21 Questions Game (How to Play + 101 Questions to Ask)

Whether it’s to liven up a party or simply to have a fun date night activity planned, learning how to play the 21 Questions game can be a great way to get to know someone that much better. 

The best part about it is that, unlike card games like Cribbage (see Cribbage rules) or even other Q&A-style games such as What’s Yours Like?, 21 Questions doesn’t require any equipment whatsoever.

That means you can play it any time, anywhere, making it a great game that you can pull out of the bag if you don’t have access to any other games or if playing Monopoly for the 1,000th time is no longer cutting it.

This 21 Questions Rules Guide covers all of the following:

  • What is the 21 Questions Game? – A Brief Summary
  • 21 Questions Rules 
  • 101 Questions to help you play.

What is the 21 Questions Game?

At its heart, 21 Questions is a simple question-and-answer game in which players ask each other questions about their likes, dislikes, thoughts, beliefs, and life in general.

Unlike popular trivia games, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to this game, as the questions are all about the individual players and their lives. This means that the game can be hilariously funny, poignantly thought-provoking, introspective, wacky and weird, or all of the above. 

Another thing that separates 21 Questions from other games is that there isn’t a winner in the technical sense. It’s not possible to “win” at 21 questions, though in one sense, the fact that everybody gets to know so much more about one another means every player ultimately wins. 

Number of Players: Recommended 2-6 players (more people can play, but the game will take longer and may become tiring)

Ages: 10+ (providing appropriate questions are picked)

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 10 – 30 minutes

Category: Question and answer game, group game, 2-player game

Similar to: Never Have I Ever, Truth or Dare 

Main Objective: Get to know your fellow players by asking and answering 21 questions about each other’s’ lives.

Why We Love It: Since it requires zero equipment, 21 Questions is a fun, easy game that you can play almost anywhere with no setup time. More importantly, it’s a great way to learn more about your friends and loved ones and makes a great date-night activity.

21 Questions Rules

One of the main reasons why 21 questions is such a universally-loved game is that its rules are incredibly simple. 

Below, we’ll talk you through the basic rules for the standard version of the game before offering a few alternatives which may help liven things up after you’ve been playing for a few rounds. 

21 Questions Standard Version Rules

21 Questions Standard Version Rules Image

1. Agree on Ground Rules and Boundaries

Though the questions asked in this game can be about anything, there may be certain subjects that some players feel uncomfortable talking about. For example, there may be some players who don’t want to share intimate details of their love life. 

With that in mind, in order to keep the game fun, it’s essential to lay out some ground rules and ensure that everyone is on the same page in terms of what can -and can’t- be asked.

2. Decide Who Goes First

One person begins as the player answering. The person can either volunteer for this role, or they can be selected in a way similar to the way you’d decide who goes first in other games.

For example, all players could roll a dice, and the person with the lowest number has to answer the questions, or you could simply flip a coin.

3. Ask the Questions to the First Player

Once the first question-answerer has been chosen, the rest of the players ask them 21 questions. 

If just two people are playing, this is as straightforward as one person asking all the questions and the other person answering them before you both swap. 

If you’re playing with more than two people, you can go around in a circle, with players taking it in turn to ask one question each at a time until all 21 questions are asked.

4. Choose Another Player and Repeat

Once the first player has answered all of the questions, it’s somebody else’s turn. 

Again, if there’s just two of you, deciding who goes next is a no-brainer. However, if there’s three or more players, you have several options for deciding who goes next:

  • The person who just answered the questions nominates the next player
  • The game moves round so that the person on the first player’s left is next
  • All players who haven’t yet answered questions roll a dice – the lowest goes next
  • A player can simply volunteer to go next.

You can then repeat this process until all players have answered 21 questions.

21 Questions Round-Robin Version Rules

21 Questions Round-Robin Version Rules Image

In this version of the game, all players sit in a circle, and one person is chosen to ask the first question. 

As in the standard version, this person can be chosen by a roll of a dice or simply volunteer to go first. 

They then ask the first question to the player on their right, followed by the next person along and so on, going all the way around the group until it gets back to the person answering the question. 

At that point, the person who has been asking the question also answers.

From there, the player to that person’s right asks the question to each player until it gets back to them and so on, with the game carrying on until everyone has had a turn at asking a question.

21 Questions Nominate Version Rules

21 Questions Nominate Version Rules Image

If you prefer, you can also play a version of the game where one person asks another person a question. Then, the person who just answered that question nominates somebody else in the group and asks them a question.

That person then nominates a third person, and the game continues until all 21 questions have been asked. 

If you’re playing this version, it’s important to note that a player can’t be nominated a second time until all players have taken a turn at answering a question. 

How to Play 21 Questions (Video Tutorial) 

101 Questions for Your Next 21 Questions Game 

So, you now know how to play 21 questions, but if you’re still struggling to think of anything to ask, the following list of 101 21 questions ideas should come in handy. 

Dreams and Goals

  1. What’s your greatest ambition?
  2. If you could do anything for a living other than what you do now, what would it be?
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  4. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. What are the three biggest items on your bucket list?
  6. What is a skill or talent that you wish you had but don’t?

