Career Magazine

158: How to Talk About Different Kinds of Games in Mandarin Chinese

By Learnmandarinnow

Who doesn’t love to play games in their spare time? Even though there are so many computer games available these days, many people still like to play traditional board games such as Monopoly or even play cards. Be sure you can join in the fun and discuss playing with your friends and colleagues.

In this Podcast, you will learn:

(i) How to talk about playing games when you have spare time

(ii) To suggest alternative games to those suggested by your friends


Three friends are looking to play a game:


(zài jiā kāi pài duì)

(having a party at home)


Nǐ mén xiǎng wán er shén me? Pū kè, dà fù wēng hái shì?

What do you two want to play? Cards, Monopoly, or something else?


Sān guó shā! Wán sān guó shā!

Legends of the Three Kingdoms! Let’s play Legends of the Three Kingdoms!


À, wǒ bù huì ā. Hái shì dà fù wēng ba.

I don’t know how to play. Better to play Monopoly.


Hài ya, wǒ jiāo nǐ ā. Tè bié hǎo wán, zhēn de.

I’ll teach you. It’s really fun….


Hǎo bā, nǐ mén kě dě ràng zhe wǒ diǎn er!

Okay. But you need to give me a chance at the beginning!

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

唱卡拉OK:sing karaoke


围棋:Go chess

象棋:Chinese chess


扑克:poker/playing cards


三国杀:Legends of the Three Kingdoms






让着……:to humor someone/treat someone nicely

Cultural/Grammar note:

If a group of young people have a party together, they would probably not play ‘围棋’ or ‘象棋’, because they are too serious and too hard to play.

‘三国’ is a time period of ancient China. ‘三国杀’ is a strategy type of game

‘玩儿’ is how northern Chinese say ‘玩’ casually

‘让着……点儿’ is very common when an elder brother or sister is playing with their younger brother or sister. E.g. ‘你是哥哥,得让着妹妹点儿’ (you are the big brother and you need to be nice to your little sister)

If two friends are playing chess, the one who did not win might say ‘我让着你呢’ (I let you).

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!

Keats Chinese School
Keats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

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