Hide and seek

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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.

Normal Variant

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 then 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", "all ye, all ye, in come free", or where the call has been changed and slurred "Olly Olly Oxen free!" which means a new it has been tagged and all the other hiders are safe to return to base.


In Sweden, a variant of this game is called "burken" (the can), known in English as "kick the can." Here, the person who is 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.

Tag Run

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]

Bloody Murder

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 40-40 it, (AKA 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 40-40 (or Yaki 123 depending on where you come from). 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. 40-40 it and Yaki 123 only have one other major difference in that at the start of a round of 40-40 it the person who is it will always either count to 40 or 80, depending on how the name 40-40 it is interpreted; either as the number 40 in the name meaning that you should count to 40, or the two 40s being interpreted as meaning 40+40(=80) and meaning that you should count to 80. In Yaki 123 there is no restriction on the number that is counted to before starting to seek.

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