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Playing Games in German
Board Games and other Spiele in German


Playing board games (Brettspiele), card games (Kartenspiele), and other types of puzzles and games (Spiele) in German is an excellent way to improve your vocabulary. A good game of Scrabble or the "Tausend Kilometer" card game in German can be an enjoyable way to learn the language.

MonopolyGerman Monopoly board game
Larger view: Games Directory

Even relative beginners can handle a game of Hangman (Galgenspiel) in German—and it's a great way to work on saying the letters of the alphabet! There are even several interactive versions of Hangman on the Web in German. (See links on our Games and Exercises page.) Hangman is a good example of a simple game you can play without buying anything. All you need is paper and pencil or a chalk or marker board. Playing it out loud (in German) with several other people is more fun than playing the game by yourself. But even if you play it online, you could say each letter out loud in German to practice the important skill of spelling words or names.

Games offer something for everyone. If you find Hangman too easy, try the German version of Scrabble. This popular game is played all over the world in many languages, each of which has its own special letter requirements. The set of letter tiles for the German version of Scrabble is quite different from the English version, reflecting the vocabulary. For instance, the letter "z" is much more common in German words than in English, so the German version has more z's than the English version.

Unless you happen to live in Europe, obtaining the German version of board or card games can be a problem. That's why we list several links to online sources of such games, as well as free games you can play in German on the Web on our Games and Exercises links page. You'll also find an extensive guide to all types of games in German in our German Games Directory (vendors, products, reviews). - Also see German Fun and Games for our online games and exercises.

Scrabble is an excellent game for the German-learner because it involves language directly. But there are many other board games that can be just as much fun and useful for the language learner at the same time. The German version of Monopoly, for example, offers a chance to learn some very practical vocabulary. Do you know how to say "mortgage" in German? By playing German Monopoly you'll learn that a mortgage is called eine Hypotheke in German.

Games are also useful for learning simple expressions such as "It's your turn." ("Du bist dran.") or "Draw a card!" ("Zieh eine Karte!"). A card game like 1000 Kilometer ("Tausend Kilometer" - known by the French name "Mille borne" in English) can teach you all about driving, cars, measurements, traffic rules, and more. It's a good game for several people to play. The goal is to reach a distance of 1000 kilometers (620 miles) before the other players. but there are hazards along the way. For instance, you could draw an "out of gas" card ("leerer Tank"), in which case you'll need a "Benzin" (gas) or "Tankstelle" (gas station) card before you can proceed. While 1000 Kilometer can be frustrating at times, it's an enjoyable game that can also teach you a lot of vocabulary.

Here we only have space to touch on a few of the many games that you can play to help you with your German. In a future article we will look at computer and online games for German. For now I'll just mention one award-winning computer game that has won much praise. Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? is available in German, French, and Spanish versions.

Related Pages

German Fun and Games
Games and crossword puzzles designed to help you test your German in an enjoyable way. Try color concentration or the things-that-fly Kreuzworträtsel!

Games and Exercises
Our links page for German games, testa, and exercises.

Guessing Game: Wer bin ich?
A biographical guessing game in German! Using the clues given, you determine who the famous (or not so famous) person is.

Photo Fun
Fun exercises based on photographs of everyday sights in German Europe. Test your vocabulary and cultural knowledge!

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