Game On: 2023’s Top Games for Mandarin Learning

Efficient learning is based on stimulating interest of the learners. To learn a few new words every week during the class will have little impact on our learning progress. If we can maintain a high level of interests in learning Chinese and keep learning new words every day, it will have significant impacts on the learning process and outcome. Whether adults or children, the best motivation for learning are to stimulate potential interest, and playing games can make our learning process more fun and interesting. Who doesn’t love entertainment paired with education? In this post, we have listed several games, which allow us to learn Chinese in a fun, interactive and entertaining way.

1. Chinese Crossword

It can be automatically generated with a Crossword website, and there are many of them. To find a paragraph or a sentence from an article and type it into the website, a chart of cross words will be generated.

Source of the crosswords website: 小强填字手游;Chinese crossword puzzle

The game can be played alone or with friends. A group of friends can follow tasks according to different difficulties: A. write down the pinyin, meaning of words. B. Come up with sentences according to the words. C. Choose a few words to write a story or make up a dialogue.

2. Find the color

This game is suitable for multiple players. One member will come up with an object, and then assign one of group members to tell the color of the object and complete a sentence. If the answer is correct, the person who answered the question can pick up another object and designate someone else to answer it.

3. Counting game: “Pass Seven

This is a game that Chinese people often play. Starting from 1, each person counts one number following the numerical order. When they come across 7 or a multiple of 7, they cannot say the number and must say “pass”. If someone makes a mistake in counting, or doesn’t say “pass” in their turn, there will a light and fun “punishment” waiting for them. This game is suitable for more than 5 people to play together.

4. “You play, and I guess”

This is a game often played in Chinese celebrity shows. It requires at least 4 players to play in pairs. Everyone chooses several words to write on the cards or piece of paper. An opposing team member shows one card each time to a member of the other group, and then this person who sees the card must act on the words by using body gestures. Another member of the same group guesses what the words are showing on the card. The acting person also can explain the words in Chinese, but cannot use the words itself or mention any of its parts. For instance, if you’re describing 飞机, you’re not allowed to use 飞 independently, neither is it okay to use 机). If your partner does not get what you are trying to say, you must keep on finding different ways of describing or acting the word until your partner has figured out the right answer. Take turns doing this and gradually use more difficult words (abstract words, verbs, anything you like).Each group has 3 minutes limits; the group which get more correct answers win the game.

5. “Pass on a message”

This game is suitable for multiple players. Friends work in groups of 3-4 people and stand one after another. A member of the other group whispers a word or sentence to the first member of the other group. When the game begins, the first person who hears the words quietly tells the same words or sentence to the next person in the same group, and passes it on one by one. The group who finish the message delivery in shortest time and all members get the correct answer win the game.

6. PC and Video Games

To play Mandarin-language video games could help us learning the language in a fun, entertaining and effective way. Some of them provide players insights into Chinese culture as well. They act as reinforcement for any other method of learning.

(1) Chinese language games

The Chinese learning materials on this platform are free to use, does not require any form of registration, and were developed for language students of various ages and learning styles. Users can choose a Chinese topic to study, learn the new words or sentences, and then test your proficiency levels with the online quiz.

Online Chinese learning games include:

Phrases/Numbers/Colors/Fruit and vegetable/Animals/Vocabulary game/Days and months/Vocabulary builders

(2) Games learn Chinese

In this platform, you will find flashcard games and tests to complement your Chinese course, and learn over 5,000 words to pass the HSK exams. It also provides some useful material to learn vocabulary, such as audios, videos, flashcards, PDF wordlists, PDF workbooks. However, not all the flashcard games are free to use, users need to register or sign on a premium account in order to get access to high level games. As a registered user, people can select learning level from HSK1 through HSK 6, so beginner, intermediate and advanced learners can enjoy this game.

(3) “Mindsnacks Chinese” (App)

With 8 games designed for developing vocabulary & conversation skills, this app is ideal for beginners, practically children and students who want to learn, speak and read Mandarin an easy way. It is available for iPhone and iPad. The game is free with in-app purchases.

Key features:

— 8 mini games

— 1000+ Chinese words & phrases to study

— “Galactic” game to help master the tones required to speak Mandarin

— 50 Chinese lessons designed by Ivy League instructors (upgrade required)

(4) “Influent Chinese” (PC)

Influent Chinese is a video game showing a 3D environment filled with hundreds of selectable, collectible objects. Each object has a name, and sometimes even a description or action word attached, allowing players to assemble Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs into vocabulary lists that can be practiced and mastered their vocabularies. Players are able to choose what kind of the words that they want to learn, not simply adhere to a strict curriculum. It is a good game for learning the objects’ names that involved in our everyday life.

(5) 仙剑奇侠传 5 (Xīn Xiān Jiàn Qí Xiá Chuán) — “Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy--the fifth edition” (PC)

“Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy” is one of the most popular PC games in mainland China. In this PC game, players are able to explore an alternate ancient China with humans and monsters with supernatural abilities. If you’re not particularly interested in playing games, you can adjust the game’s difficulty. This game involved a lot of conversation. In addition, it’s available only in Mandarin with no English subtitles, making it a good choice for intermediate and advanced learners.


As we mentioned at the beginning, there are many reasons to use games for learning Chinese, such as having fun, creating an environment for communication and making the learner more active. The games that listed above are differed based on how the game can be played. Moreover, we can either play alone or team up with friends who are also learning Chinese; it will make the learning process much more fun and interesting. Please check them out and let us know how you find them.