Cooperative Games with Traitor Mechanics?


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I'm not a big boardgamer. I don't enjoy worker placement games much. But I found I really enjoyed Battlestar Galactica with it's player interaction, cooperation, and traitor mechanic. I'm looking for more games like that. Any ideas?


Betrayal at House on the Hill is perhaps the most well known of this genre. I highly recommend it. Exploring a house with your fellow players, and laying down the tiles of the house yourself, to create a whole new lay out each time. Anyone could become the traitor, and there are even scenarios where there are no traitors, or it's everyone against each other.



Dead of Winter is a ton of fun, and this coming from someone who is not a zombie fan! Really puts the pressure on, and gets you thinking with event cards that have tough choices.
Shadows Over Camelot is also really good.


Dark Moon was actually inspired by the Battle Star Galactica board game. It basically removes the clutter to create a streamlined traitor game that plays quickly.

A Study in Emerald is based on the short story of the same name by Neil Gaiman which posits a world that has been taken over by the Great Old Ones. It's an interesting mix of popular Euro mechanics with the additional twist of hidden factions: you don't what factions the other players belong to: are they supporting the Great Old Ones or are they trying to bring them down?

Nemesis is currently on kickstarter and obviously inspired by the Alien movies. A spaceship crew is being woken up from hibernation to find the ship has been boarded by a bunch of aliens. To make things worse, each of the crewmen appears to have some hidden agenda...

Jacob Lewis

The One with the Force
I will also vouche for Dead of Winter. Awesome game with plenty of replay value. You can use traitor mechanic as an option, or even with there is no guarantee someone is a traitor in the group. Just spreads the paranoia and tension that much thicker, which is what the game is really good at. My wife loves it!


I'm not a big boardgamer. I don't enjoy worker placement games much. But I found I really enjoyed Battlestar Galactica with it's player interaction, cooperation, and traitor mechanic. I'm looking for more games like that. Any ideas?
Maybe try "The Resistance"? You are all resistance fighters, seeking to bring down a corrupt and tyrannical government. Except for the one(s?) who is a planted government agent, of course...



The Resistance / Avalon - This is my top pick due to the amount of complexity and depth of play it manages to squeeze in with the fewest number of rules. All of the joy and sorrow of Werewolf or Mafia without having to have one player sit out as the GM or making people sit and wait around for the game to end once they're killed.

Two Rooms and a Boom - It's like two simultaneous games of Resistance being run at the same time in two different room. The game is played over 5 rounds between two(ish) equal(ish) teams. The red team wins if they manage to end the game with the President in the same room as the Mad Bomber, and the blue team wins if they manage to keep them separate and the President safe.

Dark Moon - Originally created as a slimmed down fan version of Battlestar Galactica, it became so popular that the creators re-themed it published it as it's own game. Now it's a sci-fi "trying to identify the infected players while not being killed, while escaping a moon base, all while The Company is trying to back stab you and get an infected player back to Earth."

Dead of Winter - Probably my pick for the best RPG experience packed into a board game. This is your typical "zombie story where the zombies are secondary to the human drama" kinda thing. Mostly co-op, though everyone is also trying to accomplish their own secondary selfish goals which might conflict with the greater good, AND it has the added benefit that someone out there might be a traitorous jerk trying to ruin it for everyone else so that they can win.

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong - I think that the best description I've heard for this one is "Dixit, but with words and also a murder." One player is the Forensic Scientist, describing the details of a murder investigation to the other investigators, but the only way they're able to communicate is by choosing words off of randomly selected list of clues "The Location of the Crime: A Vacation Home, A Park, The Supermarket, A School, The Woods, A Bank." The rest of the players are all investigators with the twist that one of them is also the murderer, trying to throw the other detectives off their trail while incriminating someone else


Paranoia, the one time I played it (mid-1980s?), encouraged traitors and saboteurs but had no mechanics for guiding such actions.
You were just supposed to make up "the rules" as you went along, I suppose.



A friend of mine recently completed his Kickstarter for a card game called Gang Up. Its a hilarious card game where the players play the role of a crime lord trying to gather a gang and commit crimes. Crimes earn you fame, and whoever achieves 20 fame first, wins. You can cooperate with up to one other gang (player) when doing a crime, and if the crime succeeds you both earn the same amount of fame from it. But betrayal is just around the corner, especially as you close in on those 20 points. And much like in Munchkin, you can ruin the plans of your fellow players with Influence Cards. But unlike Munchkin, I feel Gang Up is a lot less random. There is a real sense of having control over events in the game, and being able to prepare for that inevitable betrayal.

The artwork is also really polished. Every card is unique and funny. And there's plenty of opportunity for strange tactics and expected card combinations. While the rules are simple, there's plenty of depth too.
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