Favorites

  1. What is your all-time favorite movie?
  2. What is your favorite guilty pleasure movie?
  3. If you could only have one last meal, what would it be?
  4. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
  5. What is a band or singer that you love that you don’t want anybody to know about?
  6. What is your favorite color?
  7. Who is your favorite fictional character?
  8. What is your favorite song to sing in the shower?

People

  1. Who is your role model?
  2. If you could invite any three people -living or dead- over for dinner, who would they be and why?
  3. Who is your celebrity crush?
  4. Which celebrity annoys you the most?
  5. Have you ever met anyone famous?
  6. If the zombie apocalypse arrived tomorrow, which three people would you want on your survival team?
  7. What was your impression of me the first time we met?

Romance and Dating

  1. What is your ideal partner?
  2. What would be your idea of a perfect date?
  3. Do you believe in kissing on the first date?
  4. Do you want to get married?
  5. Do you want to have children?
  6. What is the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for someone?
  7. Do you believe in love at first sight?
  8. What was your first kiss like?
  9. What is your biggest turn-on?
  10. What are your biggest turn-offs?

  32. What is your biggest fear about relationships?

  1. What was the worst date you’ve ever been on?

This or That

  1. Chocolate or vanilla?
  2. Hamburger or hot dog?
  3. Pie or cake?
  4. Pepsi or Coke?
  5. Pizza or pasta?
  6. Sweet or sour?
  7. Candy bar or chips?
  8. Comedy or horror movie?
  9. Hang out with a small group or go to a big party?
  10. Facebook or Instagram?
  11. Summer or winter?
  12. Spring or fall?
  13. Football or basketball?
  14. Christmas or Halloween?
  15. Books or movies?
  16. Introvert or extrovert?
  17. City or country?
  18. Bath or shower?
  19. Call or text?
  20. Music or movies?

Deep, Thought-Provoking Questions

  1. If you only had one day left to live, how would you spend it?
  2. What do you wish you’d been taught when you were younger?
  3. What would you like the inscription on your gravestone to read?
  4. What is the most important lesson to learn in life?
  5. What is your biggest regret?
  6. What do most people think about you that just isn’t true?
  7. If you could start your life over again, what would you do differently?
  8. Is there meaning to life? If so, what is it?
  9. Do you believe in fate?
  10. Do you believe in God?
  11. Do you think it’s necessary for humans to suffer in life?
  12. What are the three things you like most about yourself?
  13. What is the best way for a person to be happy in life?
  14. What gives your life meaning and purpose?
  15. How do you want to be remembered?
  16. What is love?
  17. What would you do differently if there were no laws? 

Weird and Wacky Questions

  1. What is the worst thing you’ve ever smelled?
  2. What is the most random fact you know?
  3. What is the funniest joke you know?
  4. Pineapple on pizza – yay or nay?
  5. If animals could talk, what animal would you want to have a conversation with and why?
  6. What is the weirdest place you’ve ever made out with someone?
  7. What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
  8. If you could detach and re-attach any part of your body at will, what would it be and why?
  9. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen in somebody else’s house?
  10. What’s the strangest thing a guest has ever done at your house?
  11. What three items would you buy at a store to make the cashier feel really uncomfortable?
  12. What’s the strangest/most unexplainable thing you’ve ever seen?
  13. What’s the most useless talent or skill that you have?
  14. What is the weirdest way that you’ve been injured?
  15. What would win in a fight? A three-legged rhino or a giraffe with three ears?
  16. What is the most ridiculous thing you used to believe that you now can’t believe you used to think was true?

Confessions

  1. Have you ever done anything illegal?
  2. Have you ever skipped school? If so, what did you do?
  3. Have you ever played hooky from work? If so, what did you do?
  4. What’s the biggest lie you’ve ever told?
  5. Who is your secret crush?

More Random Questions 

  1. What would be your ideal road trip?
  2. What has been the best year of your life so far?
  3. What do you spend too much money on?
  4. What is something nobody knows about you that you wish they did?
  5. What is the best way I could cheer you up if you were sad?
  6. What is something you find incredibly funny but most people don’t?
  7. What was the most life-changing event in your life?
  8. What is something most people know how to do, but you don’t?
  9. What is your favorite meme on the Internet?
  10. What question do you wish I’d asked you in this game but didn’t? What would be your answer?

Frequently Asked Questions About 21 Questions

How does the 21 questions game work with 2 players?

The easiest way is for Player 1 to ask Player 2 all 21 questions before Player 2 asks Player 1 a different set of questions. Alternatively, Player 1 can ask a question to Player 2. Player 2 answers and then asks the same question back to player 1. 

Does 21 Questions have to be yes or no answers?

Not at all. In fact, the game is more fun when you ask open-ended questions as you can learn a lot more about each other that way.

Can a player refuse to answer a question in 21 questions?

Absolutely. If a player doesn’t feel comfortable answering a question, they should be allowed to pass. After all, forcing somebody to answer something they don’t want to is only going to take the fun out of the game. 

Alternatives to the 21 Questions Game

If you’ve played the 21 Questions game so many times that you’ve run out of questions to ask, there are a number of similar games you can try.

For more games with personal questions, why not try If You Had To, a classic game of Truth or Dare, or the old college favorite, Never Have I Ever?

If you’re playing this with adults and don’t mind things getting a little NSFW every once in a while, you might also want to try games like Disturbed Friends or the classic Cards Against Humanity.

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Read all the articles (4) written by Chris Skoyles