How to Play the Guessing Game, "Who Am I?"

Updated on March 1, 2018
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Marianne comes from Scotland and has always loved to play card games with her family and friends.

"Who Am I?" is a classic party game, perfect for any occasion with a large group of people, from hen parties to children's parties. It also works well as a team building or ice breaker exercise for an office away day.

This article explains how to play the game, suggests possible themes to use and provides some example questions and answers.


The Who am I? guessing game can involve fictional characters.
The Who am I? guessing game can involve fictional characters. | Source

Organising the Game

Preparing the Game

Organizing the game in advance is very simple:

  • Write down the names of people on a piece of card, or on a sheet of blank stickers.

You can either print these out or hand-write the names, it doesn't really matter.

If you want to make a bit more effort, print out pictures of the people or cut them out of magazines and stick them onto the cards.

How to Choose the Names

You need to tailor the game to your audience: their likes and dislikes, ages, and what you know of their expertise. You don't want it to be too easy but, at the same time, it won't be any fun if no one has heard of the people they are trying to guess.

If you are planning for a group of people you don't know very well (for example, an office party), I recommend going with people that almost everyone has heard of.

However, if you know your audience better, you might want to choose a particular theme that suits their interests.

Possible ideas for themes are:

  • Celebrities
  • Famous people in literature
  • Disney characters
  • Sports and athletes
  • Dead people
  • Children's TV characters
  • Fictional characters
  • People from a particular country
  • Bible characters (for a church group)
  • People born in a particular decade
  • Characters from books by a particular author
  • Characters from films produced by a particular director
  • Famous youtubers.
  • Famous artists

I've given some suggestions of names for some of these themes below this article, to help spark your ideas.

As well as famous people, if you are playing as part of, say, a hen party or similar, you could make one of the "Who Am I" cards the bride, or a friend of yours.

Another variation is that rather than pre-selecting the names, you prepare blank cards and hand them out to the players with a pen. You then ask each player to come up with a "Who Am I" name, collect in the cards and distribute them.

How to Play

You need at least 2 people to play, but the game works better with more. At least 6 is ideal.

When everyone is gathered in the room, stick the pieces of card on their forehead (masking tape is best for this). Alternatively, if you want players to walk around more actively you could stick it on people's backs.

If there is a theme, you might or might not decide to tell people what it is. It could be fun to let everyone work it out by themselves.

Small group

In a smaller group, you might want to play in an ordered way, with one person guessing at a time. The player who is guessing asks yes or no questions until they can work out who they are.

Larger group

In a larger group, it will work best if you play the game as a more informal icebreaker. Everyone moves around asking different members of the group 1 question each time. Once they have worked out who they are, they sit down. The last person (or people) to work it out loses the game.

Possible Questions for "Who Am I?"

Start with broad general questions before narrowing it down. For example:

  • Am I male or female?
  • Am I dead?
  • Am I fictional?
  • Am I over the age of fifty?
  • Have I been on the television?
  • Do I work in the entertainment business?
  • Am I am an actor?
  • Am I involved in politics?
  • Am I am an athlete?
  • Am I American/European etc?

Problematic Questions

This is a fun game, so there is no need to take it too seriously. However, sometimes you can run into some tricky "Who Am I?" areas.

Not Knowing the Answers

For example, you might be asked whether someone is over 50, but you are not sure of their age. It is acceptable to consult other team members.

If no one is sure, or there is a disagreement, as a last resort decide it is acceptable to look up the answer on Wikipedia. Or you could give your opinion and say "Yes, I think so."

Someone Asks a Question Where the Answer isn't Yes or No

Sometimes someone will ask a question which cannot be easily answered with "yes" or "no". For example, you might be asked whether someone is in the entertainment business and the answer is, "Yes, they are," because they are a TV presenter, but they are most well-known as an athlete.

If you are playing strictly by the rules, you would either say yes, or no - whichever you think is closest, and nothing more. However, if you are playing in a more relaxed way, you can allow people to say, "Yes, sort of" or "not applicable."

Someone Can't Guess the Answer

Sometimes you might find someone just can't guess the answer. It may be that they simply haven't heard of themselves, or they are just having a mind blank. In these cases in relaxed play, if they are the only person left, you might decide to give them some hints, or just call "time" and tell them who they are.

Example Answers by Category

Below are some example answers in key categories of:

  • Entertainment
  • Politics and history
  • Literature
  • Sports
  • Fictional Characters
  • Children's Characters

These are just designed to give you ideas. You can choose names from across different categories, or add in your own.

