The first thing you want to do when you play 20 questions is to agree to narrow the answer down to a particular category. It may seem that the police detective analogy doesn’t work when you throw that condition in but since the police are usually looking for a living person it can actually be said that the police version of 20 questions have a head start! Let us say that you have agreed to narrow your answer down to it being a person. That is about as specific as you ever get so once you narrow it down to a specific category the 20 questions can begin. Once you have determined that you are looking for a person you can then begin to narrow down the person you think you may be looking for by asking a short series of questions designed to help you narrow down to a potential answer.
When it comes to guessing a person in 20 questions the first question you should always ask is whether the person is dead or alive. This may not seem important right off the bat but once you know this it will come up later as you put the other clues together and your answer will ultimately be based on whether the person is living or deceased. The next general starting question you want to ask is whether or not the person is famous. Since the goal is to choose a person that can be guessed by the person asking questions then this particular question could end the game. If the person is deceased and famous then you can take it off into any other direction you see fit. For example you may want to find out if the deceased person was an entertainer. But if the person was not famous then it must be a person that is in common with yourself and the question asker. This is where the living or dead question comes into play because a person that you know personally who is deceased can make the process much easier.
The game 20 questions requires strategy and you need to make sure that you follow the path you start with your line of questioning in order to guess the correct answer before running out of questions. Once you have the guess narrowed down to something that you can work with then the strategy is to close in on the answer as close as you can and then make your guess.