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How To Play Guess Who?: 15 Things You Need to Know (Rules, Tips,…)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

There are not many games as simple to learn and entertaining at the same time as Guess Who?. Despite being overshadowed by more popular board games such as Monopoly, the game is still a lot of fun, especially for kids. It’s a two-player game that is perfect for ages six and up, and despite coming off as “childish”, it is exciting to play even as an adult. 

The game’s basic concept is guessing each other’s characters based on their physical attributes and appearance, such as glasses, the color of hair, what they are wearing, eye and skin color, etc. 

The way this “guessing” is done is through a turn-by-turn questioning session by both parties in an attempt to fathom who the mystery character is from the character cards on the board. 

By modern gaming standards, this board game is as basic as it gets in terms of rules. This is what makes it so much fun to play for kids who don’t want a million rules that need to be memorized before playing. 

However, just because they are minimal rules doesn’t mean the game is easy. After all, you are beating the person in front of you, and outwitting them requires more skill than you would think. 

This is why we have compiled a list of the 15 things you need to know before you play Guess Who?. Let’s get to it! 

1. Object Of The Game

The object of the game is to guess the mystery person on your opponent’s card. You do this by asking questions turn by turn in an attempt to eliminate characters on the board that don’t fit the description provided in the answers. Guess the mystery person before your opponent can, and you win!

2. Sitting Opposite / Away From One Another

To minimize cheating and disregard any attempts to do so, try to play apart from one another as this not only ruins the fun of the game. Anyone who tries to cheat is surely going to get an upper hand. 

Stray away from mirrors, as they might reflect the character card allowing your opponent to see who you’ve picked. Playing a fair game is always more important than winning. 

3. Setting Up The Board

After opening the box, detach the 48-character cards from the sheet. Red cards are given to player A, and blue cards are given to player B. Both players need to slide their cards into the face frames, so they have a good view of them all. 

4. A Two-Player Game

There’s no point in trying to play with more than two people with multiple boards, as this just doesn’t work. The way the game is designed, two people playing is the best way to go about it.

5. What’s Included In The Box?

The board game should have the following contents.

  • 2 plastic game board units
  • 24 mystery cards
  • 48 face cards and face frames
  • 2 scorekeepers

6. First Time Playing?

If you are playing for the first time, you and your opponent should each choose a game board. Next, flip all your frames upright to reveal all the characters. Both players will then shuffle their mystery cards and choose a random one for the mystery card slot on the gameboard. 

All the unused mystery cards on the board can then be placed face down and out of play. You are now ready to play! 

7. Who Goes First?

The youngest of the two players will always go first. Going first can be seen as an advantage, but in most games, it doesn’t matter. Each turn you get allows you to either ask a question or guess who the mystery person is. However, beware! If you guess wrong, you lose the game!

8. Rules Behind Asking Questions

Questions can always be phrased in a manner that results in a yes or no answer. For example, you can ask, “Does your person have red hair?”. The opponent will respond in either a yes or a no. You can not ask questions such as “What is your person’s hair color?”. That defeats the purpose of the game. 

9. Eliminating Faces/Characters 

Once you get an answer to one of your questions, you can now start eliminating unlikely suspects. So, for example, if the answer to your earlier question was “No”, you now know that the mystery person doesn’t have red hair. Flip down all the faces that have red hair, and now your turn is over. 

10. Observing The Board

There are 24 characters on each board. This means there are 24 different faces with different attributes and facial features. Taking a nice long look at the faces and finding similarities and differences early can give you a fair idea of what questions to ask first.

11. Tips On Questioning 

How you choose your questions is extremely important. The nature of these questions decides how quickly you reach your final guess. Be as specific as you can be with your questions. 

Focus on the details of each character, such as their hair, eyes, beards, mustaches, nose, ears, and even what clothes and accessories they may be wearing.  

12. Flipping Down Cards

If 13/24 characters have red hair, flip them down as they are now of no use to you. No point in looking at faces that aren’t the mystery person you are looking for. Not flipping face cards that you have eliminated can make the game very confusing and winning almost impossible. 

Be careful as to not flip-down characters that do have red hair, as this just might ruin your round. Always double-check before making your move. 

13. Answering Questions

Players must answer only with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. However, playing with the mind of your opponent is always important when playing Guess Who?. Keeping them talking can perhaps reveal information that they weren’t intending on sharing. This is, after all, what makes the game fun!

14. Guessing The Mystery Person

After you’re ready to make your guess, make sure it is an educated one and not a hunch. Also, make sure you guess first on your turn. If you ask a question, you cannot then guess. You must wait until the player asks you a question first, and then you can guess. 

A clever way to guess if you are not 100% sure is to ask a question like, “Is the mystery person Sam?”. A yes or no answer would tell you what you need to know, and since it is a question and not a guess, you won’t lose the game. 

15. Winning The Game 

Players alternate questions until, eventually, one of them is ready to guess. If the player guesses correctly, they win. If they guess wrong, they lose. 

Guess Who? – A Quick History Lesson

People all over the world associate Guess Who? with Hasbro. Although they do have ownership of the board game now and its trademark, the game didn’t start out with Hasbro. 

Rising like a thunderbolt, Guess Who? took off all over the world and was being bought as gifts for kids while also being a “must-have” for board game lovers. Within a few years, it was introduced in the United Kingdom when Hasbro took over the ownership and trademark products of Milton Bradley, allowing it to be the original makers of the game. 

Since then, Guess Who? has only exploded in popularity as there are several renditions of the game with collaborations with Star Wars, Marvel, and other giants of the entertainment industry. Despite being MNC Hasbro-owned, several versions and knock-offs have been developed by game stores for that “something different” feeling. 

All Things Considered

What makes “Guess Who?” so much fun for kids and even adults is how simple the game is to pick up and play. Yet, its immersiveness and charm can keep you playing for hours while having memorable moments with your dearest loved ones. People nowadays can get lost in technology, but it’s games like Guess Who? that truly bring the family together. 

If you are considering buying Guess Who? for your kids, this is highly recommended. Guess Who? offers plenty of benefits when it comes to teaching developing minds the importance of social interaction, identity recognition, and much more.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.