This article is a brief overview of the best hidden movement board games available on the market. From serial killers, pirates, vampires, sharks, to rebels. They all have something to hide. What is it and will you find it?
Introduction to 10 Best Hidden Movement Board Games in 2023
There is some special pleasure when doing something in secrecy or knowing what others don’t. A feeling of consecration or even superiority over others.
It starts young, playing a game that is probably universal to all cultures: hide and seek. Adults have their industrial and political spying (not to mention criminal activities) that have great benefits in staying hidden.
But we’re going to focus on a much more positive note – board games that involve hidden movement. Hide in seek in board gaming.
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Letters from Whitechapel
Who hasn’t heard of Jack the Ripper, the elusive serial killer from Victorian London? This is a board game about him, his hideous crimes, and the pursuit after him.
One of the players plays as Jack in his mission to take down five victims and make it safely back to his hideout, before other players, who play as police detectives, intercept him.
This creates a game of cat and mouse. Jack’s moves are hidden – detectives must deduct his trail by following his footsteps and investigating locations they think he was on. Jack has some aces up his sleeves: he can throw them off by using carriages, passing through investigators, or using back alleys.
The game generates an intense atmosphere, and with simple mechanics, it’s very accessible to families. Although it can drag a bit if the Jack player is very good, eventually everyone will want to play as him. Will you be the one who gets away with it?
Pirates, one of the all-time favorite pop-culture themes. Scurvy, seasickness, and death are all worth it for freedom, eternal glory, and, above all, treasure!
Captain Long John Silver (one of the players) has hidden his precious treasure somewhere on the island, while others (his crew members) have captured him and are trying to extort information about the treasure from him.
So, he’ll give out clues, which players will try to interpret on the map, moving on it and drawing search areas with erasable markers.
Pirates are selfish by nature, so it’s every man for himself in the search. Follow the clues or try to throw off others from following them? You’ll trick them and they will try to do the same to you.
If the players are unsuccessful in their search, Long John will manage to escape eventually, and will head for the treasure himself! Will you follow him and try to overtake him or is he just bluffing?
Fury of Dracula (Third and Fourth Edition)
I don’t think I have to particularly introduce Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s novel. He’s a vampire, for crying out loud!
The Fury of Dracula is a very successful franchise dating back to 1987 with the first edition, and each subsequent edition builds on the solid foundation and gets better and better.
A Map of Europe is in front of you. One of the players plays as Dracula, moving in hiding, with the goal to create more vampires and increase his influence over the continent. Other players join forces as Vampire hunters, trying to intercept him and defeat him in combat.
In addition to the usual hidden movement, deduction, and bluffing mechanics, the game is also highly thematic. Dracula can only act a night, he leaves behind a trail of rumors, encounters, and events, which players can use to deduct his movement, but he can also change his form into a bat, wolf, or mist, to confuse them.
Although the 1975 movie by Steven Spielberg made a big impact, a lot of sharks have circled Amity Island since then. It was that more surprising when (another) licensed game came out in 2019.
In Jaws, the hungriest player plays as the shark, while others take on the roles of movie characters: Brody, Hooper, and/or Quint. The peculiarity of the game is, that it’s divided into two stages.
In the Amity Island phase, the shark moves freely (and hiddenly) around the island, feasting on swimmers, while the other players are trying to locate him.
The second phase takes place on the sinking Orca ship, where players face the shark in a fight to the death. Will they kill the shark before it manages to sink the ship?
Imagine you’re deep under the waves in an underwater cigar, trying to stay as quiet as possible, while listening to beep beep’s from your sonar. But you’re not alone. Another submarine is somewhere out there, doing the same thing. Who will find who first and deliver a deadly torpedo on target?
Captain Sonar is a team game, where players take different roles (Captain, First Mate, Radio Operator) in a submarine. For the best experience, you need at least six (if not eight) players.
While you can play the game on a conventional turn-by-turn basis, the real deal is the real-time play. Here, you try to fulfill your duties, while frantically debating with other players about the situation. The mode is unique in board gaming and delivers a tense nerve-wracking, almost chaotic experience.
If you want a team-played Battleship on steroids and can handle making decisions under the pressure of millions of gallons of water above you, you should definitely join the navy. Or buy Captain Sonar.
Inspired by movies such as James Bond, or even Austin Powers, Sabotage lines up a team of spies, attempting to sneak into the base of villains and save the day by disarming their world-ending devices.
The other team, of course, plays as the villains. The game is set up with a screen in the middle, and both teams use their own board to track movement.
Combine this with different characters (miniatures included), and an art design akin to the movies mentioned above, and you get an impressive team deduction game. Just be aware that the rules take a while to comprehend and there are a lot of factors to consider during the play, making analysis-paralysis possible.
Let’s move back a few centuries, to the time of William Shakespeare. The famous writer allegedly had a mysterious lady-friend, known only as the Dark Lady.
Black Sonata is a single-player board game. The Lady’s movement is determined by a special deck of cards, and it’s up to you to deduce her movement, intercept her, and perhaps gain her true name.
The unique solitaire experience is perfect for short breaks, and if you can’t afford the retail version (not that it’s too expensive), you can put your own skills to use and make one yourself from the print-and-play template.
If you think Jack the Ripper was the only serial killer in late 19th century London, you’re unfortunately mistaken. In the autumn of 1888, several body parts were found around the Whitehall area, with both killer and the victim remaining a mystery.
One of the players plays as the said unknown killer, with his task of scattering the body parts around different locations, while other players are trying to catch him.
The game uses the same movement, clue, and deduction mechanics as Letters from Whitechapel, but it does away with five rounds, making the game much more condensed and intense.
War of the Ring (Second Edition)
Lord of the Rings, one of the most epic fantasy sagas created. A fan favorite, the franchise has a huge following everywhere and has produced many impressive products, from movies to video games.
But few of them capture the plot on such a massive scale as does War of the Ring. A hybrid of wargame and hidden movement, it covers the story of the whole trilogy. You command armies on the map of Middle-earth, fighting epic battles against Sauron. But they are just a ruse, so you can safely nurture your Fellowship to Mordor.
If that’s too saintly for you, I dare you to step into Sauron’s boots. He can field more troops, but if he doesn’t divert enough resources to Fellowship search, his victories will be in vain. How will you split your forces?
Although the game is quite difficult to learn and there are many moving parts (miniatures, custom action dice, famous heroes, politics between various Free People, event cards, etc), the process is well worth it, especially if you have a like-minded Tolkien fan to play against.
Star Wars: Rebellion
Let’s head to space now, in particular, to the first Star Wars trilogy. This game too is for two players. One of them plays as the Rebels, and opposing him, is the mighty Galactic Empire.
The first thing the Rebellion player must do is to decide on which planet his secret base will be. This is what the game revolves around for the next couple of hours – one side tries to find and destroy the secret hideout, while the other side tries everything to disguise their clues.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Empire possesses a mighty fleet and uses sheer military might to accomplish its goals (destroying planets with the Death Star, if all else fails), while the Rebels must resort to sabotage, spying, covert, and politics to sway the galaxy into full-scale revolt.
Mighty battles with miniatures (Stormtroopers, TIE fighters, Star Destroyers, the Death Star, X-Wing fighters, etc.), hero characters (Han Solo, Darth Vader, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, and others), that can help sway the tide of battle, will create a cinematic experience you won’t forget. May the Force be with you!
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