Inside: Everything you need to know about the Sardines Game, which I can all but guarantee your kids will be playing this summer.

When I was a little girl, my all-time favorite game was Hide and Seek. I used to want to play for HOURS with my older siblings. I used to think I was the queen of hiding when they would take what felt like hours to find me…turns out they just stopped looking. But hey, that’s what it’s like to be the little sibling.

Enough of my sob story. Believe it or not, Hide and Seek is still my all-time favorite game, but these days I like to play it a little differently. Have you ever heard of the Sardines Game? It’s basically like hide seek but with a twist that makes the game much more fun. You can play it inside or outside (if you are planning an outdoor party, check out these games to play at the park).

How to ace the sardines game. Photo of woman finding kids in cabinet.

So stick around if you want to learn more. This game would be perfect for parties, get-togethers, or even just a simple night in with your family. You are going to seriously love this!

What Is The Sardines Game?

The sardines game is a backward version of Hide and Go Seek. Instead of having one person search for everyone that is hidden,  only one person hides, and everyone has to go find them instead. But when they are found, they don’t call them out. Instead, they climb in next to them and hide with them. 

This pattern continues until everyone but one person is hiding in the same spot. It’s called the sardines game because, by the end of it, you will be cramped in there like sardines! This game is so much fun. By the end of it, you will be laughing until your sides ache. 

How To Play & Win

If you are still a little unclear on the rules, I am going to walk you through what it’s like to play. That way, you know exactly what you can expect with this game. Ready?

Step One: Gather Your Sardines Game Players

This game can be played with as few as three people and as many as you want. It really depends on how much space you have, but the more people that play, the funnier this game will be. 

For my example, I am going to say that I am playing with seven people. Gather everyone into a single room and prepare them for the games ahead. Choose the first person who will go and hide. 

Step Two: Count Down for the sardines game. Photo of family with their eyes closed.

Step Two: Count Down For the Sardines Game

Next, you are going to count down from 20. You really get to choose how long you want to count for, it could be 20, 10, or however long you want. Just pick one and have everyone but the person who is hiding close their eyes and start counting. There is no peaking allowed. That is cheating!

What is the point of the game if you cheat and know exactly where the person is going? That really just takes all the fun out of it if you ask me. The excitement comes from finding the person and hiding with them. If you just follow them directly, you are robbing yourself of the fun.

Step Three: Fan Out

For this next step, everyone is going to fan out and do their own looking. You don’t want people to know that you have found the person that is hiding because then the game is over. The whole point is to hide with them until you are all squished sardines, and there is one person left looking(the loser).

So don’t be obvious when you are looking for them. Try and be stealthy as you look. One of my all-time favorite tricks when looking for a hiding space is to focus on the person’s footsteps when you have your eyes closed. This will give you the general vicinity that they are in. 

This is one of many totally fun party games!

Step Four: Hide

Next, once you find the person who is hiding, you are going to try and join them as quietly as you possibly can. Squeeze in somewhere as close to them as you can, but do not make a peep. The goal is to not let everyone find you at once. The hardest part of this entire game is not giggling when you are trying to squeeze into these spaces.

Step Five: Wait. Photo of two boys crawling in box.

Step Five:  Wait

Now you just have to wait until you are found by the next person. I am telling you, the hardest part of this is not laughing when someone finds you. Watching them squeeze into tight spaces can be downright hilarious. 

What makes matters worse is the fact that you know you should not be laughing. I don’t know what it is, but there is just something about knowing that you shouldn’t laugh that makes you want to giggle even harder. It reminds me of that Spongebob episode when he and Patrick are both in boating school. They are giggling over nothing because they know they shouldn’t.

So hold in those giggles; I know that you can do this! Once everyone but the last person finds you, just wait it out. They will stumble across the hiders at some point. That last person standing is the loser! They can be the first person to hide during the next round.

Is The Sardine Game Better Than Hide & Seek?

In my opinion, yes, absolutely. But this is obviously a personal preference. I find that with the sardines game, you laugh a whole lot more than you do at hide and seek. You feel a greater sense of friendship when you are bunkering down mere centimeters away from your best friend than if you were to hide on your own, separately. 

This also makes it much more fun as people stumble across you during the game. The whole thing is one silent giggle fest. If you aren’t laughing, you are probably giddy with the excitement of getting caught. This game is truly one in a million, and I am so happy that I found it.

sardines game

Sure, I am an adult…but adults like to have fun too! I love to help plan parties for my friend’s kids, and this game always makes it to the top of my list. But don’t get it twisted, I have actually played this at my own birthday party before. 

So what did you think about the sardines game? Are you going to play it? I sure hope so because it is truly one of those magical games that will quickly because of your new obsession. It’s free, entertaining, and so much fun. I am sometimes shocked by how much fun a little game like this can be. I think you will be, too, if you give it a chance!

There are so many other games that would be perfect additions to a party. You should check out these giant board games. They are a twist on a classic!