Guess Who?

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Two people playing Guess Who? at Spiel 2008.

Guess Who? is a two-player character guessing game created by Ora and Theo Coster, also known as Theora Design, that was first manufactured by Milton Bradley in 1979 and is now owned by Hasbro. It was first brought to the UK by Jack Barr Sr. in 1982. The classic edition is currently being produced by Winning Moves.


Each player starts the game with a board that includes cartoon image of 24 people and their first name with all the images standing up. Each player selects a card of their choice from a separate pile of cards containing the same 24 images. The object of the game is to be the first to determine which card one's opponent has selected. Players alternate asking various yes or no questions to eliminate candidates, such as "Does your person wear glasses?" The player will then eliminate candidates (based on the opponent's response) by flipping those images down until only one is left. Well-crafted questions allow players to eliminate one or more possible cards. Questions might include:

  • "Does your person wear a hat?"
  • "Does your person wear glasses?"
  • "Does your person have a big nose?"


Special editions which have different faces have been released, including Star Wars,[1] Marvel Comics[2] and Disney.[3] There are smaller, "travel" editions which have only 20 different faces. In 2008 and 2010, extra and mix and match games were released.[citation needed] Hasbro also released a social app version of the game in 2011.[4] A computer game based on the series was released in 1999 by Hasbro Interactive. A spoof YouTube video was released, which added police procedural elements to the board game.[5]


In the United States, advertisements for the board game often showed the characters on the cards coming to life, and making witty comments to each other. This caused later editions of such ads to carry the spoken disclaimer line "game cards do not actually talk" in order to meet Federal Trade Commission advertising guidelines requiring full disclosure of toy features unable to be replicated with the actual product.[6]


The Blaze noted that the major perk of playing the game is "watching your opponent [watch you] knock down several of the flipped up tiles with faces on them, putting you well on your way to guessing his or her main character".[7]

Criticism of lack of diversity[edit]

An issue that has plagued the more recent history of the board game is the perceived bias toward white characters and male characters in Guess Who. A six-year-old sent in a letter regarding the mere five female characters she was able to pick, and Hasbro responded with a statement that according to TheMarySue was "hilarious and awful".[8] Despite the company's claim that players should "draw attention away from using gender or ethnicity as the focal point", the child's mother pointed out that physical differences of humans was the whole point of the game, and that gender was generally the first question asked.[8][9] The Huffington Post noted that one source had deemed the remarks "tone-deaf".[10] Mamafesto blogger Avital Norman Nathman suggested that the decision to include five women in the game wasn't a conscious choice, which she argues is a problem in itself.[10] Newer editions of the game have added more women.[11]

The original version of Guess Who featured only one non-white character – Anne, who was redrawn in a subsequent edition as a white woman. More recently, Hasbro has redesigned the board to feature a more racially diverse set of people.[12]

People's names[edit]

  • Richard (Roger) (1980–present)
  • Anne (1980–1998; 2002–present)
  • Frans (1980–1998)
  • Eric (1980–present)
  • Sam (Charles) (1980–present)
  • Susan (1980-1998)
  • Charles (Hans) (1980–present)
  • David (Luke/Lucas) (1980–present)
  • Peter (1980–1998; 2010–present)
  • Victor (1999–present)
  • Betty (1999-2001)
  • Max (Theo) (1980–present)
  • Paul (1980–present)
  • Philip (Max/Mario) (1980–present)
  • Anita (1980–present)
  • Claire (Sarah) (1980–present)
  • Sally (Sophie) (1999–present)
  • Herman (1980–present)
  • Alfred (Stephen) (1980–present)
  • Bill (Phillipe) (1980–present)
  • Joe (1980–1998; 2002–present)
  • George (Joe) (1980–2001)
  • Tom (Albert/Daniel) (1980–present)
  • Bernard (1980–present)
  • Maria (1980–present)
  • Holly (Kaitlin) (1999–present)
  • Carmen (2002–present)
  • Robert (1980–1999


  1. ^ Guess Who Star Wars: Toys & Games. Retrieved on 2012-01-23.
  2. ^ Hasbro Guess Who? Marvel Heroes Edition: Toys & Games. Retrieved on 2012-01-23.
  3. ^ Guess Who – Disney Edition: Toys & Games. Retrie
  4. ^ "Hasbro: "Guess Who" Social iPhone App - Digital Buzz Blog".
  5. ^ "This Isn't The Guess Who? Game We Remember". The Huffington Post. 17 March 2015.
  6. ^ "Guess Who? Retrospective". Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  7. ^ Liz Klimas. "Guess Who's Calling Out Hasbro for Gender Inequality: A 6-Year-Old (Read Her Letter)". The Blaze. Archived from the original on 2017-03-09.
  8. ^ a b "Six-Year-Old Girl (Board) Gamer Calls out Guess Who? on Its Gender Inequality; Hasbro's Response is Both Hilarious and Awful".
  9. ^ Wendy Reed (20 November 2012). "Little Girl Writes Letter To Hasbro Asking Them To Add More Girls To 'Guess Who?'". 95.7.
  10. ^ a b "Jennifer O'Connell, Mom, And 6-Year-Old Daughter Ask Hasbro About Gender Inequality In 'Guess Who?'". The Huffington Post. 21 November 2012.
  11. ^ Adam Sherwin (17 November 2012). "Guess Who's sexist? Classic board game's gender bias leaves". The Independent.
  12. ^ Laura Vitto (3 July 2013). "5 Depressing Facts About Your Favorite Childhood Games". Mashable.

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