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Subject: Best game without victory points? rss

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Craig Duncan
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I enjoy many types of games but I have a special fondness for games with a victory condition other than "most points."

So, in Chess you capture your opponent's king, in Hive you surround your opponent's queen bee, in Formula D you are the first to cross the finish line, in Heroscape you are the first to eliminate your opponents, and so on. There is something pleasingly FINAL about such victory conditions, to my way of thinking.

I'll admit to being a casual gamer that hasn't played ANY games in the top 10 yet. But I hope that will change eventually. That said, from what little I know of some of these games, like most Euros they work on the basis of victory points.

So I am curious:

1. What are the top rated games (say, the top 3 to 4) that have a victory condition other than "most victory points"? (And let's agree to count income, i.e. play money, as victory points.)

2. What is YOUR favorite game that has a victory condition other than "most victory points"?
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Brook Gentlestream
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I think you'll enjoy Innovation since new victory conditions can be added in mid-game. Technically, its a race to buy achievements which can be though of as victory points, but with alternative endgames that appear mid-game, the end may instead be decided by who has the highest score (most money) or who has collected certain technologies or advancements or who manages to complete a set of something.


Galactic Expanse: Starship Battles is a last-survivor-wins game. You have six ships, and opponent has six ships. Tons of dice are rolled, and hopefully your ships come out on top.


Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot has a weird victory condition where you collect carrots. At the end, one of these carrots is revealed to be the Magic Carrot and the player who holds it wins.


The Resistance is a social party game where you win if your team can succeed at (or sabotage) at least 3 out of 5 missions.


Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a co-op game where you have to survive up to the end and then perform some kind of action to win, usually distracting you from fighting off the hoards that are trying to kill you. Most co-op games such as Flash Point: Fire Rescue, Pandemic, Arkham Horror[/thing], Forbidden Island, and Defenders of the Realm end with an event of some kind rather than an accumulation of points.


Survive: Escape from Atlantis! is about saving your meeples. Whoever saves the most meeples usually wins. Technically, each meeple is worth points so this is a "most points wins" game, but its a bit more thematic than usual because during the game you really do tend to think of them as people rather than points when the sharks start gobbling them up. Also, its a little different since you start with all your points and the winner is the one who is able to keep them.
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Andy Andersen
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1. Not sure

2. Ta Yü, Tsuro, Magnet, and all of the games in the GIPF series. All great abstract games.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Most cooperative games have win/lose victory conditions, without points of any kind.

Many games are some form of race, where the first player to achieve a goal wins. One (light) example of such a game without a "racing" theme is 10 Days in....

What about "best of" games? In Balloon Cup you compete for cubes. Get enough cubes of a color and you earn a trophy. First player to win 3 trophies (out of 5) wins. I think Battle Line would be another example, but I haven't played it.

Then there are the "last man standing" games, like some flavors of Chaos Isle: Zombi Deck.

Two-player games often have asymmetrical victory conditions, as in Mr. Jack.

I don't see any other broad categories in the list of games I have rated, so aside from co-ops, I guess my favorite would be Balloon Cup.

I thought for sure there was a geeklist for this, but I couldn't find it. Maybe it was a Recommendations thread a few months ago.
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Scott Nelson
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Antiquity

most money would be considered vps I'm guessing.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation
Pandemic
Battlestar Galactica
Bananagrams
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Ethan Larson
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Power Grid.
Taluva.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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My favorits are Kamisado, ZÈRTZ and PÜNCT and not to forget Magic: The Gathering.

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Alexander Portland
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These gems are really nice and all four demand different victory conditions: Himalaya, Tigris & Euphrates, Samurai and Tribune: Primus Inter Pares are the first boardgames, which comes in mind, that doesn´t care about VP´s. Money or VP´s, that´s nearly identical, so Power Grid isn´t the right game, that been searched by you, right?
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Derry Salewski
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Markus Hagenauer wrote:
My favorits are Kamisado, ZÈRTZ and PÜNCT and not to forget Magic: The Gathering.



Magic is pretty close to victory points . . .
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David Fisher
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peakhope wrote:
Many games are some form of race, where the first player to achieve a goal wins.

Some actual race games (without victory points) include Bolide, Snow Tails, Mississippi Queen, Powerboats, RoboRally, Fast Flowing Forest Fellers and Hare & Tortoise.

Cartagena is a race to get all of your pirates safely to the boat.
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Geoff Hall
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Discworld: Ankh-Morpork - each player has a secret victory condition to fulfill which might be controlling a certain number of areas, having a certain amount of money, having meeples down in a certain number of areas, everyone else failing to win, etc.
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Holger Hannemann
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Fürstenfeld is my "gateway game" of choice. It's a Eurogame with "first player to fill his estate with worthless palace tiles wins". I love this game.

Also Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game is a game I love. It has 4 independent victory conditions, none of which involve victory points.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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scifiantihero wrote:
Markus Hagenauer wrote:
My favorits are Kamisado, ZÈRTZ and PÜNCT and not to forget Magic: The Gathering.



Magic is pretty close to victory points . . .


I would agree, if doing 20 damage to your opponent would be the only way to win.


And on the other hand, someone could also say, in Kamisado you get one VP per tower you get to the opposite side. And you need 1 VP to win a round.
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Nacho Facello
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Markus Hagenauer wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
Markus Hagenauer wrote:
My favorits are Kamisado, ZÈRTZ and PÜNCT and not to forget Magic: The Gathering.



