Several years ago, I thought I would help out the parents of my gifted and talented students by writing about some games, toys, or books that I thought might make good purchases during the holiday season. I called the series of posts, “Gifts for the Gifted,” and I have continued to do it annually (except for 2019) every November and December. These gifts are suggestions for any child – not just those who qualify for a GT program. Sometimes I receive a free product for review, but I am not paid for these posts, and I never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy for my own child. For past “Gifts for the Gifted” posts, including my 2022 list, you can visit this page. I also have a Pinterest Board of Games and Toys for Gifted Students.
When I taught young Gifted and Talented students, we referred to convergent thinking as “Detective Thinking,” and Deduckto would have been a perfect supplement to those lessons where we would often do logic grids and other types of puzzles that involved making inferences based on clues. But this game is not just great for the classroom. It’s also a nice small family game. Designed for 2-4 players, the age range of Deduckto is 8+, but I think that there are definitely some 6-year-olds who would easily be able to play this game with one or two of the modifications I recommend later in this article.
Billed as “A Quacking Deduction Game,” Deduckto is an adorable card game in which you use visual clues to figure out the description of your suspect. Each player has five cards the player can see and one card the player holds backwards so only the other players can see. Your backwards card is your suspect whose attributes you will try to guess as you obtain clues during the game.
As you can see from the Suspect Guide card in the lower left of the picture above, there are 7 different characters, with 7 disguise options, and 7 possible locations. When it’s your turn, you choose one of the 5 cards that you can see in your hand to display to the group. The other players, who can see your suspect card, tell you if your selection shares any of its 3 attributes with your suspect card by responding only with a “yes” or a “no”. If it has something in common, you can place it in a group of “Yes” clues in front of you. If there are no attributes in common, you set it in your “No” pile. As your “Yes” and “No” clues accumulate, you can start narrowing down your list of suspects. You win by being the first to successfully describe your suspect card. For example, “Pinky the Pig, with a mustache disguise, in the desert.”
To discourage you from guessing too soon, there are consequences for incorrect guesses. The first time this happens, you have to turn over all of the clues you’ve obtained so far in either your “Yes” or “No” pile. The second time, you must turn over the other pile. And the third time, you are eliminated from the game.
As you play, you’ll begin to realize that the “No” clues can almost be more valuable than the “Yes” ones, as they can help you eliminate a lot of attributes at once. The challenge, of course, is trying to keep track of the information you’ve received from the clues in your head. One modification that my daughter suggested would be to laminate or make copies of the Suspect Guide cards (each player gets one to refer to during the game) so you can physically mark off attributes as you eliminate them. This would definitely help younger players. The other challenge little ones might have is holding the 6 cards in their hand without accidentally looking at their own suspect. You could remedy this by giving them something to lean the card against in front of them (such as a DIY mini easel) or making a DIY card holder similar to this.
As a teacher, I would first demonstrate by playing the game in front of the students and showing the class the suspect card while I try to guess the description. I would model my thinking and logic as I get more clues and make my final guess. Then you could reverse it so that only you know the suspect, and you give the class clues so they can try to guess. Parents could also do this to help their children develop their inferencing skills.
Deduckto is one of those games that takes a moment to learn, only about 15 minutes to play, and then you want to play it again because you think you’ve learned some new strategies that will surely help you win this time…