HIDE & SEEK - game for 1 player



The concept for “Hide and Seek” is so simple that when I came up with it, I could hardly believe a puzzle like this didn’t already exist. How can you make a game with only 4 puzzle pieces AND keep the 48 challenges interesting and fun? This SmartGame proves it is possible and that “less is more”.


The object is to cover a game board with puzzle tile cutouts, so that some areas of the board remain visible. The puzzle tiles always fit, but they show or hide different artwork depending on how the cutouts are positioned.

My inspiration for this SmartGame came from a ‘key’ for writing secret messages that I found as a child in a magazine for kids. It was a cardboard square with a number of holes cut out of it. In each hole you wrote a letter. After writing the letter, you rotated the card 90° so the holes would be in a different location. After 4 turns, you ended up with a square completely filled with letters. You could only break the code if you had the right key.


I reversed this idea. By using 4 puzzle tiles, there are 3,072 different ways of placing them together on the game board, each time hiding and showing a different combination of animals. The position of these animals on the game board is carefully chosen, so that enough unique combinations remain to create 48 challenges.

Top left: game board of Hide & Seek Safari. Top right: game board of Hide & Seek Pirates.


The original version was Hide & Seek Safari. A year later I made an easier version with fewer ‘holes’, for children aged 5 and up, Hide & Seek Pirates. In 2009 we added a much easier version for children aged 3 and up (Dora is searching for her friends). For the original Safari game, there is also a booster pack with an extra puzzle tile and 60 new challenges. In 2010 Pierre Bellevédère released a version of Pirates with a special theme: Hide & Seek Canada. And for the Danish market there is now a special version with Rasmus Klump with the same easier challenges as the version with Dora the explorer.

Both games were also sold as Safari UnderCover and Pirates UnderCover in the USA in the past. In 2011 Smart also published 2 cheaper and more compact versions with completely different artwork, but with the same 48 challenges as the original games. These games are in the shape of a booklet and the pieces are magnetic, so these magnetic travel games are perfectly for on the road: Waterworld (based on Pirates) and Busy Bugs (based on Safari).

Update 2016: In 2016 SmartGames will introduce two completely new versions of both Hide & Seek puzzles.


Hide & Seek - Pirates

  1. CTTC three star rating 2007 (Canada)

  2. Highest Recommendation 2007 (Canada): Protégez-Vous Magazine

  3. Parents Choice Gold Award 2008 (USA)

  4. “BEST BET AWARD” 2007, CTTC (Canada)

  5. МОО "Экспертиза для детей ( IPO, "Examination for Children): Gold Award 2008 (Russia)

• The Ombudsman for Children, Main Prize Winner category: Toys for 7-12 year (Poland) 2009

Hide & Seek - Safari

Good Toy Foundation: nominated "Toy of the Year 2006 (The Netherlands)

• Good Toy Guide Award 2006 (UK)

• Hamleys :”The Toy That makes You Turn Off Your TV “AWARD 2006 (UK)

  1. Best Puzzle Nominee 2009: GAMES Magazine (USA)

  2. МОО "Экспертиза для детей ( IPO, "Examination for Children): Gold Award 2008 (Russia).jpg

  3. The Ombudsman for Children, Main Prize Winner category: Toys for 7-12 year (Poland) 2009

Hide & Seek - Canada, special version of Pirates only available in Canada

  1. 6/6 rating (Highest Recommendation) Protégez-Vous Magazine 2011 (Canada)


Hide and Seek on the official website of SmartGames

  1. politiken.dk (DK): Udfordring med fire brikker

  2. igrudom.ru: Пираты. Прятки.

  3. www.gamesfanatic.pl: Safari Hide & Seek – gra w chowanego

  4. www.deskovehry.com (CZ): Recenze: Smart Games Safari – Schovej a najdi

  5. www.sjovforborn.dk: Rasmus Klump sjov på dybt vand – fantastisk udfordringsspil til børn


A time line with the year of release of the different versions can be found here. If you liked this game, you will probably like following SmartGames with tiles too:


© 2003: Raf Peeters

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