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Hide and seek
Meyerheim Versteckspiel.jpg
Three children playing "hide and seek" in a forest
Players 2 or more
Age range no limit
Setup time 1 minute
Playing time no limit
Random chance Low
Skills required Running, Hunting, Tracking, Hiding, Observation

Hide-and-seek or hide-and-go-seek is a variant of the game tag, in which a number of players conceal themselves in the environment, to be found by one or more "seekers".


Numerous variants of the game can be found worldwide. In some variations players may move to other hiding spots while "it" isn't looking, and those who can remain hidden the longest are considered to be the best players.

In a more active variant, hide and seek can be combined with the game of tag. Instead of "it" simply spotting players, he or she has to tag them instead to get them out. Hiders can make a dash for 'Home Base', which is usually a landmark where whoever is "it" counts off. Touching the base area makes a hider safe, and the aim of the game is to touch base without being tagged. "It" continues to search for hiders and if he/she finds none than he is it again in the next game. If however, he finds and tags someone before they are able to touch base, he calls out in a loud and repeated fashion "All ye all ye outs in free" or "all ye, all ye, in come free" which means a new it has been tagged and all the other hiders are safe to return to base.

Also may be known as Pom Pom Home by school children in Berkshire (UK), which may be a variant of Pom Pom Runaway, as outlined below.

In Sweden, a variant of this game is called "burken" (the can), known in English as "kick the can." Here, the person who's "it" has to search for the other players and, if someone is found, run back to home base, get there before the other player and call out that persons name. The first player to be tagged in this way is "it" in the next round. However, if the last player remaining can make it to home-base without being tagged and yell "burken är sparkad. 1,2,3" ("The can is kicked. 1,2,3.") the person who's currently "it" has to be "it" in the next round as well.

Another form similar to the above game involves tagged players becoming another "it". Rather than having a base, the aim is simply to survive as long as possible without being tagged, and the last one to not be tagged is the winner.

A derivative game is called Sardines. In this variant, only one person hides and the others must then find the person that's hiding and hide with them. The last person to find the group that's hiding is the loser. If playing indoors, turning the lights off may make it easier to hide large groups of people. A. M. Burrage calls this version of the game 'Smee' in his 1931 ghost story of the same name.[1]

Yet another derivative game, similar to Sardines, is Bloody Murder. As in Sardines, in this variant, only one person hides, while all other players search for the hiding "it". Once "it" is found, the player who spots "it" shouts out the phrase "Bloody Murder!". The game then becomes a game of tag. All players must run to "Home Base" and the last person that "it" tags becomes the next "it".

Another name to call it is Yaki 123, where there is a home base in which the person who is it guards but has to also look for the players, the hiders try to make their way to the home base either undetected or if seen by the person who is it must get to homebase before them and call out Yaki 123. The hiders who are victorious have to stay near homebase til the end of the game, but they can also help the other hiders by distracting the person who is "it".

In Andhra Pradesh, a variant of Hide-and-seek is played in the name of Daagudu Mootalu.


  1. ^ The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, OUP 1986.

Hide and Seek may refer to:

In film:

in literature:

In music:

In television:

See also

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