Games to play with Chinese characters

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Twelfthroot
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Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Twelfthroot » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:36 am UTC

My Japanese-studying friends and I play a 2-player game called Kanji Chain. Either player starts by giving a kanji compound. The other player then gives a compound sharing a kanji with the original compound. Play continues as each player gives a compound sharing a kanji with the opponent's last compound but not also with the player's own previous compound (for example, if I play 海外 and you play 域外 then I could play 地域 or even 海域 but not 外人). A player wins when they can think of a following move but their opponent can't come up with one. (So the most strategic kanji to know are characters that appear in a compound with a common character but in very few other compounds -- for example, 錠, which shows up in 手錠 but only a small handful of other words -- I couldn't think of any; a dictionary gave me 錠剤 which I never would have gotten since I don't really associate locks with lozenges...)

I don't really remember where I first heard of this game. It's fun, but I'm sure there are other games out there -- the characters have so much potential! Your playing equipment is a set of thousands of items each with a graphical representation (sharing elements with other items), semantic content, one or more pronunciations, and a whole dictionary full of preset ways to fit them together. Scrabble has nothing on the kind of games you could play with Chinese characters, surely. Does anybody know any such good games, or perhaps wants to take a swing at inventing one?

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Kizyr
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Kizyr » Tue Feb 01, 2011 2:49 pm UTC

There's also kanji bingo. This works with large groups.

The group divides itself into individuals/teams (teams are better) and makes out a standard large bingo card (5-by-5 grid, and make the boxes large enough that your team doesn't have to hover around it).

The leader/caller names a radical (e.g., 水). Then the teams fill the card with 25 characters that incorporate that radical (e.g., 池, 清, 湖, 洗, etc.). The game goes on like a normal bingo game, where the leader/caller names characters and the teams mark their cards.

The only time I saw this played was while I was in high school, with people in late middle-school / early high-school age (9th-10th grades). KF
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Meteorswarm
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Meteorswarm » Wed Feb 02, 2011 6:15 am UTC

I have a book full of "Chinese Crosswords," where the answers are sentences. Moderately amusing.
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comet
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby comet » Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:03 am UTC

Ohh~ it's very popular on those funny game shows =D

It tends to be
* A ----> A * B ----> B * C ----> C * D ----> ... ...
in China =3

Twelfthroot
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Twelfthroot » Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

I've programmed a computer version of the Kanji Chain game I described in the opening post:

http://larrykenny.com/kanjichain/

Check it out, give it a try, and if you could give me any feedback on any bugs or ways to improve it that would be terrific. If enough people want to use it, I'll work on implementing a Japanese version as well.

Note that you will need to be able to type in Japanese to play.

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Kizyr
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Kizyr » Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:05 pm UTC

Twelfthroot wrote:I've programmed a computer version of the Kanji Chain game I described in the opening post:

http://larrykenny.com/kanjichain/

Huh, that's rather fun. I had some trouble initially since I thought the rule was to start a word with the character that the last one ended with (which is kind of difficult with things that end with suffix characters like 員). But after getting the rules I started getting the hang of it. Thing is I can't really 'scan' through my lexicon that quickly so it's hard to come up with something in time, even at beginner level. That's not a complaint, but a comment on the challenge. KF
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Twelfthroot
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Twelfthroot » Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:16 pm UTC

Thanks, glad you had fun with it. Indeed, it's an interesting challenge - it can be frustrating when a kanji comes up that you know as well as your name but you realize you can't think of a single other word containing that kanji (then you scan the dictionary and see all the obvious possibilities). I'm not sure how useful a skill the game tests, but it can't hurt to practice. Do you have an idea as how to how to word the rules more clearly?

Also, if anybody who's fluent in Japanese has a minute, could you look over this translation of the text present in the game? I made a first-pass translation but I'm sure I've made some mistakes or at least worded things unnaturally. Many thanks in advance.

Let's play KanjiChain! Select a difficulty level from the menu on the right and press Start.
漢字チェーンしましょう!右側にあるメニューから難易度を選択して、スタートを押して始まります

I'll go first.
私は先にします

You go first. Enter any kanji compound to start.
好きな熟語を入力してスタートです

That word was not found in the dictionary. Please try another.
その言葉は辞典に見つけられませんでした。他の言葉を入れてみてください

Interestingly enough, repeating your opponent's last word is not a legal move.
やはり、敵の最後の言葉を反復のはできません

Invalid move: The character %s has already been used in a link.
無効な言葉: %sはもうチェーンのつながりに使っています

Invalid move: You must enter a compound sharing at least one kanji with %s.
無効な言葉: %sと共通の一字以上ある熟語しか使えません

Your move must introduce at least one new kanji to the chain.
新しい漢字は一字以上導入しなければなりません

You have already used the kanji %s! On this difficulty level, you can never use the same kanji twice.
もう%sの字を使いました。この難易度では、同じ漢字を一試合に二度使うのはできません

Starting new game.
新しい試合が始まります

Thanks for playing, %s!
%sさん、お疲れさまです

Time's up!
時間切りです!

Unbelievable! You stumped the game!
信じられません!参りましたよ

You made a chain %i words long! Enter your name to submit your score.
%i字のチェーンを作りました!\n名前を入力したらスコアを提出します

Can't select difficulty while game is in progress!
試合中で難易度は変わりません!

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Jplus
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Jplus » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:49 pm UTC

I'm just starting out learning Mandarin Chinese and I play trainchinese Chinese Writer on my iPad to learn some characters. Quite a fun game (for beginners).
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Meteorswarm
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Meteorswarm » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:16 am UTC

Jplus wrote:I'm just starting out learning Mandarin Chinese and I play trainchinese Chinese Writer on my iPad to learn some characters. Quite a fun game (for beginners).


You should come hang out in the 漢語 thread. We're happy to help beginners!
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Jplus
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Jplus » Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:34 am UTC

Meteorswarm wrote:You should come hang out in the 漢語 thread. We're happy to help beginners!

Thanks for the invitation! I certainly will, but it might take a while because currently my attention is being absorbed by other things.
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Kizyr
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Re: Games to play with Chinese characters

Postby Kizyr » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:52 pm UTC

Twelfthroot wrote:Thanks, glad you had fun with it. Indeed, it's an interesting challenge - it can be frustrating when a kanji comes up that you know as well as your name but you realize you can't think of a single other word containing that kanji (then you scan the dictionary and see all the obvious possibilities). I'm not sure how useful a skill the game tests, but it can't hurt to practice. Do you have an idea as how to how to word the rules more clearly?

Sorry I never got back to this. Yeah that's definitely exactly how I felt quite often while playing the game.

Re: wording the rules, the problem wasn't how you worded the rules (they're quite clear as-is). It's because I was carrying over the same rules from the word-chain game (you know, レタス→スパゲッティ→ティラミス→すきやき→etc.) instead of reading the rules on the left. KF
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