How to Play the Guess Who? Board Game (and Win It All)

Girls playing game in train

The Guess Who? board game is a popular board game that many people young and old remember fondly from their youth. Not only is Guess Who? the game great for teaching deductive reasoning skills, but it can provide hours of entertainment for both kids and adults alike.

The Details on the Guess Who? Board Game

First introduced in 1979, Guess Who? is a guessing game where you come up with questions to guess the other player's character. Through fun and thoughtful questions like, "Does your person wear glasses?," you can slowly weed down characters until you are the ultimate victor.

Who Can Play Guess Who?

A two-player board game, Guess Who? is a game that adults and older children can enjoy playing along with the youngest members of the household, since the game is recommended for those six and older. Many teenagers and adults enjoy playing this game, even though it is designed for younger children. Therefore, you can have your great Aunt Sally play with little Becky and both will have a great time in this 20 minute game. Who knows, they might even go for round two!

About the Game

Guess Who is a simple game to set up and play. If you're looking for just the bottom line, here's what you need to know:

  • Some assembly required
  • Includes two game boards
  • Comes with 48 character cards
  • No batteries needed

How to Play Guess Who?

In Guess Who?, both players choose a character from among the 48 different game characters. The object of the game is to figure out the identity of your opponent's character by a process of working through character cards and asking identification questions.

Asking the Right Questions

Players take turns flipping over cards that display character faces and asking "yes or no" questions that can help narrow down the identity of the other player's secret person. Questioning techniques vary, depending on the age and reasoning skills of the players. Sample questions include:

  • Is your person a man?
  • Is your person a woman?
  • Does your person wear glasses?
  • Does your person have red hair?
  • Does your person have blonde hair?
  • Does your person have brown hair?
  • Does your person have black hair?
  • Does your person have gray hair?
  • Does your person's name start with a vowel?
  • Does your person's name start with a consonant?

As players go through cards and ask each other questions, they move closer to winning the game by narrowing down the possibilities. Players polish their deduction skills as they navigate through the process of solving the identity of their opponent's mystery person.

Skills Learned Through Playing

Every great board game for kids offers the chance to learn and hone skills. Guess Who? helps with the following:

wooden cubes with word GUESS
  • Ability to come up with good questions
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Deductive reasoning skills
  • Discriminating among similarities and differences
  • How the process of elimination works
  • Logical thinking skills
  • Observational skills

Strategies for Winning

Winning the game comes down to asking the right questions. When looking at the characters, you'll notice that most of them have several features that are similar. While you'll want to get the obvious questions like, "is your character a man?" out of the way, think about multi-part questions that make up several characters. For example:

  • Several characters have black hair, glasses and large noses. If you ask a question like, "Does your character have red hair or glasses?" you can weed out more characters than a simple one-part question.
  • You can also ask questions about attributes that only a few characters have like, "Does your character have long hair or earrings?" While a negative answer might not get you too far, a positive one can take you from 48 cards to six really quickly.

Other Versions of the Game

The Guess Who? board game is popular with young kids and has inspired different versions. While some of these versions are readily available new, some versions are only available used from resale stores and resellers, or vendors like eBay. Costs will range from about $10 for the original upwards of $50 for harder to find versions. Different versions of Guess Who? include:

Family Fun With the Guess Who? Board Game

When you're looking for a family board game that is both fun and educational for kids of all ages, Guess Who? could be the perfect choice. You might find you enjoy it almost as much as your child does!

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How to Play the Guess Who? Board Game (and Win It All)