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Do Chinese characters make it a lot harder to create or play word games in Chinese than it is in English? I have seen a few Chinese crosswords, but it seems like they aren't as densely cross-linked as English ones usually are. (In the few that I've seen, Chinese ones seem to have more black squares.) I suspect this difficulty is why logic puzzles like Sudoku and Masyu that use symbols instead of words are popular in Japan.

I love the English word games you find in books like David Parlett's Penguin Book of Word Games, or on his web site. Do any similar resources exist for Chinese word games?

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6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well, not sure if this answers your question or not, but I've played a game before involving using idioms (aka 成语) where you have to carry on using the same sound (not including tone) from whatever 成语 the previous person said.

For example, if I started with 骑虎难下 (qi hu nan xia - something like stuck between a rock and a hard place) the next person might say 下里巴人 (xia li ba ren - like redneck) the following 仁者见仁 (ren zhe jian ren - different people have different opinions) and so on. It's pretty hard, but a great way to learn new 成语.

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Yes, that's the kind of thing I'm looking for. –  Don Kirkby Dec 14 '11 at 7:51
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Yes, there is a game like "Crossword". I played such a game in this site. The site is a little famous since it provide this game for the famous newspaper Southern Weekend. Here is a screenshot: enter image description here

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There is a game very similar to Shiritori in Japanese. It's called "文字接龙" And for more advanced Chinese speakers, all the words need to be idioms. It's called "成语接龙".

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Of course there are many Chinese word games. They just have different style than the English ones since the two languages have different writing systems.

Many Chinese word games are about radicals forming a character, not letters (characters) forming a word.

I did a quick search and found an example: http://www.5dhz.com/game/chengyu/

There are many other games, but the ones I can think of all require two or more people to play, such as "成语接龙" (as other answers have mentioned),riddles,matching couplets (对对子), etc.

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Thanks, Betty, that one looks interesting. I'm also interested in games for two or more people to play. –  Don Kirkby Aug 6 '12 at 4:36
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Above answers provide a few Chinese word games, but I think most of them are a little too hard for beginners. Here I suggest an easier word game onece I played with my wife.

At the beginning of the game, you thought (usually) two letters, for example "SC". Then all players must say Chinese words whose “声母” meets SC.

Player A: 市场 Shi Chang -> SC

Player B: 生存 Sheng Cun -> SC

Player C: 时常 Shi Chang -> SC

Player A: ...

During the game the players can learn both PinYin and words.

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I've got a Chinese character matching game for my iPhone. It's called lingospring Chinese memory game.

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