Those who were kids in the 1980s would probably have fond memories of playing a unique board game called Guess Who. This fun game pits two players against each other in a battle of wits to see who can guess the character card that the opponent is holding. For those unfamiliar with the game’s mechanics, we are here to provide a guide on Guess Who. This guide contains the origins of the board game, its gameplay mechanics, and some of its popular variants.
Guess Who was invented by Theo and Ora Coster, two brothers who founded Theora Design in 1965. The company came from Tel Aviv, Israel, and its original name was Matat, which means “gift” in Hebrew. Theora Design first created toys, dolls, and other crafts for children and gave it away for free to customers who are buying other products that they sell in the story. They further pursued their ventures in creating novelties by inventing products that children could enjoy. One of their most successful inventions was ICETIX, a popsicle or ice cream stick that can transform into a toy. Seeing the potential of ICETIX, Borden Dairy negotiated with Theora Design to distribute the product in the United States. With the partnership of Theora Design and Borden Dairy, they were able to sell 12 billion ice cream sticks in its 11 years of production.
The sales that Theora Design produced with the ICETIX allowed them to have sufficient budget to design or develop other toys and games, and one of these is the Guess Who board game. Guess Who was invented around 1979, and it was distributed in the United Kingdom by Milton Bradley, one of the biggest game manufacturers of the 70s and 80s. The US release of the board game soon followed in 1982.
The game of Guess Who can only be played by two players. Before playing, each player must have one Guess Who board in the table. For most editions of the game, one board is blue while the other is red. Each board has 24 character tiles, and these tiles need to be pulled up, with the faces on each tile facing your direction.
After placing the boards on the table and flipping up the character tiles, each player must shuffle the character card deck that corresponds to the color of their board. Once the deck is shuffled, the player must then place it on the table face down.
Each player must then draw one card in the character card deck, but they must not see each other’s cards. If ever your opponent sees your card, you have the opportunity to discard the card you are currently holding and draw another card on the deck.
Once one character card is set for each player on the board, it is time to decide on who goes first. You can roll one die, and whoever gets to roll the highest number goes first, or you can just flip a coin. After the first player is decided, that player would then have to guess who is indicated on the opponent’s character card. The first player must ask questions that can only be answered by yes or no. Examples of yes or no questions for this game are:
- Does your character have blonde hair?
- Does your character have glasses?
- Is your character smiling?
These questions are aimed to know the characteristics of the character in the card so that it will be easier to guess who it is. Remember that the questions should be answered by yes or no, so questions that are open-ended like “What is the eye color of your character?” are not allowed.
If your question is “Does your character have blue eyes?” and he said yes, then you must flip down the characters in your board that doesn’t have blue eyes. Flipping down characters helps you narrow down your choices as to who is the character that your opponents have in his or her card.
After flipping down tiles, your opponent will then be the one who will ask questions about your character. The same process repeats if no one is still able to guess their opponent’s character card. If a player only has one character tile left on the board, he or she can ask if the name of the opponent’s character card is the same as the one written on the tile. If that player guesses correctly, then he or she will win one point. If the guess is wrong, then the opponent is the one who wins one point. The points accumulated in the game can be tallied on the score section of the board, which is located facing directly at the player who owns the board. After one round, each player would then have to return the character card on their respective decks, shuffle them again, and draw another card to play the second round. The Guess Who game can be played with only one round, but to make it longer, there are some players who would opt to go for five rounds.
Popular Editions and Variants
Besides the standard edition, there are also interesting variants of Guess Who that are available in the market. Here are some of the most well-known editions of the board game.
This edition of Guess Who features the classic characters that appear in the 1988 version of the board game. The Retro Series 1988 Edition is perfect for adults who have played Guess Who in the 1980s that want to relive their childhood with their children.
The Guess Who Star Wars Edition is a fascinating variant that features popular characters in the Star Wars movie franchise as the tiles and the cards in the game. The mechanics for this game is the same as the original version, but instead of random people, the characters you have to guess on the board are Star Wars characters. In addition, the board also has a new design that allows the characters to be more hidden for the opponent.
Another edition featuring well-established characters, the Guess Who Peppa Pig Edition includes characters from the popular children’s television show. The design of the boards is similar to the ones found in the Star Wars edition, but the colors are more related to the theme of Peppa Pig.
Guess Who is a simple board game that can be played by people of all ages. The game would remain popular among fans and newbies because of its enjoyable mechanics that will surely bring hours of fun for players.