Review: Hide ‘n’ Thief
Publisher: Whitman
Year: 1965

Cover is the pinkest thing you ever saw with a cartoon thief holding a money bag and a strange, small black and white window showing actual kids playing

how we met

There’s this thrift shop somewhat nearby that is getting a lot of donations from someone getting rid of their entire toy and games collection. Thrifting Minion Josh originally found this shop and sent the rest of us pictures. The poor guy also stood there taking inventory and price checking items for the rest of us, it was great! The place was like an Idle Remorse graveyard, so I was pretty excited about it.

Anyway we check back at this place every so often, and I have purchased very few items there because they price off eBay and don’t take shipping into account and don’t inventory the games (even though they claim that they do). They also use the worst possible price stickers that often damage the covers, which stinks because I partially fund this terrible habit of mine with resale. BUT Hide ’n’ Thief is one of the few I decided I needed or may not find again. I can’t remember what it cost, but it was around $7 or $8, which is a lot more than I usually pay.

FUN FACT: if you are trying to price something or sell it, checking eBay is a good way to do so. But there are a few things that you need to know. You should only take into account items that have sold – in other words, you need to know what something actually sells for and not just what someone is asking for it. You also need to understand that eBay prices either include or add shipping to the cost, and that shipping should not be charged to me at a thrift shop or a flea market or a toy show. And finally, eBay charges the seller a percentage of the sale, so they are in reality selling the item for even less!

Tl;dr: If you offer eBay prices for in-person items, your prices are terrible.

how it plays

Hide ’n’ Thief is a children’s pick up and deliver / memory game, so gameplay is simple but fun. Each player chooses a color and takes the pieces in that color. This includes 5 houses, two little cash bags, one little thief (looks like a gravestone to me), and their pawn which is a truck.

The five yellow components together: 5 houses, 1 truck, 2 money bags, 1 thief
This is what a complete set of yellow colored components will look like; you also need red, blue, and green

The houses sit on their corresponding colored spaces on the game board. Then each player takes turns hiding their cash bags and thief under three of their own houses at random, while the other players look away or leave the room.

An overhead shot of the board
This is what the board looks like prior to house placement

The goal of Hide ’n’ Thief is to collect at least two money bags in a color other than your own and get to the bank. Then you win!

The board set up for play showing houses all over the board
This is what the game set up for play looks like. All of the money bags and thieves are hidden in those houses!

You can peek under houses by landing in front of them. On a player’s turn they roll both dice. Then they can choose to move the total amount or just use one of the die. This should help them land strategically in front of houses for the big reveals.

If you look under a house and find a money bag, great! Place it into your truck. If you find the thief instead, that’s a bummer. You have to return any money bags you had in your truck to their players, return the thief to its player, and go back to start. All of those items get rehidden by their players.

Once you have two money bags you race for the bank, but it’s not all smooth sailing. If you land in front of a house you are required to look inside of it. This could cause you to lose everything on the home stretch!

Close up of thief piece which shows an outline of a guy in a hat and long coat pointing a gun
A poor close up of the thief, but it’s a person in a long coat, a hat, and pointing a gun

You must land on the bank by exact count and it can only be using one of the die (so roll both as normal but you can only use one to enter). So just dance around the street, avoiding houses, until you can make that happen. Then you win!

how it went

We took Hide ’n’ Thief very, very seriously, going so far as to leave the room when one of us was hiding our items. Gameplay is a bit of a crap shoot and very luck-driven, but the thrill of finding a money bag is real!

At one point when I looked away for a moment, I looked back to see that Bill had one of his own money bags in his truck. To be very clear, this is not allowed. Keep your eyes on any loophole lovers in your group.

I got pretty lucky during our play. I was not the first to find money bags, but I found my two back to back and was lucky to only hit one empty house on my trip to the bank. And I won Hide ’n’ Thief!

A shot showing my truck with money bags parked at the bank!
My blue truck making a deposit at the bank and claiming victory!

Make sure you pay attention to other people’s turns so you can avoid empty houses. Even with my goldfish-caliber memory, I was able to avoid a couple of worthless stops.

Prior to starting play this shot shows sunlight falling on the blue truck
The sun foretold my victory

play or pass

Pass. This game is super simple, super luck-driven and therefore not very gamely. I think kids would likely enjoy it a lot, and I can’t think of any other games that do hide and seek quite like Hide ‘n’ Thief does. The game is rare and the resale value on the 1965 version is pretty decent. So if you see it at thrift, consider picking it up! Even if you decide to skip gameplay.