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Guess Who Redesign, by Justin Acton

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

The game of Guess Who allows children to develop basic logic, strategy and articulation skills. My 4.5 year old daughter would have likely enjoyed normal Guess Who but loves Pokemon. She gets to play Pokemon Go once or twice a week and has a few Pokemon toys so really engaged with most things Pokemon. I've redesigned Guess Who to use Pokemon instead of faces using the standard version that is widely available: . My daughter loves this version and wants to play it any time we have a few spare minutes. The game rules and mechanics are the same as normal Guess Who.

Design Element Choices (Aesthetics)

  • Choosing Pokemon that my daughter would recognize out of the hundreds available.

  • Choosing a variety of 'types' but with good amounts of overlap. Some Pokemon have multiple 'types', they could be 'Flying' and 'Psychic'.

  • Ensuring that there is a variety in colour palettes or similarities to real world animals for guessing options.

  • Adding text (Pokemon's types) to card sheets to assist people less familiar with Pokemon, so that if Grandma or someone is playing they can have some clues to use or be able to answer guesses.

Redesigned Game Board Pieces

Board Pieces created in excel (Height 3.5cm and Width 3.2cm)

Printed on card stock. Cut out and placed in game board instead of standard faces (see above).

Card Deck created in excel using same images (Height 5cm and Width 3.5cm)

Printed on card stock. Used like deck of cards provided by standard set.

Lessons from playing

  • It was useful to print out two extra sheets of the 'Card Deck' to leave uncut as a reference sheet since we haven't memorized all the 'types' for each Pokemon

  • Blue is a powerful colour. We may implement an option of not being able to ask "if a Pokemon has blue on it" for the first two turns, similar to the gender rule in standard Guess Who

  • The card stock isn't terribly thick so players need a place to keep their card face down and need to be careful of letting the light shine through.

  • Games can be fast if the first guess is good. As an example if a player uses their first guess to find out the opponent's type they will only have 3-5 cards left up on their board. This is similiar to standard Guess Who though, so I don't see adjustments being needed yet.

June 2nd updates

  • Asking if Pokemon has blue has been joined by "Can you see your Pokemon's tongue" as a powerful question resulting in about half the board being knocked down.

  • We still don't limit questions being asked on the first turn, since my daughter is still being challenged and fine tuning her strategies.

Daughter's Response

  • Daughter loves the game. Because it's quick she is always trying to find times to fit it in. (Before meals, after getting home, before brushing teeth, anytime)

  • Her biggest issue with the game is that it doesn't have enough Pokemon. She wishes it had "All the Pokemon".

  • Having more Pokemon (approx 900 possible options) could work if we rotated them out. This will require a bit or categorization. You want characteristics that are shared across multiple Pokemon (You'd want more than one "Electric" type so if that question is asked, two or more remain standing after an affirmative answer).

  • is a useful resource for sorting/searching.

  • I suspect creating groupings of 6 or 8 Pokemon would be the most useful. So that groups could be switched in and out without creating orphaned (lone type) Pokemon.

  • Alternatively, we could get a second set of Guess Who and each player would have two boards, allowing 48 different Pokemon in one game.

Mid June Updates

  • Daughter had been requesting 'more Pokemon'. So I decided to make six batches of eight pokemon that could be cycled through.

  • I started the batches by ensuring each one had a 'baby' Pokemon and then sorting the existing 24 Pokemon into the batches. My goal was that each batch would consist of two groups of four types that includes at least one 'baby' and one 'legendary'.

  • I then had my daughter assist me in filling the buckets. This will let her influence the aesthetics and the mechanics of the game (Pokemon can have multiple types so her decisions will influence the gameplay).

  • We'd already had 4 psychic pokemon from our intial design, and daughter wanted to add Espeon who is a psychic Eevee. I asked her which of the the existing psychic pokemon she wanted to remove and she chose Mewtwo, one of her previous favorites to remove. When asked why she wanted to replace the Mewtwo, it was because she really wanted another Eevee in the game and the Espeon "is beautiful".

  • Some changes I made for playability and setup was adding symbols to the corners of the cards so we can shift the 'sets' easy. Increased the size of the deck of cards.

  • When printing I missed printing two sets of the gameboard cards. My daughter really wanted to play. So instead of waiting to prepare another set of cards we tried the game by just putting 24 different Pokemon into each gameboard.

  • Having two different gameboards ended up adding an interesting aspect to the game. Now my daughter has to thing about what board she wants me to have because that will determine what cards she gets to choose from adding a new mechanic to the game.

  • Have strong baskets of pokemon types has also evolved my daughter's strategies. She is more prone to ask a pokemon's type as opposed asking about aesthetic aspects like colour, open mouth, ears or tails.

Possible future redesigns:

  • Daughter is starting French Immersion Kindergarten in September. We could use Guess Who as a tool for learning practicing French.

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