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Friday, April 30, 2010

Kids Games: Guess Who?

guess who? board game

Guess Who? vintage mystery/deduction game became a hit with Ana and me when we visited Nana recently - she had it ready for our visit. We liked it so much that we got our very own for Ana's birthday.

It is a very simple game: 2 players, each get a board with faces of 24 people, each having a unique name and clearly distinguishable features. The 24 faces on the board sit in slots that can be flipped up/down. At first each player draws a card which has the picture of one of the 24 characters on the board. The object of the game is to ask "Yes/No" style questions and guess the person that the other player has drawn. Whoever guesses first wins. And "guessing" is basically educated elimination based on answers to the Yes/No questions we ask.

It is explained in detail, and a lot better than what I am doing, here.

Ana loves to play this, especially with Appa. One evening, I casually checked on their game in progress and was smiling quietly when I observed this:
Ana: Does your person have light hair, Appa?
D: No.
Ana: Oh. I can knock down all the yellow hair and white hair people now.

That is the essence of the game, the strategy: phrase each question such that we can maximize elimination.

Questions we tend to rely on for initial round tends to be like: "Is your person a woman?", "Does your person have facial hair?", "Does your person wear glasses?", "Does your person wear a hat?"... something that would eliminate the population significantly each time, leading to the correct guess first, to win.

Initially, it seemed like it can get stale easily... after all, 24 cards/people and after 24 times (once for each), it can't hold much interest, right? Wrong. Each play is different, and asking the right questions for that play in proper order, not knowing anything about the person we are trying to guess keeps this interesting each time. Not to mention honing the deduction skills and studying the silly little faces trying to think up strategies...

Now, one little complaint I have is this particular version we bought needed assembly, is rather flimsy, has only 5 girls which leads to quick-ending plays if you draw one. The old/original version we played with at Nana's was much sturdier.

We have been quite selective about adding to kids' game shelf. Ana is just at the right age when she can understand and play by the rules. Candy Land at 3 seemed just right, even if she didn't start playing by the rules (and winning) until 4. Würfel-Zwerge is another great game for 3-4 year olds as it combines memory and observation skills to spot the right elf and claim it.

I remember a lot of board games from my childhood - some aren't even made anymore. What a pity. And my memory is so vague that I can't remember the name of the game, just a feeling, a shadow of a memory of how much I enjoyed playing it. One of them had a little toy soldier with a sword, we place him on a shiny smooth mirrored circle in the middle of the board and turn him; when he stops swirling, his sword points to something on the board, like a Trivia question...

Of course, there are tons of games out there - we have over a dozen that D and I like to play, Scrabble being top among them... am sure we'll be adding more as Oggie is old enough to join in. For now, this Guess Who? board game and "Guess the animal I am thinking of" verbal game are two of Ana's top favorites.

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At 4:20 AM, Blogger Kanti Joshi said...

You may like this! (a traditional toy hive)

At 5:31 AM, Blogger Kristine said...

I actually almost brought Guess Who at the charity shop on Thursday but decided I'd stick to my purpose (jigsaw puzzles). Games are great - great opportunity for talking, great for social skills like taking turns and staying positive, great for mathematical skills like counting on a board game and sometimes less taxing than the never ending demands for imaginative play.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Vibha said...

'Guess Who' is a big hit here too. Other board game which they both like is - Mastermind.

At 11:27 AM, Blogger ChoxBox said...

this one's a huge hit here too, though these days its been replaced by junior monopoly.


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