Sep 29 2009

Review of Hide and Seek Board Game

I’ll admit that I was a tiny bit skeptical when I was offered a review copy of Hide & Seek, a new board game. After all, I thought, how original can a board game be? But the representative from LemonTree Games assured me that my kids would love it, and we like to try new things, so the game was sent our way.

The kids wanted to open the package and play it right after breakfast. I had a headache and hadn’t eaten yet, so I wasn’t overjoyed with their timing. The game instructions were just a little too complicated for them to figure out on their own, so I sat down to play a few rounds.

I was very pleasantly surprised.

I did realize that I needed to read the instructions from start to finish. (I’m a reading/visual learner, so this is typical.) The instructions are clear, though, and it’s easy to find the answers to questions that come up during the game, like “Do I need to start on Home?” or “Is a rock counted as a space when moving?”

Then we got started: one mom and four kids, ages 8, 6, 5, and 3. It didn’t take long to catch on. Like any game of Hide & Seek, there’s an “It” and some hiders. When the hiders are “found,” by roll of a special die, It begins to chase them around the board. I first thought it would be impossible for It to chase us all around the board, but there are enough special spots, determined by roll of the die, that could put It right next to you or suddenly safely far away, that it keeps the game exciting.

The game is listed for ages 6 and up, but my 5-year-old had no problem with it, and my 3-year-old caught on quickly and could play on her own with help from the other kids. There’s nothing to read and there are numbers, not dots, on the die, so little ones can easily do the counting involved in the game.

There are eight, yes eight, game tokens, so large groups of kids or bigger families can all play together with no one being left out. This is a refreshing change from the many games on the market that are for 2-4 players.

There are two options for play included in the instructions; one is a series of quick rounds and the other creates “It” helpers and involves keeping track of points on the included score pad. I like that the rounds go quickly, so young kids can play a game or two without becoming bored halfway through. (It would also be easy to add an extra player midway through the game; it would be as if that person hadn’t “come out of hiding” yet. It always seems that someone wants to join the game after they see how much fun the others are having!)

This next point will be important to any family with a shelf full of games with taped-up boxes: The box is thick and sturdy and will be much more difficult to destruct than most game boxes are. It’s such a little thing but it really impressed me.

On the con side, I don’t have much. I wish there were a little more contrast between the green colors for the playing spaces and especially the clovers. These old eyes had a little trouble finding the clovers at first. I know it’s nitpicky, but it’s really the only downside I found.

This is a brand-new game, and is available directly from LemonTree Games as well as a growing list of retailers. (Retailer information can be found on the website.) If you’re looking for some new family-game-night fun, I recommend Hide & Seek.

Update: After two weeks, the kids are still pulling the games out and playing. Sometimes they ask me to play with them, but often they just play on their own. Because there aren’t a ton of pieces involved, it’s also easy to get them to clean up afterwards.

Note: I was provided a review copy of this game by LemonTree Games at no cost to me.

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