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(Pocket-lint) - There are plenty of Zoom games you can play to alleviate the boredom video calls. With many using video platforms for keeping in touch, running youth groups or for school, turning your call into a game of Guess Who? can provide you with plenty of entertainment. You could play it on Microsoft Teams or Google Meet too, although some of the options discussed below are slightly different.

A great way to get this game started if you're playing with kids is to have a scavenger hunt. That's where you ask people to run off an collect things - a great distraction to have them gather what they'll need for a game of Guess Who? - hats, glasses, fake beards, big necklaces - anything you want really, as long as it can be used to dress up your "character".

How to play Guess Who? on Zoom

Gather your players and setup the call

This game will need a number of participants and a person to setup and run the game - the Controller. Somewhere around 20 people is about right, but you can go larger or smaller if you want. Bear in mind, it works best when everyone can fit within the display. 

Everyone will need to select Gallery View on the call. This is slightly different depending on how you're accessing Zoom, but the best version is on the PC or Mac desktop app, along with a big display. Those using mobile apps might have to swipe to get to different views.

The default number of people that Zoom can accomodate on a screen is 25 - which you can expand up to 49 - although you might find the pictures are far too small to play the game if you have this many. The host should also select "hide non-video participants" from the video settings menu in Zoom.

Prepare your participants

Everyone on the call needs to be dressed and accessorised slightly differently to make it more fun. Someone needs glasses, some people need hats, think colours and variety, because that's what you'll use to frame questions to eliminate people. As we said above, a scavenger hunt is a great way to ensure people have these accessories to hand.

Pick your Subject

The Controller is the person will decide who the participants are trying to guess - the Subject - and then answer the "yes" or "no" questions that are asked. It's best if this is an adult (to start with) but it's also a lot of fun for kids, even when it goes wrong. You can swap this person at the end of each round - perhaps the winner or the previous Subject. It's best if the Controller turns off their own video (you'll see why below), but some might find that too confusing.

Ask your questions to find the Subject

There are a couple of ways to ask the questions. Either all the participants - excluding the Controller - takes a turn to ask typical Guess Who? questions. For example "does this person have long hair?" or "does this person wear glasses?". The Controller answers those questions, meaning some participants are knocked out of the game. It might be that the Controller asks who has a question, or picks someone to get them involved. This works better for larger groups or younger players.

Alternatively, you can have one person asking questions, but this then leaves the rest of the people just watching - this might work better in smaller groups or with older players.

When a participant is knocked out of the game, they turn off their video by hitting the Stop Video button in Zoom, leaving the remaining players who are still in the game, visible on the screen. This is a bit like folding down the cards on the Guess Who? game. Cleverly, Zoom will then only show those with the video still running (as long as you've selected "hide non-video participants), meaning the remaining participants get larger as the game progresses. (This is where it's good for the Controller to have their video turned off.)

Through a process of elimination, you'll eventually you'll get down to two final people (probably) where you'll really have to ask the right questions to narrow it down. The game is over when the Subject is revealed. Remember, it could be the person asking the questions who is actually the Subject, it could also be that the Controller is the Subject that everyone is trying to guess (in which case the Controller will need to have their video turned on).

Those who are "out" can still take turns to ask questions to narrow things down. Depending on the number of players it might only take a couple of questions, so be prepared to play a few rounds. Of course, the Controller needs to keep an eye on things to ensure that the people who should be out, have turned off their video to keep the game running smoothly.

Of course, if this is too much trouble and there's only two of you on a call, you could always play the regular version of the game!

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Thanks to Christine and Steve for the inspiration!

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 5 February 2021.