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Table top (board games) games provide good opportunities for authentic and simulated communication with a group. I think such an activity would be ideal for language practice, if one had opportunities to play with native speakers or other students. Are there any board games or card games which might give good practice speaking Chinese?

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3 Answers 3

I think Password might be a good choice. One player is given a secret word, and has to get his teammates to say that word by giving them clues. He can't say the secret word as part of his clues.

The trickiest part would be getting the words. You can either have everyone write a few words on slips of paper and stick them in a bag, or maybe use a deck of flash cards.

You might also find this question on word games relevant.

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1) 杀人游戏

Well, I used to play a game called 杀人游戏 that involved nothing but listening and talking. It's not exactly a board game (you use one or more decks of cards), but as far as language practice goes, it's extremely useful.

In the basic game you have a judge, killers, policemen and bystanders, and it's the policemen's job to work out who the killers are.

Each round the police can ask the judge to inspect one person and see if that person is a killer or not. Each round the killers can kill one person. At the end of each round everyone talks in sequence, and voices opinions on who they think the bad people are. Finally they have a vote, and one person is kicked out. If all the killers are kicked out, the police win, and if all the police are kicked out or killed, the police win.

There is a ton of speaking and listening in this game, and there are more in depth versions with more roles that involve even more talking. If you like any crime shows on TV at all, this would be a good way to learn a lot of associated vocabulary.

2) 三国杀

These days I like to play 三国杀 - I used to play with friends in China, but now I play it online, it's not so good for practicing Chinese, but it sure is a fun game.

3) 军棋

The last game I frequently play which is actually a board game is 军棋 - army chess/land battle chess. There are a couple of different versions, but either way there is a lot of strategy, and I often hold quite interesting conversations while playing this game.

4) Others

I actually play a few other card games - 斗地主, 拖拉机 etc, along with 麻将 (mainly 武汉 style, but also 泉州,北京和哈尔滨. In other words, I'm pretty fond of games. All of these are great practice. I'd just suggest getting out there and seeing which games you most enjoy.

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杀人游戏 is called Mafia in English. It's also known as Werewolves. I think you'd have to be pretty fluent to play this game, Dixit would be more appropriate for beginning or intermediate students. –  Don Kirkby Dec 24 '11 at 5:48
    
Thanks for telling me the English name. When I first started playing, I wasn't very fluent. It was really great practice, as well as a great way to meet people. I had a little notebook where I wrote lots of relevant terms as well - suspicious, murderer and so on, and using them all the time was a great way to learn. Only issue was I was living in Wuhan at the time, and many of the people there speak with very thick accents! Still fun though. –  Ciaocibai Dec 25 '11 at 5:16

Dixit is a great choice for practicing Chinese. In this game, one person describes a card (without show it), and then everyone including him/her take out one card. At last, everyone else guess which card is his/her. If everyone or no one get the right answer, he/she get no score. So, he/she should describe it in a suitable way in order to make someone right and some wrong. Everyone has change to speak and listen which is good for language learning.

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Sounds interesting. What is the Chinese name of the game? –  Village Dec 24 '11 at 4:02
    
chinese name: 只言片语/妙不可言。 –  xiecheng127 Dec 24 '11 at 6:23

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