Released in 1979, Guess Who? from Milton Bradley is a variation of the classic game of 20 Questions – a spoken parlor game that rose to popularity in the 19th century.
Advertised as “the mystery-face game,” Guess Who? challenges two players to guess each other’s Mystery Person. Each player is equipped with a game board that holds 24 Face Cards. Each Face Card features a cartoon illustration of a person and their first name. Physical attributes vary across the set of cards. Hair and eye colors are different, some wear glasses or hats, and some have facial hair.
Players must use deductive reasoning to guess the identities of each other’s Face Cards. They take turns asking each other yes/no questions about the Mystery Person’s characteristics, such as “Does your person wear a hat?” or “Does your person have white hair?” The opposing player answers “yes” or “no” and the player who posed the question flips down all the faces that don’t meet the criteria. Play continues until one player decides to guess the Mystery Person. A correct guess correctly wins the game while an incorrect guess gives the game to the opponent.
Since its initial release, Guess Who? has been translated into multiple languages. Since acquiring Milton Bradley in 1984, Hasbro has released several special editions of the game based on a number of their licensed properties, including Disney and Star Wars. A travel version of Guess Who? was also released, albeit with a slightly smaller number of faces.
Over the years, the faces and names have changed in response to consumer complaints about a lack of diversity and gender equality in the Face Cards.
Todd Coopee is Editor-in-Chief of Toy Tales, an online publication that covers toys and games past and present.