Guess who?
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16.12.2017

Guess who?

The game of Guess Who is a guessing game for two players manufactured by Milton Bradley in 1987. Each player gets an identical board that contains images of 24 people with their first names given. The object of the game is to determine the cards the opponent player has selected, before that player identifies your cards. The identity of the cards is arrived at by asking yes or no questions, such as ‘does this person have brown hair?’ etc. The opponent provides the answer to these questions, utilizing which one can eliminate a certain number of names on the cards; the rejected ones are flipped down on the board.

Questions such as ‘is your person a woman?’ will elicit in the elimination of five card choices. Questions such as ‘does the person’s name begin with a vowel?’ as opposed to questions like ‘does this person wear glasses?’ narrow down the choices a lot more. Obvious questions tend to reveal lesser than specific questions do, which should be kept in mind while guessing the identity of the cards. If questions that eliminate more choices are asked, the name of the card is revealed faster.

Although the game enjoyed popularity for a short while, it never got worldwide attention, unlike other guessing games such as twenty questions, name that tune etc. Brought out as a children’s game, this game can be quite challenging for adults as well. Statistically there may be different game scenarios that may result in varied outcomes. When for example, on player A’s turn there are only four possibilities left, and player B has only two possibilities left, player B will arrive at the correct guess for certain on the next turn. Player A has the option of selecting a question that will definitely eliminate two card choices, or ask a question that will eliminate three card options (allowing one certain guess), or even ask a single question, which will force a guess on the next turn with a 1 in 3 chance of getting it right for a rebuttal. In such a situation, most players choose the supposedly safe choice of gaining a 50-50 chance of guessing correctly, by asking a question that eliminates two choices. However, trying to eliminate there options is a better game plan, as there will be a ¼ chance of winning straight away, ¼ chance of tying with Player B on that turn for guessing a face correctly, and 1/3 chance of losing. This is definitely better than a ½ chance of losing, and ½ chance of tying with player B.

Guess who is titled the ‘original mystery face-guessing game’ by manufacturers such as Hasbro, and comes in attractive blue and red versions, with yellow face cards. The popularity of the game led to many TV shows based on a similar guessing theme. Bill board commercials featuring the game had different card characters coming to life and talking to each other. Following the immense attention that such ads received, later editions of the game featured a disclaimer- ‘game cards to not actually talk’.
May 6, 2008, 3:57 am


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