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Top 10 Team Building Games

Team building games eldritch horror

Team Building games. The term for loose cooperation towards a common goal. Long term allies, temporary friends, and even reluctantly working towards the same goal. There are many boardgames that cover this very topic and can be used to embody the values of Team Building. Games that teach you to trust but to always keep your eye on the endgame goal for the greater good. There is also the opportunity for betrayal and learning to adapt to changing conditions which is also, a key element of building a good team.

10) Eldritch Horror

An Elder God is threatening to consume the world and the only thing standing between them and ultimate destruction is a group of ragtag adventurers who must globe trot, adventure and battle Cthuloid monstrosities. A game that relies on the unique powers of its characters and delegation of tasks to what suits each one better. Each character brings something beneficial to the table and the synergy between them is what achieves victory. To give a direct example, the combat characters work a lot better if they have better weaponry given to them via a support character pulling powerful artifacts from the reserve and shipping them directly through another character who has been hoarding train tickets.

It is a strongly thematic game and a challenging one at that. But key is knowing what your character does well and playing to that strength. It is also a lot easier when a variety of different characters are picked. With a good mixture of fighting, support and utility classes. There is a moment in every game for each character to shine and contribute towards victory. It also has a lot of changing elements and variety that no two games are ever the same as each Elder God plays differently and portals appearing in different cities can make for a vastly dissimilar game as well as the selection of heroes drastically changing how you play each game. This helps make it one of those team building games that also plays extremely well solo!

9) Salem 1692

In a similar vein to Mafia or Werewolf. Salem 1692 is a social deduction game based on the Witch hunts of the eponymous title. Players are assigned a town role and potentially the role of the Witch. Each round sees players accuse each other as they try to identify said Witch and the Witch themselves tries to bump off the various townsfolk. It stands out against its competitors by having more active abilities through drawing cards from a deck on top of unique villager powers. It is a lesson in abject cooperation and feigned innocence.

A great game for larger numbers of players it is an ideal icebreaker and gateway game for non-gamers. It is also sure to produce those memorable moments and tense climatic endings that go down in a gaming groups history. The presentation is also worth highlighting as every element lends itself thematically to the period. Each villager is based on an actual historic personality and the worn book that comprises the box fits nicely on any bookshelf. The rest of the series are also valid picks but I feel that Salem 1692 is the best of the social deduction and accusal style games.

8) Oath

Oath, from the creators of Root (another one on the list of team building games) is the epitome of the temporary alliance. The game focusses on the Chancellor and the exiles. The chancellor starting strong and trying to defend their crumbling empire as the exiles swarm around. Gaining power and waiting for the right moment to strike and claim the Oath for themselves. The alliances come in the form of bribery, coalition and reluctance. The Chancelor can offer powerful artifacts in exchange for an exile flipping their tile and becoming a citizen. Giving immediate troops to the chancellor in return.

The exiles will also exist in an uneasy peace as they wait for the opportune moment. This is often where temporary deals will be made. Provines will change hands, artifacts become bargaining tools and then everyone attempts to betray each other anyway. It is a game of empire building and diplomacy hiding behind a whimsical façade. It also has non-destructive legacy elements so that you are constantly reminded of what happened in previous games as the world slowly warps due to the cards being held by the winning player. It is a game that teaches consequences to actions while also encouraging a certain teamwork by arm’s length.

7) Zombicide

Zombicide is a cooperative team game. But more importantly it is a team game with friendly fire. There will be many moments where one character may unintentionally block the firing lines of the others if communication is not used. This is where zombicide becomes good. The teamwork and table chatter in the face of a zombie horde is a core component.

There is also the punishing system for selfish players. The higher the group xp, the more zombies…but the xp is calculated by the highest-level character. This means that there is a desire to keep all the characters levelling evenly as to not get stuck with a bunch of low-level characters being carried by one higher one. This is the juggling act that you need to keep in the air. Weapons, kills and positioning all need to be kept linear else one player triggers a zombie horde that only they can survive.

There is also often the potential for sacrificing for the team. One character can delay a horde if they are killed by it. A tactic that often spares the others. Or in one circumstance, winning the game by gunning down an ally that did not make it to the chopper in time…I did mention the friendly fire, right? I'd say friendly fire makes it a very good choice on the list of team building games.

6) Lord Of The Rings : Journeys In Middle Earth

A vast game that spans world movement, skirmish combat and rpg elements through branching dialogue. Journeys in Middle Earth is an app driven cooperative game with a lot of agency. You can mix and match characters with various classes to create unique combinations. A rich and gripping story takes you through various parts of the Middle Earth chronology. You have an overarching goal but you also meander with side and personal quests as your customized fellowship campaigns through the lands, battling orcs, trolls and various evil sorts.

Division of loot and consensus on story choices are what builds the trust between the party and it is a very gratifying experience to take a campaign from beginning to end. Not unlike a game of D&D. It has those familiar feeling of adventure but tinted with the occasional personalized quest for a specific character, often rewarding them with a powerful unique item. It is also the spiritual successor to Star Wars: Imperial Assault but with a more polished app experience and more character choice.

