Bringing the Co-operative Spirit Into Play
Co-operative Board Games

Traditional board games can be made less competitive and even
more fun with a few rule changes.

Co-operative Checkers: Each player tries to exchange pieces with
those on the opposite side of the board. The game is "won" when
the black checkers are all neatly lined up on the red side and
vice versa. You decide whether jumping (without capturing) is

Co-operative Chess: Although the pieces can't switch sides as in
co-operative checkers (those rows of pawns make quite a wall),
the players can. After, say, ten turns, the players switch sides,
and they switch again ten turns later. (This is also a sneaky
strategy to try if you're losing badly to a computer). Another
semi-co-operative version of chess is Giveaway Chess. The object
is to lose all your pieces by offering them up for capture,
including the king. If you have the opportunity to capture a
piece, you must take it. First player to go out wins.

Co-operative Scrabble: Scrabble becomes a lot less competitive if
you simply don't keep score. Instead of going for greed, players
can work to construct the longest or most interesting word or one
that co-operatively opens up a portion of the board.
Even when our family plays for points, we change the rules to
allow the person who can make the longest word to start the game.
In case of a tie, the person whose word will make more points
goes first.
A generous attitude toward what words are allowed (foreign
languages, proper names) also makes Scrabble more co-operative.
This is especially helpful for young children.
Creativeness (or chutzpah) in inventing new words and defending
them effectively should, I think, also be rewarded. I once used
up all my letters on a triple word score with "squirtee", arguing
that where there is a squirter, there must be a squirtee. My
opponent allowed it (and the 100-plus points that came with it).
I'm not sure whether to attribute this generosity to gullibility
or pity or to the fact that she was my mom.

- Maureen Woodall
From February 1995 VICHA Newsletter (Newsletter of the Vancouver
Island Co-operative Housing Association).

Co-operative games allow everyone to take part without feeling
left out, without feeling like losers, and without hurting or
getting hurt. If you would like to share a co-operative game with
us, please e-mail Maureen Woodall: