Playing a board game is fun and requires more than a little bit of language. You have to explain the rules, give advice on how to play, ask for tips, encourage, cheat, discuss and generally chat while you play. All the perfect ingredients for a language activity that might not be good for a full class, but might be great to fill a tutorial hour with a small group or engage an ‘English Conversation Club’. Here are my best board games to play with your students
The king of board games where player make words to score points. This has the added bonus of already ‘looking like’ it will be good for learning English. Get students to play together and allow them to use a dictionary to help them – it’s not cheating!
The world conquest game is legendary. Simple, fierce and easy to learn, it will have your students engaged straight away. Use the goal cards with higher level students to encouarage sneaky tactics.
Complex, iconic and involved. What better way to learn a language than to engage in trade? Encourage students to make deals with each other by buying and selling the properties they have. Also, you must use the ‘Free Parking Rule’ – this puts lots more cash up for grabs.
Pontoon (or twenty one) – Quick game to encourage speculation and guessing. Lots of opportunity for fun and laughs, good for lower level students who need to practise numbers.
Games I wouldn’t recommend
Chess – too much thinking and not enough chatting. It’s a bit like boxing in that both players just want to crush each other – not good for a friendly language activity.
Poker – again, too much frowning and not enough chatting.
Purely dice games like snakes and ladders or ludo, there’s no chance to speak here.
Anyone know any other good board games to play? Or can I hear my voice echoing round an empty virtual hall?