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Guess Who? Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Guess Who? Board Game: Rules and Instructions for How to Play

Guess Who? How to Play Quick Links:  |  Objective  |  Setup  |  Playing the Game  |  Guessing the Mystery Character  |  Winning the Game  |  Championship Series  |  FAQ  |  Components  |

Note: Guess Who? has changed the characters present in the game over the years. The gameplay has not changed though so this guide applies to all versions of Guess Who?.

Objective of Guess Who?

The objective of Guess Who? is to ask questions to your opponent to try and guess their mystery character before they guess your character.


  • Insert a face card (smaller cards) into each space/door on each gameboard. Place the blue cards on the blue board and the red cards on the red board. There is no required order for how you place the cards into the doors.
  • Each player takes one of the boards. Place it so the scorekeeper and mystery card slot are closest to you. Slide the scorekeeper to the zero position.
  • Flip all of the doors open on your gameboard.
  • Shuffle the mystery card deck (larger cards). Each player randomly chooses one of the cards and places it in their mystery card slot. This is the character that you will answer questions about. You should not let the other player see the card you selected. You could choose to flip over the corresponding door from your gameboard as your opponent couldn’t have drawn the same card as you did. Note: There are some older versions of Guess Who? that have you draw two mystery cards, and you get to choose which one you want to use.
  • Place the rest of the mystery cards to the side so no one can see them. They won’t be used until you play another game.
  • The youngest player starts the game. The two players will alternate taking turns.
Setup for Guess Who?

Playing Guess Who?

Asking A Question in Guess Who?

On your turn you will look at the pictures on the doors that are still up on your gameboard. You need to think of a question to ask the other player about their mystery character that will eliminate some of the face up doors on your gameboard.

When trying to come up with a question, there aren’t many restrictions on what you can ask. The question needs to be answered with yes or no. Otherwise you can pretty much ask any question. Some example questions you could ask are as follows:

  • Is your character a man/woman? The game recommends (in newer versions of the game) waiting to ask this question until at least your third turn if you want a greater challenge.
  • Does your character have brown/blond/white/no hair?
  • Is your character wearing glasses?
  • Does your character have a hat on?
  • Does your character have earrings?
  • Are your characters eyes blue/brown/green/etc?
  • Does your character have a big/small nose/mouth?
  • Does your character have facial hair?

On your turn you could ask any of the above questions or come up with your own.

Receiving a Response to Your Question

After you ask your question, your opponent looks at their mystery card. They will determine whether the answer to your question is yes or no. You need to tell the truth when answering another player’s question.

After receiving a response to your question, you will flip down some of the doors depending on what response you received.

If the other player answers no, you will flip down any door that matches what you asked in your question. For example you asked if their mystery character has brown hair. If they answer no, you will flip down any doors with characters that have brown hair.

Asked if the other player's character has green eyes
The blue player asked the red player if their character has green eyes. They answered no. The blue player flipped down all of the doors with characters who have green eyes.

If the other player responded with a yes, you will flip down any doors that don’t match what you asked in your question. For example you ask the other player if their mystery character has glasses. If they answer yes, you will flip down any characters that aren’t wearing glasses.

The blue player asked if the red player's character wears glasses and their response was yes.
The blue player asked the red player if their character wears glasses. They answered yes. Therefore the blue player flipped down all of the doors of characters that weren’t wearing glasses.

After you receive your response and you flip down the corresponding doors, play passes to the other player.

Guessing the Mystery Character

When you think you know what your opponent’s mystery character is, you can choose to use your turn to guess their identity. You must do this at the beginning of your turn before you ask a question.

Guessing the Mystery Character in Guess Who?
The blue player has eliminated all of the possible solutions except for Rachel. At the beginning of their turn they decide to guess that the other player’s character is Rachel. Since the red player’s mystery character was Rachel, the blue player has won the game.

You only have one chance to guess the other player’s mystery character. If you guess wrong, the other player wins the game. Therefore you should only guess their identity when you are pretty sure of what it is.

Winning Guess Who?

When one of the players make a guess of the other player’s mystery character’s identity, the game ends. The outcome depends on whether the player guessed correctly.

If the player guessed the correct mystery character, they win the game.

If they guess incorrectly, the other player wins the game.

Challenge Game Variant

The Guess Who? Challenge Game variant is only printed in the rules for some versions of the game. You could choose to use the variant in any version of the game though. This variant makes the game more challenging.

If you choose to play this variant, you will draw two mystery cards at the beginning of the game. The objective of the game is to try and guess both mystery cards that your opponent drew.

The gameplay is mostly the same as normal Guess Who?. Since you are trying to figure out two identities at the same time though, you need to be thoughtful when you ask questions. Every question you ask must include “both” or “either”.

When eliminating suspects you need to carefully analyze what response you received. One of your opponent’s characters may have the characteristic while the other might not have it. Only eliminate a suspect when you know for sure that they can’t be either of the other player’s characters.

When you think you have solved both identities, you can guess like in the normal game. To win the game you need to correctly guess both identities. If you are wrong on both or either of the characters, you lose the game.

Championship Series Variant

If you want to play several games, you can choose to use the Championship Series variant rules.

This variant is played mostly the same as the normal game. Each time you win the game, you will slide your scoring peg forward one space to increase your score. Some older versions of the game have you place a peg on your gameboard. The first player to win five games, wins Guess Who?.

Winning the Championship Series
The blue player has won five games of Guess Who?. They have won the Championship Series.

Guess Who? FAQ

If you have any questions about how to play Guess Who?, leave a comment below on this post. I will try to answer any questions asked as best and as quickly as possible.

Components for Guess Who?

Guess Who? Components

  • 2 gameboards
  • 24 blue face cards
  • 24 red face cards
  • 24 mystery cards
  • 2 scorekeepers (some older versions of the game used score pegs)
  • Instructions

If you would like to see how to improve your chances of winning, check out our post about Guess Who? strategy.

Year: 1979 | Publisher: Hasbro, Milton Bradley | Designer: Theo Coster, Ora Coster, Theora Design | Artist: Theora Design

Genres: Children’s, Deduction, Family

Ages: 6+ | Number of Players: 2 | Length of Game: 10 minutes

Difficulty: Light | Strategy: Light-Moderate | Luck: Moderate

Where to Purchase: Amazon, eBay Any purchases made through these links (including other products) help keep Geeky Hobbies running. Thank you for your support.

For more board and card game rules/how to plays, check out our complete alphabetical list of card and board game rules posts.

How to Win Guess Who Within Six Turns - Geeky Hobbies

Tuesday 12th of March 2024

[…] Guess Who? is a simplified deduction game meant for people of all ages. Basically each player chooses a secret identity, and the objective of the game is to guess your opponent’s identity. You will do this by asking yes or no questions. With each question you will eliminate some of the potential secret identities of your opponent. Check out our how to play guide for the full rules of Guess Who? […]