As you will see some of the end characters involve fictional people or animals who are not even human. You could even play with different types of animals.

Cher in the 1970s
Cher in the 1970s | Source

People in the Entertainment Business

  • Angelina Jolie
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Brad Pitt
  • George Clooney
  • Jennifer Aniston
  • Kylie Minogue
  • Barbara Streisand
  • Cher
  • Madonna
  • Isla Fisher
  • John Lennon
  • Shakira
  • Julie Andrews
  • David Bowie
  • George Michael
  • Elvis Presley
  • Emma Watson
  • Adele
  • Victoria Beckham
  • Ginger Spice
  • 2 PAC
  • Eminem
  • Ed Sheeren
  • Zoe Sugg aka Zoella
  • Barbara Windsor
  • Holly Willoughby
  • Bruce Forsyth
  • Dawn French

Politics and history

  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Tony Blair
  • Ronald Reagan
  • William Gladstone
  • Queen Victoria
  • Rosa Parks
  • Barack Obama
  • Joseph Stalin
  • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Al Gore
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Florence Nightingale
  • Martin Luther King
  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel
  • John Logie Baird
  • Winston Churchill
  • Pocahontas
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Brunel
  • Rebus
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • Dali llama
  • Sir Walter Raleigh
  • Henry VIII

Martin Luther King in 1964.
Martin Luther King in 1964. | Source

Literature

  • George Orwell
  • C.S Lewis
  • J.K Rowling
  • Jane Austen
  • George R. Martin
  • Charles Dickens
  • Iain Banks
  • Douglas Adams
  • Agatha Christie
  • J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Enid Blyton
  • Roald Dahl
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Mark Twain
  • Virginia Wolff
  • Harper Lee
  • Danielle Steel
  • Herman Hesse
  • William Shakespeare

J.K. Rowling reading at the White House in 2010.
J.K. Rowling reading at the White House in 2010. | Source

Sports

  • Lance Armstrong
  • David Beckham
  • Lionel Messi
  • Serena Williams
  • Muhammad Ali
  • Steffi Graf
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Anna Kournikova
  • Dorothy Hamill
  • Billie Jean King
  • Maria Sharapova
  • Jim Thorpe
  • PelĂ©
  • Veronica Campbell-Brown
  • Kelly Holmes
  • Tiger Woods
  • Rebecca Adlington
  • Rafael Nadal
  • Michael Schumacher
  • Usain Bolt
  • Rory McIlroy
  • LeBron James
  • Jesse Owens
  • Paula Radcliffe

Usain Bolt at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after winning the world record 100m.
Usain Bolt at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after winning the world record 100m. | Source

Fictional Characters

  • Hermione Granger
  • Grant Mitchell
  • Oliver Twist
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Tom from Tom and Jerry
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Katniss Everdeen
  • Forrest Gump
  • Jane Eyre
  • Bilbo Baggins
  • Batman
  • Homer Simpson
  • Mario
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Elizabeth Bennett
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • E.T.
  • Iron Man
  • Indiana Jones
  • Juliet from Romeo and Juliet
  • Scarlett O'hara
  • Mary Poppins

Childrens

  • Peppa Pig
  • Postman Pat
  • Simba from the Lion King
  • Harry Potter
  • Elsa from Frozen
  • Shaun the sheep
  • Pingu
  • Woody, Toy Story
  • Willy Wonka
  • Paddington Bear
  • Pippi Longstocking
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Bugs Bunny
  • Mog the cat
  • Aslan
  • Hagrid

More Variations on the Game

What Am I?

Rather than play "Who Am I?", play "What am I?"

The rules are the same, but you chose a category of things. For example: particular types of food, vegetables, furniture, plants... anything you want with enough variety to make it interesting.

Who Am I?: Couples

Make the celebrities famous couples for a large group, and task them with finding each other. For example, Cher might need to find Sonny. Or you could even have celebrities and their exes. For example, Brad Pitt might need to find Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston.

This is a good icebreaker version where not everyone knows each other. Make sure any real couples are not matched with each other, if possible!

Raise the Stakes

You could raise the stakes by having a forfeit for the people that take longest.

Who Am I: Reversed (20 Questions)

Rather than everyone guessing who they are, they decide who they are (or draw a card that says who they are) and everyone else has to guess. This is often played as "20 Questions" where people have to guess with yes or no answers by asking less than 20 questions.

Questions & Answers

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        Jenny Lopez 

        2 months ago

        Hi How are you guys today

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