Parker Brothers 1951 Old Mystery Game of WHO?
The old board game of WHO? by Parker Brothers is lots of fun to play. It is a mystery game of hidden identity which was first published in 1951, but can be found every now and then at estate sales or on auction sites like Ebay.
To play the game, each player assumes a character’s identity and then moves around a board. Spaces landed on by players offer clues to the identity of the person on that space. If a person’s identity is discovered by another player, then he is out of the game. The winner is the player who keeps his identity secret until he is the only one left in the game.
WHO? is for 2-5 players and further in depth instructions on how to play are the following:
The game begins with each player choosing a colored playing piece, one disguise cap, and a character card from a faced down pile of character cards. Each character/player’s identity is represented by a letter on the game board. A player could be an:
A= Accountant, B= Bootblack, C= Clergyman, D= Doctor, E= Editor, F= Financier, G= Grandfather, H= Hobo, I= Investigator, or J= Judge.
Taking turns, players move around the board by throw of two dice. Players have a choice of whether to move the amount of either one of the dies rolled, or the sum of both. What he chooses to do depends greatly on where the amount of the throw takes him.
The spaces on the board are marked with certain letters (as shown below). A player can only move on a space which has his letter of character/identity on it. There is an exception to this rule, though. A player may place a ‘Disguise Cap’ on his piece and move to a space without his letter.
A Disguise Cap can also be placed on a player’s piece whenever he wants, and this is often done to confuse players of an identity too. At the start of the game, each player receives one Disguise Cap with the opportunity to gain more when landing on spaces with the ‘Disguised Man’.
Players move around the board, with opponents taking note of spaces landed upon, chosen not to be landed upon, and spaces not able to be landed upon without Disguise Caps (but again, that could be a bluff).
After moving around the board, players begin to deduce WHO his opponent might be.
Any player during his turn can decide to challenge another person’s identity. If correct in identifying an opponent’s character, that character is out of the game. If wrong, the player making the attempt is penalized by NOT being allowed to use Disguise Caps anymore throughout the rest of the game. So he best be right!
All players do get a ‘Free Challenge’ (one without penalization) when moving his piece past City Square (which is the space players begin on) though.
So for example of play. If on City Square and a player (who is a HOBO or H) rolls a 1 and a 4 on the dice. He could move 1 to the Railroad, because it has all the letters on this space, or even the 4 to the Diner space. However, you can see if he moved the 4 (and didn’t use a disguise cap), all players would now know he was either a B, G, or H. (a Bootblack, Grandfather, or Hobo). He can’t move 5, because his letter is not on that space, unless he uses a disguise cap.
So where should he move? Should he use a Disguise Cap? Should he just move 1? Will players know WHO he is by his choice?
So many things to keep aware, think about, and choose!
WHO will win?
Simple and fun game! I love to play it! The aha of ‘I know WHO you are’ is exciting!
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