"Guess Who?" is a two player board game in which the object is to guess the identity of a character by asking questions about their appearance or features. This activity uses a similar game mechanic to identify concepts, models, and historical figures from inorganic chemistry.
This board game was developed as an Honors program enhancement for CHEM 4721 - Inorganic Chemistry 2 at Ohio Northern University in Spring 2022. JW proposed and designed materials for the game, and BMW provided feedback, revisions, and playtested the game. Games are a great way to enhance understanding of complex topics. In breaking down important concepts, players draw connections between topics. While traditional education in chemistry focuses on rules, theories, and scientific law, the intriguing discovery process of these essential topics may be a secondary or neglected aspect of the work. There is merit in looking at how we know what we know.
This game merges the traditional “Guess Who” game with inorganic chemistry topics to form “Guess What.” Including noteworthy scientists, complexes, and the guiding principles of inorganic chemistry, the presentation and delivery of this material is more dynamic in comparison to the general lecture style. Two “Guess What” boards were filled with 24 topic cards each. Each topic card contains 5 facts describing it, presenting material in a fun yet informative way. Since every individual processes information differently, educational material presented in this manner is inclusive to non-traditional learning methods. Games are a great way to learn topics. While engaging the individual, games also further expose them to that material, solidifying the concept.
The objective of this game is to present important aspects of inorganic chemistry through a game format. Since every individual processes information differently, educational material presented in this manner is inclusive of non-traditional learning methods. While engaging the individual, games also further expose them to that material, solidifying the concept. The objective of this project is as follows: “To communicate clearly and effectively with different audiences and in different contexts.”
Game cards and clues (included here) may be printed out on standard paper or cardstock.
Scorecard and pencil/pen for each team.
Timing device (e.g. kitchen timer, stopwatch, etc.)
Optional: A copy of "Guess Who?" (Hasbro Gaming - model C2124 used here) may be purchased from any commercial vendor. Note that not all models of this game use the same size/format for the gamecards/gameboards. Files included here are the correct size for the indicated current model, as of July 2022.
With the adage "the best way to evaluate a game is to play it" in mind, a combination of professors and students partook in the pilot run of “Guess What?” in May 2022. For this playtest, the game materials were laid out and the creator (JW) described how to play and score to the participants. Two teams of two competed with each other, alternating which team member gave clues, and discussing strategy for each card (i.e. what order in which to read clues in order to minimize the other team's chance of guessing the correct answer). Camaraderie was encouraged by the presence of snacks, though it was generally agreed that the sense of competition allowed each turn to take too long for a quick game. Testers did not make it through all cards, adding to the replay value for teams.
Throughout this playtest, the following modifications were noted:
- Timing each round - In the future, the game should be timed. Each team will have 30 seconds to guess. This change will allow the game to flow more smoothly and efficiently.
- Typos - Several were fixed for future runs
- Picture Cards - The cards placed in the board were difficult to see. The title of the topic was placed on the bottom versus the top, making it hard to read. All cards were edited to allow for greater readability.
- The picture cards were also too thin, allowing them to be too easily damaged. Thicker cardstock should be used in the future.
- Set up - It was beneficial to have a moderator set up the game before playing it. In this way, the topic and clue cards can be correctly distributed while picture cards are pre-placed within the boards.
- Scoring - A score pad should be kept with the game at all times. Having a moderator was helpful but not necessary. Each team should keep track of their own score. To assist in this, a template should be created.
All images are obtained through creative commons or created and licensed as such by Jasmine N. Wolfgram, 2022.
Student participation was the primary evaluation method for this game. No additional points were awarded to the winning team, nor were points deducted for incorrect responses. The work of selecting topics and developing clues related to each topic satisfied institutional requirements for self-directed study related to this honors course enhancement for JW. If this game were to be played again, students could be prompted to develop "expansion packs" related to new topics and clues. Additionally, students may derive value from correlating the topics/clues to the course outline or textbook sections. This could be tracked using annotations or submitted as a separate document individually or as a team.