It is also a game where no character will be sufficiently good at everything to carry a whole campaign. If you want to hit all the side goals and optimal route then you need a balanced party with all the various roles fulfilled. It’s all good having strong fighters but you will come to regret not bringing a ranger or a hobbit thief along in order to spot ambushes and discover secret treasure caches.

5) Root (Riverfolk Expansion)

Specifically, Root with the Riverfolk expansion. Root is one of those team building games that gets overlooked for team building in general. With the Riverfolk company in play the game takes on a player driven economy. Players can trade reserves of troops to another player in exchange for extra cards, mercenaries and boat access. This in turn powers up the Riverfolk player. A similar economy taking place with the Vagabond player who separate to the empire building of the other factions is clearing ruins and trading items off of the other players.

It is a simple and elegant player driven economy based on the factions in play. The key element in play being to what extent do you help an enemy to better yourself. I have witnessed crumbling alliances and absolute betrayals often in Root and it is one of the most memorable gaming experiences to have. At this point social influence and diplomacy are ingrained into Root and the mechanics support this indirectly but with the clear victory point tracker in play at all times it inspires players to turn on the leader and knowing exactly who to help towards a common goal is a key aspect. While also positioning yourself to clutch victory from the claws of your former comrades. It is a lesson in reluctant allies and boils team building down to its most mercenary elements.

4) Betrayal At House On The Hill

The most key, unfailing and consistent part of any team is the inevitable betrayal by one member. Betrayal at House on the Hill is the best emulation for such an event. A group of explorers investigate an abandoned house, claiming gear and encountering spooky events as they uncover a mystery. That is until a haunt roll fails and the haunt begins. This turns one of the players against the others in one of many different and varied plot lines. Ranging from Cannibals to werewolves, aliens, and even killer clowns. It is a game with a ridiculous amount of replayability. Even the character archetypes have two variants each with different stat lines.

It is also a game which merges cooperative and competitive play. The game is cooperative until the traitor appears and then it becomes an asymmetrical brawl, usually between the surviving characters and the traitor along with any horrific monsters they have control over. It forces you to adapt on the fly and trust someone who may turn against you in the very next turn. It also teaches you how to adapt to a new team dynamic. Were you trusting the character with the revolver to do all the work? Well, that might not be an option if he is the traitor. Do you help an ally pre haunt reveal or wait until you know for sure that they are good. It is a game of making the best of a bad situation and trusting your gut. It also brings unrivalled teamwork and planning when the haunt is revealed as neither side knows the full mechanics the other has access to so you also need to figure out how your opponent is playing on top of carefully formulating your own plans.

3) Codenames

Trust is an important part of a team. Knowing your team mates’ minds intimately is the key to Codenames. Each team having to pick a word and a number of related cards that links together several randomly placed cards according to a pre-determined pattern. It is a game that when played with strangers gives you a fast insight into their minds and when played with friends becomes something akin to psychic linking between the minds. It is a game of trust and knowing your teams’ methods of thought as well as them knowing your own. It will often reveal ways that your teammates think that you would never expect and it is always a surprise when people explain their thought patterns leading to their choices.

Available in many flavors such as R-Rated, Marvel, Pictures, and more there is a version of Codenames that will cater to most any group. But as mentioned it is a game best played with those you know on a deeper level but can also help you achieve a greater level of understanding of others as they explain the thought pattern that linked Moles to Proletariat which was ‘oh so obvious’.

2) Marvel Champions

A deck building game that is best played with a team (ie. number two on the list of team building games). Marvel Champions is the closest you get to creating a custom team of Avengers and fighting various villains from the Marvel catalog. It is a very balanced and gratifying game as you build up your hero with various upgrades, allies and abilities. It is also a game where every single action is important. You are rarely in a comfortable state and the pressure is on from turn one. It is also a game where a single player death is game over for everyone. Teamwork is key to avoiding fatal damage while also thwarting the enemy scheme.

Despite this however you are all powerful and there is a good amount of thematic and mechanical difference between the various heroes so there is no ‘wrong’ choice. It is also a game where you will need to cover your allies and rely on them when the deck deals you a bad hand. It is tense (as team building games usually are), and thrilling as you fight tooth and claw to victory. Victory that can only be achieved through every player fulfilling their potential.

1) 878 Vikings

The invasion series of games consists of several titles set in America (e.g. 1812:Invasion of Canada) and one title in another series that focuses on Europe. This first European game is 878 Vikings (878 referring to the year rather than a set number of Scandinavians). It is a four-player game split into two teams. Each team playing with a unique faction and with limited influence on their ally.

The Saxon players consist of Thegns and Huscarls facing off against the Viking Norsemen and Berserkers. It is a game where communication is absolute key. No player possesses the mobility or military might to successfully overpower by themselves. You need both players in tandem working to secure each other’s borders. Each team must take tactical command in defence or assault of the British Isles and work to hold a set number of Cities. It is an essential strategic experience with team work at its core. It is also the type of game that due to being asymmetric you can swap sides after playing one game and reverse the scenario. But at its core the winning side will be the one that communicated and executed its strategies with the most efficiency.

And there was TEN team building games which you should definitely get your hands on if you are trying to grow cooperation in groups.