18. If so and so was an animal

I used to love this game as a student but somehow it has not translated so well into my family. However we have played it happily several times. I couldn’t say it is a firm favourite but worth a try as others may find it as hilarious as I did when I was 18.

Each player in turn thinks of a person that everybody knows well. Usually this is a person who is known in real life rather than a famous person. Normally it will be a member of the immediate family, a school friend, a teacher, a neighbour, a more distant relative or even a pet. You are not allowed to choose yourself. The more colourful characters tend to work the best, and sometimes it is not easy to give an answer or guess the correct answer for less well known people.

The first player to think of someone does not reveal who it is. They are then asked a series of questions by the other players in turn which take the format: ‘If this person was a (insert category here), what (insert category here) would they be?’. If the category is X , ‘If this person was a X , what X  would they be?

Categories include

  • Animals
  • Countries
  • Fruits
  • Occupations
  • Food
  • Sport
  • Pop group/singer

So for example when my daughter Bronwen chose ‘Dad’ and X = animal chosen by my son, Aron. The animal Bronwen suggested (for her secret target, Dad) was ‘wolf’. In the next round, then X=country chosen by me. The country Bronwen selected was ‘Wales’ (he is half Welsh). Finally X=drink was selected by my son Aron. Bronwen then  suggested the drink ‘beer’, making this actually a pretty easy round.

Perhaps the X=category rule just over complicates this explanation so please feel free to ignore it. I may have been spending too much time helping on key stage 2 maths homework at time of writing.

Other good categories include the obvious ones such as animal, vegetable, school subject, weather, type of food, drink, country, colour, hobby (can be a giveaway), haircut, brand of shop, type of biscuit, disease, clothing, tree, plant, pet, job….the list is endless. There can also be more obscure ones such as Harry Potter character, type of cheese, planet and even ‘number’.

Each person is allowed three questions in the format ‘If this person was a (insert category here), what (insert category here) would they be? After all questions have been used up, three guesses as to whom it may be. The idea is not to state the things that the mystery person likes, necessarily, but to somehow capture the essence of their personality.

Anyone can guess the mystery person on their turn but that uses up a go. Players are not allowed to talk out of turn.

Once the mystery person is correctly guessed or all the guesses and questions are used up, you can move on to another player. Its not always obvious because some people perceive others in quite different ways. You can score points for making a correct guess but we have always found a scoring system slightly, well, pointless.

A pithy game that requires little preparation and may be amusing for a brief family encounter.