The definitive ranked list of the best hidden victory points board games. These are titles that are about imperfect information and a race. The idea of this gaming category is that players can get points but other players do not necessarily know what you have. Players are trying to get to a certain number of points and not knowing what is going on with others is a big part of the experience. These are the top 10 best hidden victory points board games.
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#10 | Hellenica: Story of Greece
Hellenica: Story of Greece makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because a this is a cool 4X (or 3.5x as they put it) civilization game that has you gaining posterity by completing a combination of secret and public goals. There is so much going on in the shadows that it can be hard to navigate.
Through exploration into new lands, expanding your civilization, exploiting the resources around you and exterminating your enemies (4x) you have tons of freedom to take paths to victory. To win the game a player must complete a combination of public and private goals shown on Objective Cards that represent the Ethos (beliefs and ideals) and Pathos (passion and emotions) of the Greek people. The first to three goals wins. For 1 – 7 players, games run about 120 – 180 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Hellenica: Story of Greece on Amazon
#09 | Pax Transhumanity
Pax Transhumanity makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because this is a great goals-orientated game that has you solve problems, defeat barriers to progress, and build a future by realizing ideas. The game combines pattern recognition and worker placement to make for a fun and unique experience.
This is a game about idea development in a non-dystopian near future. In traditional Pax-style, the players have access to a marketplace of ideas to compete over. The goal is to invest in viable ideas and use infrastructure to release them to the world. Once an idea is commercialized it becomes part of the human history and makes other ideas viable. It will generate growth (new cubes), solve humanitarian problems (VP chits), or break down barriers (place company disks). For 1 – 4 players, games go for 60 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Pax Transhumanity on Amazon
#08 | Tiny Epic Dinosaurs
Tiny Epic Dinosaurs makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because it is a light and breezy worker placement games that gives you lots of paths to victory and opportunities to out race your opponents. Great theme and mechanics mash up to make for a great experience having you become dino ranchers in the lucrative dinosaur farming industry.
Players control a team of ranchers and will be acquiring, breeding and selling dinosaurs. The game is played over 6 rounds. You start by collecting resources. You put those resources to work by choosing from many options and making use of your ranchers. Finally, you collect dividends and arrange things for the following day. For 1 – 4 players, games last 30 – 60 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Tiny Epic Dinosaurs on Amazon
#07 | Yellow & Yangtze
Yellow & Yangtze makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because this is a great title with just the right stakes. To succeed, players’ civilizations must survive conflicts, calm peasant revolts, and grow secure enough to build prestigious pagodas in ways that give less than perfect information and plenty of surprises.
Players build civilizations through tile placement. Players are given five different leaders: Governor, Soldier, Farmer, Trader, and Artisan. The leaders are used to collect victory points in these same categories. However, your score at the end of the game is the number of points in your weakest category. Conflicts arise when civilizations connect on the board. For 2 – 4 players, games go about 90 minutes each.
FOR MORE: Buy Yellow & Yangtze on Amazon
#06 | Oceans
Oceans makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because it has some interesting paths in the form of an interactive engine builder, where players evolve their species in a continually changing ecosystem. Players must adapt their interconnected ecosystem to survive against the inevitable march of time (Aging), as well as a multitude of predators looking for food.
The game depicts the boundaries between the known world near the ocean’s surface, and the mysteries lurking in Earth’s deepest unexplored region. Enter a vast, underwater cosmos. Oceans also includes a deck of 100 unique power cards called The Deep that represents the unknown. In the first half of the game, you are using The Deep to evolve your species, and during the second half, it is about disrupting stability. For 2 – 4 players, games go for about 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Oceans on Amazon
#05 | Celestia
Celestia makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because it is a solid push your luck game that puts you on a board where If you exit, you’re guaranteed the victory points that come from exploring the current city, and if you stay on board, you hope to make it to the next city in order to catch more precious treasures. You are working together but you are not.
You board an aircraft with a team of adventurers to perform many trips through the cities of Celestia and recover their wonderful treasures. You will attempt to be the richest adventurer by collecting the most precious treasures. During the journey, each adventurer can try to pull out with objects (a jetpack, astronomy glasses, etc.) or by changing the trip (modifying the travel or abandoning an explorer in the city). Scoring a hot treasure wins you the game. For 2 – 6 players, games run about 30 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Celestia on Amazon
#04 | Through the Desert
Through the Desert makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because it is a very lightweight and beloved title that has you attempting to score the most points by snaking caravan routes through the desert, trying to reach oases and blocking off sections of the desert. The little nuances in getting ahead on points is what makes the game.
A game of strategy, patience, and cool plastic camels! The desert is still treacherous, mysterious, and without mercy. But for those willing to risk the dangers of the shifting, sun-baked sands, the desert holds riches beyond compare. Players each control a tribe of nomads vying for control of the desert. By establishing caravans and taking over oases, the players gain points as their tribes increase in power. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 45 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Through the Desert on Amazon
#03 | The Isle of Cats
The Isle of Cats makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because it is a medium weight drafting and income game that has you rescuing as many island cats as you can before their home is destroyed. Thing you do can give you additional ways to score points and this can have big effects to sway the game.
You are citizens of Squalls End on a rescue mission to The Isle of Cats and must rescue as many cats as possible before the evil Lord Vesh arrives. Each cat is represented by a unique tile and belongs to a family, you must find a way to make them all fit on your boat while keeping families together. You will need to manage resources while you explore the island, rescue cats, find treasures, befriend Oshax and study ancient lessons. For 1 – 4 players, games run roughly 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy The Isle of Cats on Amazon
#02 | Five Tribes
Five Tribes makes the list of the best hidden victory points board games because unique twist on the now-standard “worker placement” genre that brings many more hidden agendas into the fold. You need to carefully consider what moves can score you well and put your opponents at a disadvantage in a title that has you moving assassins, elders & builders through this world to claim oases & control djinns.
The game begins with the meeples already in place – and players must cleverly maneuver them over the villages, markets, oases, and sacred places tiles that make up Naqala. How, when, and where you dis-place these Five Tribes of Assassins, Elders, Builders, Merchants, and Viziers determine your victory or failure. For 2 – 4 players, games last 40 – 80 minutes.
FOR MORE: Five Tribes Page | Games Like Five Tribes | Buy Five Tribes on Amazon
#01 | Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico takes the top spot on the list of the best hidden victory points board games because there is so much going on in the game with anyone being able to drop a few secret plans from their agenda and ruin anyone’s day. This is a quest to get the most victory points but exactly how players are going to get there is always a result of master crafting. This is just a top tier title that uses the mechanic well.
You are a colonial governor on the island of the same name. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings. You get your own player board with spaces for city buildings, plantations, and resources. Shared between everyone are three ships, a trading house, and a supply of resources and doubloons. For 2 – 5 players, games run 90 – 150 minutes.