Although many of HIDE's deduction mechanisms and choices are intriguing, the game as a whole is less than a sum of its parts.
Players deduce which intel cards other players are targeting, assassinating other players and keeping the intel cards for themselves.
Each round, four intel cards are dealt to the four locations on the board, adding to the value of any unclaimed intel cards from previous rounds. Each player randomly chooses a die and selects its face, which corresponds to one of the intel card locations. This die is kept hidden from other players for the remainder of the round. A number of dice are rolled in the center of the table for players to use on their turns.
On his turn, a player selects a die from the center. If the chosen die matches neither color nor symbol of his hidden die, the player's turn ends. If the die matches either the color or symbol of his hidden die, he attempts to guess the color and symbol of another player's hidden die. If he is correct, he gains the target player's rank cards, converting some to intel (money) cards for himself and increasing his own rank. The target player is out the game for the rest of the round.
After all players have had four turns (or been eliminated), players reveal their hidden die and retrieve the targeted intel cards. Contested intel cards are assigned randomly, where players with more matching dice this round (symbol or color) have better odds of being chosen. Any players that gained intel cards also gain a rank card, which serves to make them more attractive assassination targets in later rounds.
A player can win instantly by accumulating 7 intel cards. Otherwise, the game ends after three rounds; the player with the highest intel/rank card dollar value is the winner. In the case of a tie, the winner is determined by die roll.
What's not to like?
A swing in luck one round may determine a winner more than skill or deduction because there are only three rounds. The tiebreaker's luck feels similarly arbitrary.
Contested target card "showdown" resolution is arduous and more drawn out than it needs to be.
Player elimination early in the round removes a player from a third of the game.
The game's theme is not supported well by its gameplay. The two feel disconnected.
English rules translation is a little rough in places with phrases like "cannot be happened".
What's to like?
The interesting turn decision between revealing less about your hidden die or taking a shot at another player.
Choosing a target each round is another interesting decision between the highest value or the least competition.
Player elimination only lasts the remainder of the round.
HIDE feels a little like the game Mastermind was expanded into a true multiplayer experience with a spy theme added on. On paper, this might sound like a great idea. The concept's execution, however, falls short due to some clunky mechanics and no way to counteract swings of luck in a single game. In contrast, card games like Dead Drop feature similar deduction, luck, and theme, but the luck evens out over multiple short rounds.
The game does several things well, but the overall experience still lacks the pacing and elegance of other games. Deduction game fans looking to add dice in the mix might enjoy HIDE, but most gamers will be better served finding a deduction alternative with tighter play.
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