Go Fish, With A Twist

Do you have a child that enjoys playing the game, “Go Fish!”? I bet some fun twists on this classic game would make it a little more interesting….here are some suggestions.

Depending on the type of cards you have, you can play the following versions:

Cards with pictures on them:

Descriptive Go Fish: Instead of asking if the player has a certain card, have the player describe the card they want to ask for, so that the other player can guess what it is. If the player has it, they hand it over, and go again, if not, then, Go Fish.

Fun Fact Go Fish: In this version, players describe the card they are asking for by offering a fact about the picture on the card. For example: If your card has a monkey on it, a player can say, “Do you have an animal that likes to climb trees?” or “Do you have an animal that lives in the jungle?” The other player can ask for another fact if needed. If they can’t guess, they can either get the card anyway, learning new facts, or pass on their turn. It is up to the players to decide before starting. (We usually give the card anyway.)

Go Fish Action or Sound: Players can describe their card via an action or by making a sound. Once the other player guesses, give them the card.

Go Fish Spell It: This version adds a spelling element to the game. Players ask do you have a D-O-G? The play continues as usual. Gently correct spelling errors, keep it fun and light. Players who are not ready for spelling can say the letter their card begins with.

Go Fish Geography: Where can your animal or item be found?

If you have a set of match or memory game cards they can be used to play Go Fish. A deck of Old Maid cards can be used as well, if the “Old Maid” card is removed.

Regular Playing Cards

Plain old playing cards can be used to play a game of Go Fish. The numbers would be requested, and for a twist, the same color can be asked for (red 4 or black 4), or any 4 the player has. Players should decide before the game begins.


I encourage you to be creative when it comes to keeping score. Here are some suggestions.

  • Score 1 point per pair.
  • For regular cards, score by face value. Picture cards being worth 10 points or whatever is decided.
  • When playing with picture cards, score them in categorical ways. For example: By animal kingdom, attributes (feathers, swimmers, playful, color, shape, etc.) Give each group its own point system.
  • Every card has an equal value. Decide on a counting system: 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, etc.

If you decide to add a twist to make the game Go Fish! more fun and interesting, make it challenging without making the game too hard for players.

Playing with picture cards can add a layer of learning. If players (no matter the age) need or want to look up information, encourage it. Finding out a fun fact to remember later can be an interesting part of the game too.

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