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© 2004 Patrick Hassel Zein
This page was last updated 12.01.2004
To play this game, you need a number of flashcards with Chinese characters. Either select the most common characters or characters that the players should already know. There is a list of the most common Chinese characters and explanation for the flashcards on the page "The most common Chinese characters".
Number of players: at least two plus a teacher or someone who reads translations from the cards.
Stack the cards with characters up in the middle of the table. The students then take turns clockwise to translate and explain the characters on the cards until the stack is all gone. The students must promise NOT to look at the explanations on the backside of the cards unless they have won the cards in accordance with rule 1 or 2 below.
- 1: When a student has a turn, he/she should start to take the top most card from the stack and lay it down in the middle of the table so that all students can see the character on the card.
- 2: TRANSLATE. When a student has a turn, he/she can choose to translate any of the cards visible on the table or on top of the stack, but not in front of a different player. The student is to give both pronunciation and translation of the character. If the teacher says that either the pronunciation or the translation is incorrect or insufficient, the student can be given a chance to correct the answer. If the answer still cannot be accepted, the turn goes to the next student. If the teacher accepts the answer, the student lays down the card in front of himself/herself on the table and can continue to make more moves.
- 3: PUT TOGETHER. As an alternative, a student can choose to build a sentence or word using at least two or three of the cards visible on the table. This means that the student can "steal" cards that are lying in front of other players. The student must be able to pronounce and translate the combination. If the teacher accepts the combination, the student can take all the cards (including those that other students had acquired previously) and keep them hidden in hand for the rest of the game. After this, other students cannot "steal" these cards. The same student may then make another move. If the teacher doesn’t accept the combination, the next student continues the game.
- 4: BUYING EXPLANATIONS. If a student cannot translate any card or make any combinations, he/she can use a card that he/she has previously acquired in accordance with rule 1 or 2 above to "buy" explanations from the teacher. The student pays one card to the teacher, who then gives pronunciation, translation and possibly some examples, that are written on the backside of each card. The student can choose to get explanations of any card visible in the middle of the table or on the top of the stack, but not cards lying in front of other students. When the explanations have been given, both the explained card and the paid card are put back to the bottom of the stack (or kept by the teacher for a while), and the next student in turn continues the game.
- 5: EXPLANATIONS FOR FREE. When a student gives a correct answer according to point 1 or 2 above, he/she may choose to get an explanation according to point 3 without paying for it. However the student may not continue to translate any more cards until he/she is in turn again. The explained card is then returned to the bottom of the stack, and the next student in line continues the game.
- 6: If there is only a small number of cards in the stack, the teacher may start to collect explained cards and "payments" on hand until there are enough cards to create a new stack with at least as many cards as students. The teacher can also pick up some of the cards from the middle of the table, give explanations, mix the cards and make a new stack. The teacher may not pick up cards that lie in front of any student or are held on hand by a student.
- 7: The game ends when there are no cards left in the middle of the table, in the stack or in the hands of the teacher. The students count how many cards they have on hand and in front of themselves on the table. The winner is the student with the most cards.
A different game with the same cards
All cards are laid down on the table with the characters up. The students take turns in trying to combine characters into phrases or words consisting of at least two or three characters. The students must be able to pronounce and translated the combination. If the teacher accepts a combination, then the student keeps all the selected cards and the cards cannot be reused. Each student is only allowed to try making one combination per turn. When problems occur, the teacher may suggest English words or sentences that can be translated with the available characters. The game ends when nobody can make any more combinations. The winner is the student that has the most cards at the end of the game.
For this game you may add some "jokers" - blank cards that can be used to represent any character you want or need.
N.B.: Both these games can be modified for training other languages!
More Chinese vocabulary games can be found at http://www.jarvismultimedia.com/lostrabbit/.