Secret Scoring Mechanisms

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Ways of gaining points in a game which is not revealed until used or until the final scoring phase of the game.

Some games determine winners by using victory points. A game has Secret Scoring Mechanisms when players can get some of these in ways that are not public to other players before they are achieved and displayed.


Settlers of Catan have development cards, of which some give victory points that can be revealed at any time as a Secret Scoring Mechanism. There are many example of other Board Games that have secret cards which give points to players if they have met some specific requirements. Examples of such games include Amun-Re, Android, Egizia, Murano, Ticket to Ride, and Lords of Waterdeep.

Using the pattern

Secret Scoring Mechanisms are typically added to games with Scores in order to avoid having Predictable Winner and thereby set up for Beat the Leader situations. It also works against players having perceived Unwinnable Game States. The pattern only makes sense to use in Multiplayer Games since they are used for creating uncertainty among players regarding their Scores. It is commonly used in games with the pattern Winner determined after Gameplay Ends.

The actual design of what gives points to a Score does not differ significantly from designing normal scoring except that the mechanisms are typically design so they can be activated to win a game or automatically are activated when End State Scoring begins.


Secret Scoring Mechanisms affect how Scores in Multiplayer Games work in a game by adding Imperfect Information. They can be seen as a form of Secret Goals as long as they require players to fulfill something secret to received them (the development cards in Settlers of Catan are an example of when this is not the case), and provide both Anticipation and Tension to gameplay while making more difficult to have a Predictable Winner. The use of them lessens the importance of Score Tracks since not all points may be shown there (especially if End State Scoring is used).

Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses is at least partly likely to occur when Secret Scoring Mechanisms is used together with Winner determined after Gameplay Ends. This since the closure of who won the game is maintained until after gameplay ends and all closures up until the very end of gameplay can at least in the players perception influence the outcome.


Can Instantiate

Anticipation, Imperfect Information, Secret Goals, Tension

with Winner determined after Gameplay Ends

Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses

Can Modulate

End State Scoring, Score Tracks, Winner determined after Gameplay Ends

Scores in Multiplayer Games

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Beat the Leader, Predictable Winner, Unwinnable Game States


New pattern created in this wiki.