Summary: A guessing game in which people try to identify a person or object in 20 questions or less. Good for rainy days, long car rides, and for learning English (ESL students).
Ages: All. Recommended # of Players: A small group of 2 to 5 people. Messiness factor: No mess, no stress! Materials required: None. Recommended Setting: Indoor settings such as cars, classrooms, and just about anywhere else.
The objective of Twenty Questions is quite simple: guess the person, place or thing in 20 questions or less! This game is a stationary game, and also a good car game (meaning it’s a game that’s useful for long car rides). Little or no movement is required. It takes about 5 minutes per round to play.
How to Play 20 Questions
There are no preparations or special materials required to play. This game works best with a small groups of about 2 to 5 players.
Select one person to begin Twenty Questions. This person is designated as “it.” For each round, this person must choose any person, place, or thing. The person can be living (e.g. a current athlete or classmate), deceased (e.g. a famous person in history), or fictitious (e.g. cartoon or movie character). The place can be anywhere in the world, including creative places. The thing can be an inanimate object, an animal, a food, etc. Basically anything can be chosen, but try to make the selected item something that can be reasonably guessed. It’s no fun to play a guessing game that is impossible to solve!
After the person has chosen a person, place, or thing, the guessing begins! The other players take turns and ask “yes” or “no” questions in an attempt to figure out what the chosen answer is. That is, the questions must be answered with simply “Yes” or “No.” After each guess, keep track of the number of guesses that are used until it reaches the limit of 20.
Once 20 questions are used up, players may not ask any more questions. If a player correctly guesses the object before then, they become “it” for the next game and choose the next person, place, or thing. Otherwise, the answer is revealed.
Variations for Twenty Questions
This game can be useful as an ESL game (a way for non-native speakers to learn English words). You can prepare flashcards with various categories (e.g. popular foods, American States, presidents, famous landmarks, animals, etc.) and have the students choose a category before playing each round.