Winning and losing together: HABA cooperative games

When we play, it’s about more than just coming out on top. We also experience new things, acquire new skills, make new friends and, of course, have a lot of fun. By playing cooperatively, i.e. with rather than against each other, we also gain a sense of solidarity, which can be summed up as “Win together, lose together, grow together.”

What are cooperative games?


The Three Musketeers had the right idea: “One for all, and all for one!” Cooperative games transform children into little musketeers who stand up for their fellow players and work towards a common purpose. It is precisely this communal spirit that provides the special appeal of cooperative games. The individual players work together, they cooperate, and they pursue one sole common objective -  winning!

What children find most intriguing about cooperative games are their ingenious special features. Bored with board games? Never! Players have to work as a group under time limits or with limited resources to master a series of challenging tasks. They make decisions together that pave the way to victory – or to defeat. And if the original strategy fails, it’s such a relief to know that you don’t have to work out a new plan all on your own. Pre-school children discover how good teamwork can lead to success.

What do children learn by playing cooperative games?


Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s the same with cooperative games as in real life. However, cooperative games are not about the “one and only winner”. Rather, it is about experiencing how a community can thrive when it has a culture of collaboration and mutual assistance. Children learn how to enjoy shared achievement and how to handle failure without immediately giving up. Because, come what may, the emphasis is on fun, and regardless of the outcome, the game leaves everyone wanting to play another round. With a group who work well together, the common goal is to operate faster or find alternative solutions. Other players are always welcome to join in, because they bring new momentum into the game and enhance the team dynamic.

As they play, children acquire multiple social skills and, at the same time, take important developmental steps. Efficient communication and coordination are important, as is the ability to integrate. In addition, children learn a lot about themselves and their team-mates, such as: what does the group need to do in order to win the game? And which role should be taken on by which player?

Why is cooperative play so important?


What really matters in any cooperative game is that everyone gets a chance to make a contribution. Consequently, every player should at some stage take on an active (= leader) and a passive (= follower) role. Cooperative games thereby become an ideal way of building a sense of community and of developing a strong team spirit.

The common characteristic of all cooperative games is the way they are played, i.e. players must be able to rely on each other. Children who learn to work with others towards a shared goal at an early age will continue to develop this ability into adulthood. The benefits are felt in later professional life when the individual is called upon to pool his or her efforts with colleagues from different departments to achieve a bigger objective.

Cooperative games have educational value – which does not mean that players have to miss out on the fun factor. Sometimes exciting, sometimes funny and at all times great to play, they will instantly capture the attention and harness the energy of children and adults alike. The sense of community can be transmitted across generations, because adults and children derive equal enjoyment without coming under any pressure to win or to compete. Cooperative games allow players the opportunity to socialize, with the result that playing together makes us stronger together!

Exciting, cooperative, HABA! Which cooperative game is suitable for which age?


HABA children’s games are every bit as unique as the individual child. Perfectly matched to the respective age, stage of development and interests, the HABA range of cooperative games has something to suit every taste.

Age 2+

  • Fire! Fire! 303807 (2-4 players)
    A cooperative memory game
  • This member of the My Very First Games collection enables even the youngest children to become heroes in the town’s hour of need by putting their joint memory skills to the test. Turn on the pumps!

Age 3 - 6

  • Orchard 4170 (1-8 players)
    A cooperative game with colored dice
  • There is one game that should be present in every nursery or children’s bedroom - HABA Orchard. Even more so, because this classic is a cooperative game. Children really enjoy competing against Theo the cheeky raven. Who will be the first to get the tastiest fruits hanging high in the trees?

Age 3 - 8

  • Mimic Memo 304242 (2-6 players)
    Educational games for motor skills (mouth and lips)
  • This is a game that is guaranteed to get everyone laughing, because it’s all about who can pull the funniest faces. At first glance, it seems like everyone is just monkeying around, but Mimic Memo turns language development into child’s play – literally!

Age 4 - 8

  • Karuba Junior 303406 (1-4 players)
    A cooperative arranging game
  • Anyone in search of adventure should definitely stop by on the island of Karuba. A hoard of treasure is hidden deep in the jungle. But beware of the nasty pirates and snarling tigers! Only by working together can the players escape the dangers and carry off the loot.

Age 4 - 99

  • Unicorn Glitterluck: Cloud Stacking 304539 (2-4 players)
    A cooperative stacking game
  • Cloud Stacking takes players to even greater heights. Will they manage to accommodate all of the animal guests in the cloud castle? The game calls for dexterity from the young stacking artists – and a bit of luck with the dice.

Age 5 - 99

  • Castle Climbing Frog 303631 (2-4 players)
    An exciting memory and dexterity game
  • Calling all nobles of the court! Castle Climbing Frog needs your help. The residents are so clumsy, constantly dropping things out of the windows into the moat. Luckily, Francesco the Climbing Frog is on hand. Players help him work his way up the castle wall in an attempt to return items to their rightful owners.

Age 6 - 99

  • Luxantis 304121 (2-4 players)
    A cooperative memory and collecting game
  • The jack-o’-lanterns have only one mission, namely to protect Castle Luxantis against the dangerous shadow beings. Together, players will cross the magical Light Forest Labyrinth looking for enchanted objects. As they progress across the interactive LED game board, it gradually lights up.