When we think of board games, we think of our childhood. Spending quality time with our siblings and parents, while competing with one another to emerge victorious and secure bragging rights around the house.
My siblings and I loved playing ‘Guess Who?’. A relatively simple two-player board game that involved asking yes or no questions to your opponent to deduce which one of the 24 characters they were holding. Guess your opponent’s mystery character before they are able to guess yours, and you win!
For those born before the start of the new millennium, ‘Guess Who?’ was a game found in most households. So, we thought, why not kindle those feelings of nostalgia by taking a look at the most fun and interesting facts about ‘Guess Who?’ that we bet you didn’t know!
1. Inventor Of ‘Guess Who?’
‘Guess Who?’ was designed and developed by Ora and Theo Coster in 1972. At the time, they were owners of Theora Design, a company that specialized in the invention of new games and toys.
2. First Launched
‘Guess Who?’ was first introduced in 1979 by Milton Bradley. It wasn’t until 1982 that the game was brought to the UK by a man named Jack Barr Sr.
3. Owner Of ‘Guess Who?’
Today, the copyright is owned by Hasbro, and the classic edition is still being manufactured by Winning Moves Games USA.
4. Intended Audience
The game was originally designed for children of ages 6+. However, it is just as fun to play, even if you are an adult!
5. Special Editions
There have been plenty of special editions of ‘Guess Who?’ games apart from the classic version we all loved to play in the 80s.
Some of the most popular and entertaining special editions include:
- The Electronic Guess Who? Game – a modern take on the old classic, this version includes four game modes, 144 characters, and features lights, music, and even a timer for those seeking more of a challenge!
- Electronic Guess Who? Extra – Another modern version of the classic game that adds its own twist and flavor to the mix! The best bit about this game is that it uses a special key to unlock your opponent’s mystery character. How cool is that?
- Guess Who? Finding Dory Edition
- Guess Who? Marvel Edition
- Guess Who? Star Wars Edition
- Hasbro Guess Who? Mix’ n Match
6. The Original Marketing Ad
The earliest advertisements aired in the United States showed ‘Guess Who?’ characters come to life and even talk. However, as The Federal Trade Commission made advertising laws stricter, a disclaimer was added at the end of this ad that stated, “game cards do not actually talk”.
Watching the ad today, I found it not only nostalgic but also quite humorous. If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.
7. The Classic 1982 Edition
The Classic 1982 Edition is a lot different than the modern version of ‘Guess Who?’. For one, the characters are different, and even the board is a tabletop style board rather than a handheld board.
Even though the 1982 edition has seen its fair share of criticism over the years, it is still one of the most sought-after ‘Guess Who?’ boards for collectors and fans.
8. Skills Learnt While Playing
‘Guess Who?’ may seem like a simple child’s game, but in truth, it does teach important life skills that can help bolster personal growth and learning.
Skills such as deductive reasoning, critical thinking, investigative questioning, logical thinking, observation, focus, and recognizing differences and similarities can all be honed and exercised as you play the game.
9. Anne & Anita
Two characters in the original version of ‘Guess Who?’ stand out a lot more than the rest. Unfortunately, not for the right reasons.
They are amongst the worst to draw as your mystery character card. These two people have the most distinctive characteristics in the game. However, that’s not all. Anne is the only African American person, and Anita is the only child, which makes guessing either of them a very easy task for your opponent.
10. Criticized For Its lack Of Diversity
The fact that there are only 5 females compared to the 19 males in the original version of ‘Guess Who?’ didn’t really make any sense as it put the person who draws a female in the game in quite a difficult situation.
Also, in the original game, there is only one person of color while all the rest are caucasian. Was it oversight or deliberate? You be the judge!
11. Winning In Just One Turn!
It is possible to actually beat your opponent in just one turn. Asking the question “Is your person dark-skinned?” or “Is your person a child?” both have a 1/24 chance of being answered in the affirmative.
As only Anne and Anita fit this description, you could potentially win after your very first questions. However, in most cases, this isn’t a strategy that you would want to adopt right at the start of the game.
12. Strongly Solved
A “solved game” is one whose outcome can be predicted from any position as long as both players play the game perfectly. There are plenty of solved games, but they are also games that are ‘strongly solved’.
In this case, an algorithm is created that takes into account each player’s positions and possible moves at any point in the game to predict an outcome. These calculations are done by a computer, and if the predictions are accurate, the game is considered strongly solved.
‘Guess Who?’ is a game that can be added to the list of solved games, after Mihai Nica strongly solved the game in 2016.
13. A Giant-Sized Board Game
Giant-size versions of ‘Guess Who?’ are more popular than you would think. One of the first giant-size boards was displayed at the Spiel Festival in 2008 and was a big hit with kids and adults alike.
14. Giant Who & Mega Who
You can now buy a giant-sized version of the classic ‘Guess Who?’ game for your very own backyard! The Giant Who and Mega Who boards can be bought online and are a fun and inventive way to have fun with your kids while enjoying the outdoors.
15. Winning Strategies
The best winning strategy in ‘Guess Who?’ is using the letter strategy and asking compound questions.
16. Vintage 1982 Lakeside Edition
You can find original used vintage 1982 Lakeside Edition ‘Guess Who?’ Boards on online sites, like eBay and Amazon.
17. The Guess Who
The Guess Who was actually a Canadian rock band that was quite popular in the 60s.
18. Blamed For Sexism & Racism
In 2012, a six-year-old girl wrote an email to Hasbro asking why the game was so gendered biased. Her question sparked an online debate where the company and the game came under heavy scrutiny. Many boycotted the game as it was seen to be gender-biased and lacking ethnic diversity.
19. Travel ‘Guess Who?’
A portable version of the game that has only 20 face cards and can be played while on the move!
20. Similar Games
Charades, Twenty-Questions, and even Hangman are all similar to ‘Guess Who?’ as they require investigative questioning and deductive reasoning to pull out a win!
21. Annual Units Sold
‘Guess Who?’ is still one of Hasbro’s most popular board games. On average, around 2 million copies of the game are sold each year in about 30 different countries.
22. Who’s She?
If you are seeking a version of ‘Guess Who?’ that is more female-oriented, you should give ‘Who’s She?’ a try. This game is based on the accomplishments of real women, both past and present.
23. The Subjective ‘Guess Who?’ TikTok Trend
A new twist to this classic game has been trending on TikTok. Instead of asking questions like “does your person have blonde hair?”, players are asking more subjective questions such as “is your person rude to waiters?”.
The questions and answers are based solely on the illustration of expressions on each character’s face. It makes for highly comical gameplay that has become something of a viral trend!