The Hide-and-Seek World Championship is an Actual Event

The game of hide-and-seek may not yet be an Olympic sport – although efforts are being made in that regard – but it’s apparently popular enough to have its own world championship.

What started out as a fun one-time event thought up by small Italian publication CTRL Magazine, in 2010, eventually turned into an annual event that grew with every edition. This year, the 6th Nascodino World Championship – “nascondino” is Italian for hide-and-seek – will take place on the the 3rd and 4th of September, in the beautiful village of Consonno, once a bustling tourist attraction complete with its own zoo, sightseeing train and several eclectic buildings. It has since become a ghost town, but event organizers consider the settlement perfect for a grand hide-and-seek competition.

The rules of the tournament are a bit more complex than the childhood game we all used to play growing up, but then again, this is a contest for grownups (18-year-olds and above). Participants may register to take part in the World Nascondino Championship in teams of five, after paying a €125 fee per team. The teams are then divided into four groups and one person per group hides while a “neutral searching team” counts 60 seconds. The hidden player then has 10 minutes to come out of their hiding spot and reach a soft mattress (for diving purposes) placed in the middle of a field without being found or at least before a member of the searching team. If they fail to reach their target within the time limit, players are not awarded any points. The game goes on for two days until the ultimate winner is declared.


Photo: Nascondino World Championship/Facebook

It sounds easy enough, but that neutral searching team I mentioned above is bound to give players some serious trouble. That’s because it’s made up of rugby and American football players who are both fast and very good at tackling runners. So simply jumping out of a hiding place at any time and trying to outrun them on a 25,000-square-meter field is probably not a very good idea.


Photo: Nascondino World Championship/Facebook

Michele Zeffino, a participant of the 2014 Nascondino World Championship told Quartz that the most difficult part of the game is deciding when to come out of their hiding place. He adds that every team has its own strategy, which they are very reluctant to divulge before the event, and that the whole event is very competitive.


Photo: Nascondino World Championship/Facebook

Although the hide-and-seek championship has come a long way since its first edition, six years ago, it’s still just an Italian affair, as organizer Giorgio Moratti says the “world” part is “more of an ambition than the reality”. He and his team are doing everything in their power to raise more awareness about the event, to hopefully draw competitors from outside the country in the near future. This year, 64 teams have registered for the Nascondino World Championship, over four times more than the 15 that took part in 2010.


Photo: Nascondino World Championship/Facebook

I was pretty decent at hide-and-seek as a kid, maybe I’ll try my luck at becoming world champion next year. Now if I could only find four friends to register with…