the app offers a good introduction.

We play daring adventurers with up to four people who move through the fantasy realm Terrinoth (which also includes a number of other fantasy games). The game plan is constantly changing - in 3D! Before the first game there is a handicraft lesson: gates, dragons, pillars, chests, shelves, trees, portcullis, stairs, cauldrons are put together from cardboard parts. The app tells you which part of the map it starts with, where parts of the terrain are still to be found and where the heroes line up - and then the story begins. The giant box offers 16 scenarios.

The game itself is not very complicated and is full of the joy of discovery: in your turn you have three actions, you can scout, fight and move around.

You fight monsters with dice, find useful things that you can take with you on later missions, and constantly explore new rooms - sometimes over stairs or in dark basements, because it goes up and down.

This is not just decoration, it is relevant to the game because it is easier to fight down the stairs and you can hide under protrusions.

With each new chapter, the story evolves and is completely immersed in it.

You can do that alone if you can't find any players for the major project.

For one to four people aged 14 and over, playing time between one and three hours per chapter.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-10-23

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