A few weeks before Christmas I found our old Guess Who game in my parent’s basement. It was missing enough pieces that you couldn’t really play it anymore, so I decided to give it a makeover and took it home with me.
Years ago I saw a picture on Tumblr of a Guess Who game someone had made with Avatar, The Last Airbender Characters, and I wanted to do something similar for my brothers. When I started thinking of all the shows and movies I could mine, I realized the possibilities were endless. I could give my brothers a new “update” every birthday and Christmas for the next five years and still not run out of options.
Originally I had planned to make three sets—Avatar, Phineas and Ferb, and Doctor Who—but I ended up adding Studio Ghibli characters and taking out Doctor Who, mostly because I was too lazy to Photoshop the backgrounds of 24 character photos.
The hardest and most time consuming part was finding high enough resolution images online. Some of the more obscure Phineas and Ferb Characters and the older Studio Ghibli movies were especially hard to find. If you look closely enough you can probably guess which Phineas and Ferb characters I took background off of—I was rushing it, so I didn’t do a fantastic job.
The other surprisingly difficult part was choosing which characters to include. Once I got into the secondary characters I had to start axing people. (Which Fireside Girl is the most important? Should I include Love Handle? Who appears in the most episodes?)
When I finally had all my pictures, I measured the old cards and then laid out the new ones in InDesign. I did one set (I think I started with Phineas and Ferb), then copied the pages and easily swapped out the pictures.
I missed a few names when I switched them out, so our cards had a few mistakes on them (that’s what I get for not proofing). You can also see that the names along the bottom of the smaller cards were too low, so they’re partially cut off.
Then I printed the pages and cut the cards out! Cutting all three sets out was time consuming, mostly because I’m a perfectionist. The cards did end up being a little tall and a little wide, but I preferred to trim them with scissors than have them too small and fall out, especially since, hard as I tried, I didn’t cut them all the exact size with the paper cutter.
I printed them on card-stock so they were sturdier than plain printer paper. I didn’t bother with printing the backside of the cards (we just slid them in front of the old characters), but it would be really simple to create a full-size page of blue and red question marks and print them on the back.
The only downside to not having the backs is that you can still see the characters through the bigger cards, so you have to lay them flat instead of keeping them in the holder.
Unlike the original, with these sets you can end up straying from physical attributes and into questions about the characters themselves (”Is your characters a bender? Is your character from the Earth Kingdom?” “Is your character an adult?”) With Avatar, this always leaves the last few characters in groups similar groups, such as Zuko, Ozi, and Azula, or all three Freedom Fighters. I can’t decide if that makes it easier, or harder.
This was one of those projects that I was honestly surprised by how well it worked out. I still have so many ideas for new sets (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Supernatural, High School Musical…) that I can’t wait to make more.
Note: I have no idea if other versions of Guess Who are the same size, so let me know if they don’t work on other versions and I might make some adjustments!
Other Note: I wanted my cards to have a nicer sheen to them, so I took them and printed them at Staples. I think normally they wouldn’t print something like this since it’s full of licensed characters, but it was Christmas and they were swamped, so…)