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What Can We Learn from Playing “Guess Who?”: 14 Important Lessons

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

Playing tabletop board games is as timeless an activity as reading a book or writing a handwritten letter. Board games such as Backgammon, Checkers, and GO date back thousands of years and can be traced back to humanity’s earliest civilizations. 

These board games weren’t just used for entertainment or passing time. They were modeled to help teach important skills and lessons, all while promoting competition and challenge.

‘Guess Who?’ is a more modern board game and was invented in 1972. However, like its predecessors, it too seeks to teach important lessons. Originally designed for kids over the age of six, the game ‘Guess Who?’ has evolved quite a lot since the original was first released in the 80s. Today, the lessons it teaches are not just great for kids but adults as well. 

One of the best ways to rekindle feelings of nostalgia is by driving an old car you once owned or playing a board game that you once loved to play! 

If you are considering playing ‘Guess Who?’ or introducing your children to this game, we have compiled a list of 14 lessons that one can expect to learn when playing.

1. Recognition & Observation

In order to be good at ‘Guess Who?’ one needs to hone in on their recognition and observation skills. Recognizing and memorizing each of the 24 characters’ distinct characteristics can help provide a massive edge when competing with an opponent. 

Some characteristics such as hair color, accessories (such as glass, hats, etc.), and gender are easy to recognize and observe, while others are a lot harder to decipher at first glance. 

The game forces you to be more observant, which can help greatly later on in life as recognition and observation are key skills for attaining success!

2. Increase Deduction Skills

The entire premise of ‘Guess Who?’ is asking yes/no questions to decipher who your opponent’s mystery character is. Through a process of elimination and deduction out of the 24 characters in the game, you are left with only one possible candidate. The first person to deduce an opponent’s mystery character correctly wins!

Deduction skills are an extremely important lesson to learn early as you will require them in many aspects of life. Solving multiple choice questions for your exams, for example, depends a lot upon deduction and elimination skills that this game teaches in spades. 

3. Importance Of Awareness

When playing ‘Guess Who?’, you also need to have a constant sense of awareness of not just what you are doing but what your opponent is doing as well. In ‘Guess Who?’, each player has their own board that has 24 character cards that can be folded down if they are deemed to be no longer a suspect.

In this way, you can see exactly how close your opponent is at any time to potentially guessing your mystery character. Staying aware of such things can give you an edge and help you make strategic decisions that can help you get that competitive edge.

4. Understanding Diversity

In many ways, the game ‘Guess Who?’ is extremely biased when it comes to gender and ethnic diversity. Out of the 24 characters in the original game, 19 of them were Caucasian males, while 5 were females. The original game also had few ethnic characters. 

When playing with a child, questions about a lack of girls or ethnic diversity in the game can come up. Even though this was never an intended lesson of the game, it is a good foundation for children to begin understanding the importance of gender and racial diversity and acceptance. 

5. The Art Of Asking Questions

Even though the game only allows yes/no questions, it doesn’t mean that these questions have to be basic. The game allows you to ask compound questions by using ‘or’ to essentially increase your chances of eliminating a lot more characters per question asked. 

Asking the right questions at the right time is also an important lesson that this game teaches. 

6. Listening Is As Important As Speaking

Even we adults can learn a thing or two about the importance of listening in ‘Guess Who?’. The information your opponent gives willingly or unwillingly can be used against them to gain the upper hand. 

As important as it is to ask the right questions, it is equally as important to listen to the answer. It is also just as important to listen to your opponent’s questions. Most opponents will constantly try and trick you into revealing something you don’t want to. 

The game teaches you the importance of listening carefully and responding carefully.

7. How To Socially Interact With Others

‘Guess Who?’ is a two-player game and, as such, encourages players to socialize while they play along. Distracting your opponent is just as much of an art as asking the right questions, and by playing the game, children can learn a lot about how to socialize both at a professional and personal level. 

8. Color Identification

This lesson is especially important for young children that are having problems with identifying different colors. In a game where a lot of questions are often based on color, children can learn to better understand the subtle differences between yellow and orange, or red or pink, for example.

9. Exercising Patience When Taking Turns

Usually, a game of ‘Guess Who?’ doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete. However, there are no time restrictions. A player can take their time in determining what question they want to ask. It forces you to be patient and allow them the time they need to ask the best question, as they will likely do the same for you.

10. Understanding How Comparison Works

Understanding how comparison works is a skill set that a child can greatly benefit from if learned at an early age. Nearly all decisions we make as grownups are based on some form of comparison. Understanding this skill can help you make more informed decisions as you are taking several different aspects into consideration. 

11. Vocabulary Development

The more you play, the more characteristics you will distinguish about each character. This will open up new questions and new words that can help build up a child’s vocabulary. It may not be as effective as a board game such as Scrabble, but for young children, ‘Guess Who?’ can act as a decent training ground.

12. Winning & Losing

All competitive games teach the importance of being humble in victory and gracious in defeat. However, this lesson is perhaps the hardest for children and adults to learn. 

‘Guess Who?’ is a two-player game that encourages competition and teaches how to deal with feelings of highs and lows when faced with victory and defeat. 

13. Recognizing Similarities

Recognizing differences is an important part of ‘Guess Who?’ but so is recognizing similarities. Creating mental images of each character’s differences and similarities can provide a distinct advantage when facing better players or even beating adults!

14. Luck vs. Skill

Another aspect that players learn is that ‘Guess Who?’ is not just about skill but also about luck. If you know that your opponent is close to guessing who your mystery character is, you can simply outright make a guess based on however many characters you may have left on your board. 

The probability of you getting it right may be low, but if you know you are going to lose, what’s the harm in tossing a hail mary. When a player wins this way, it may not seem fair, but these are the lessons one needs to understand and learn from.

Final Thoughts

Playing any board game offers its own set of lessons one can learn from. However, board games such as chess, monopoly, and scrabble may be a lot harder to understand and play for younger children. 

‘Guess Who?’ is a fairly simple game and can, in many ways, be the perfect board game to introduce to your children. It can act as a gateway to getting them to play more board games rather than spending their time looking at screens. 

All of the lessons learned from playing ‘Guess Who?‘ are vital for children growing up and can be greatly beneficial for them as they progress through life.

JC Franco

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.