Magic is pretty close to victory points . . .


I would agree, if doing 20 damage to your opponent would be the only way to win.


It's not the *only* way, but it's certainly the most common one.

What other ways are there? Poison? Also victory points, of a different kind. Resignation? I wouldn't count that as an alternative victory path. The only other way to win that I can think of is when your opponent runs out of cards, and that's so rare that I would just consider it an edge case.

Magic, in its basic two player form, is a race to twenty victory points.
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Craig Duncan
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Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions!

Bundyman wrote:
Money or VP´s, that´s nearly identical, so Power Grid isn´t the right game, that been searched by you, right?


I don't think the presence of money in a game automatically disqualifies it from the category I am seeking, unless the win condition = "most money at the end." This isn't Power Grid's win condition (it's powering the most cities), so I think Power Grid meets my criteria.

A related question:

There must be some pick-up-and-deliver game in which the winner is the first to deliver his set of goods, right? I can't think of any off the top of my head, though. Any ideas?
 
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Ron Glass
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In Mississippi Queen, like Formula D, its a race. It used to be that you just had to be the first to the finish line dock, but often players would be going fast so that they wrecked, but "won". We play that you actually have to dock, just like at coaling and babe-stops. Makes the end game a lot more fun.
Ron
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Kevin B. Smith
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cdunc123 wrote:
There must be some pick-up-and-deliver game in which the winner is the first to deliver his set of goods, right? I can't think of any off the top of my head, though. Any ideas?

Good point. I couldn't think of any either. I did a search and found Niagara, which might qualify (I'm not that familiar with the game).

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The MatrixCube wrote:
Fürstenfeld is my "gateway game" of choice. It's a Eurogame with "first player to fill his estate with worthless palace tiles wins". I love this game.

Also Sid Meier's Civilization: The Board Game is a game I love. It has 4 independent victory conditions, none of which involve victory points.


These were the two I thought of first. Also, Blue Moon City is kind of a race to build the obelisk, although you do need to collect crystals, so I guess you could sort of call that victory point related.
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jflartner
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In the same vein as Hive, there are plenty of two player duel-type games where victory points do not determine the winner.

Some of my favorites are: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, Mr. Jack, and Pillars of the Earth: Builder's Duel.

There are also a good number of solo-only games where winning or losing is determined by victory conditions, but the game rewards you victory points to determine the degree to which you won.
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David Boeren
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cdunc123 wrote:
I don't think the presence of money in a game automatically disqualifies it from the category I am seeking, unless the win condition = "most money at the end." This isn't Power Grid's win condition (it's powering the most cities), so I think Power Grid meets my criteria.


OK, so instead of money=VPs then you have cities=VPs.

The reason VPs show up so much is that nearly everything is equivalent to VPs in some sense. Racing games could be "laps=VPs" or even "spaces moved=VPs". That's right, all that little car is is your VP marker being moved down the track.

Literally every binary win condition can be mapped to equating that win condition to a VP and first player to 1 VP wins.

What I'm saying is that it's all arbitrary. I think what you're looking for here is more like "games that don't FEEL like VPs even if technically it makes no difference".

You can probably try almost any wargame - typically winning is destroying some amount of enemy forces, capturing or holding certain objectives for a time, taking out the enemy leader, etc...

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Craig Duncan
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dboeren wrote:
cdunc123 wrote:
I don't think the presence of money in a game automatically disqualifies it from the category I am seeking, unless the win condition = "most money at the end." This isn't Power Grid's win condition (it's powering the most cities), so I think Power Grid meets my criteria.


OK, so instead of money=VPs then you have cities=VPs.

The reason VPs show up so much is that nearly everything is equivalent to VPs in some sense. Racing games could be "laps=VPs" or even "spaces moved=VPs". That's right, all that little car is is your VP marker being moved down the track.

Literally every binary win condition can be mapped to equating that win condition to a VP and first player to 1 VP wins.


Yes, good point.

dboeren wrote:

What I'm saying is that it's all arbitrary. I think what you're looking for here is more like "games that don't FEEL like VPs even if technically it makes no difference".


I agree with this.

It's an interesting question what accounts for a win condition not feeling like a VP win condition.

A couple of thoughts on this question:

A single source of VPs -- most cities, first to finish 3 laps, etc. -- will potentially feel less like VPs than a game with a variety of sources of VPs. That is to say, a game with points for this and points for that will pretty much inescapably create the VP feel.

Also, there is the matter of how "intuitively graspable" (for want of a better phrase) the win conditions are. Consider "power the most cities," "finish three laps first," etc. The fact that you can describe these win conditions using concepts from life-beyond-gaming makes these win conditions fairly intuitive, I guess. (Of course, the same can be said of games that have a "most money at end" win condition, which I also mean to exclude from the category of games I am seeking. Still, in a choice between a most-money-wins game and a purer most-VP-wins game, it is the case that other things equal I gravitate toward the most-money-wins game.)
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Scott Nelson
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Niagara=vps to win, but you get vps in sets or groups.

Race games would all fall into this category.

T&E - vps, but in less common color only. Ingenius as well.

A countdown of vps - Thurn and Taxis, Ticket To Ride, Use up all your pieces to end the end the game, but then VPs are checked.

 
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Kevin B. Smith
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oeste wrote:
There is also this older game called Clue...

Have a GG penny for thinking of that one!!
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