Philly Hops Team Building in New York

Team Building Activities – Cooperative Games for Team Bonding

These days, the term ‘cooperative game’ (aka co-op game) has been trending in the design industry. whether the subject is digital games, analog games, team games or any form of interactive media, the root concepts are being explored and developed at a rapid pace. At first glance, the concepts seem simple to grasp:
  • Co-operative Interaction is a very different (perhaps opposite) way to connect with others, other than competition
  • Co-op may be a healthier way to interact.
  • Co-op skills can relate and transfer to every other aspect of everyday life, business and social.
These concepts are proving valid with every successfully designed cooperative gaming experience.
  • Many people enjoy and even prefer co-op games to competitive ones.
  • Co-op games often encourage and expose positive qualities in players.
  • Good co-op games are used to teach team skills, such as leadership, active listening and consensus-formation,
I’d like to explore the notion of cooperative games in an effort to dissect the many ways the concepts can be applied. The ways co-op experiences are designed and operate can vary greatly, and may contain vastly different elements. In truth, ‘co-op game’ is such a broad category unto itself. My intention is to identify more specific categories. With this effort, I hope to inspire creativity in new designs and broaden the perspectives of those who may think they know everything there is to know about the ‘genre’


This is an experience where cooperative behavior and strategy are 100% required to participate in the game from the very start. Notions of competition would be completely off-topic and would not even integrate into the experience, not even as an option. There is an implicit understanding that players will be working together to achieve goals, if they want to engage at all.

Games like this can be played in different ways, competitive or co-op, and the choice is left to the individual players or group. The design allows equally enjoyable and valid experiences either way and may be ‘organic’ in the process of simulating that entire experiences (and outcomes) can be based upon player and group choices.

A design that allows for both competitive and cooperative play but cleverly rewards co-op moreso than competitive actions and strategies. Sometimes, this encouragement will be very obvious from the start, or may appear later in the game. In other cases, the agenda will be cleverly hidden and only through receptive play will some realize the encouragement is there.

A game where each player can choose the style with which to engage. While some players may choose to compete, others might connect and work together as a sub-team within the game. This type of design can also lead to another….

An experience where the players either organically, or through a stated process, form into separate teams. Once formed, the teams will compete with each other. In this 3way, players are cooperating on one scale, yet competing on a larger scale. 

Unlike the Team Coop, the formed teams never compete. They then work with each other team for a common goal.

These activities are mostly competitive, but allow or encourage players (or teams) to barter resources as part of the game. This could be viewed as ‘Unwilling Co-op’ as the players probably would not cooperate by trading if they didn’t need to. Of course, these categories are broad on their own, and many games will share/overlap in the elements. There are more types of Co-Op games, many that have yet to be invented! Whether you are interested in this phenomenon as a player, an organizer or a designer, I hope these insights provide some inspiration, If you believe co-op experiences are an important part of the future of human interaction (as I do), please help support them and do your best to explore the topic further!