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Meeples Together

How and Why Cooperative Games Work

The authoritative source on cooperative board games and card games for gamers, aficionados, critics, and designers, featuring a deep dive into co-op gaming’s titles, mechanics, theory, and frontiers. Join the party.

“Meeples Together is a must-buy book for anybody who is even remotely interested in cooperative gaming.… It is one of these rare books that takes our hobby to the next level, probably because it is written by gamers, for gamers.” — Antonios S, review at

Meeples Together

by Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline

Foreword by Matt Leacock

Print Edition:

ISBN: 978-0-9818840-8-0

6×9 inches • 380 pages • softcover

$24.95 (US)

About the Book

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that civilization is built on cooperation. It’s all about different people working together to overcome challenges and build amazing successes — and then celebrating the camaraderie of their shared achievements. The best cooperative games are like that too.

Join experts Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline as they examine not only how cooperative board games work, but why. With more than 150 enlightening illustrations and 14 in-depth case studies showing principles and mechanisms of play in action, this book helps you to see your favorite cooperative board games in new ways.

Whether you want to play cooperative games better, discover your next favorite game, or design the world’s next favorite, Meeples Together is for you.

Digital Editions:

Rich-featured digitally native PDF, Epub, and Kindle formats, available now:

Table of Contents

Foreword by Matt Leacock

Chapter 1: The Basics of Cooperation

Part One: The Spectrum of Cooperative Gaming

Chapter 2: Styles of Competition

     Case Study: Terra

Chapter 3: Styles of Teamwork

     Case Study: Contract Bridge

     Case Study: One Night Ultimate Werewolf

Chapter 4: Styles of Cooperation

     Case Study: Pandemic

     Case Study: Forbidden Island

     Case Study: Forbidden Desert

Part Two: The Mechanics of Cooperative Games

Chapter 5: Cooperative Systems

     Case Study: Flash Point: Fire Rescue

Chapter 6: Challenge Systems

     Case Study: Robinson Crusoe — Adventures on the Cursed Island

Chapter 7: Players Facing Challenges

     Case Study: Shadows over Camelot

     Case Study: Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

Chapter 8: Players Undertaking Tasks

     Case Study: Arkham Horror 2e

Chapter 9: Adventure Systems

     Case Study: Mansions of Madness 2e

Part Three: The Theory of Cooperative Games

Chapter 10: A Theory of Cooperative Gaming

     Case Study: Space Alert

Chapter 11: A Theory of Challenge Design

     Case Study: Ghost Stories

Chapter 12: When Games Go Wrong

     Case Study: D-Day Dice

Part Four: Cooperative Frontiers

Chapter 13: The Psychology of Cooperative Gaming

     Case Study: Hanabi

Chapter 14: Assembling the Puzzle

     Case Study: SOS Titanic


Appendix I: The Basics of Game Design

Appendix II: Game Design Dilemmas

Appendix III: Game Design Types

Appendix IV: Game Design & Social Theories

Appendix V: Cooperative & Teamwork Game Synopses & Reviews

The Meeples Together Blog

Christopher Allen and Shannon Appelcline maintain a blog and social media accounts for Meeples Together. Check them out!

About the Authors

Christopher Allen writes about collaboration. He’s founded several companies focusing on social software, including Skotos Tech, an online game company where he aided in the design of Castle Marrach, Grendel’s Revenge, and Lovecraft Country. His Life with Alacrity blog talks about the principles of cooperation, collaboration, and governance while his Rebooting the Web of Trust workshops imagine the future of collaboration on the internet.

Shannon Appelcline writes about games. He regularly contributed to the defunct board-gaming magazine Knucklebones, while his eurogame-focused Meeples & Mechanics blog contains over a decade worth of game analysis. He’s also long been involved with the roleplaying field, working for Chaosium and supporting lines like Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon. He’s best known for Designers & Dragons, a four-book history of the roleplaying industry.