Géraldine is game-addict and founder of Comme une Française. She offers an insight on how games can improve your French, where to find them in Grenoble and where to play for free.
Here are six games in French you can use to improve yours. Christmas is coming and games are perfect gifts. All are very far from the boring jeux éducatifs, these are real games you will find in Grenoble. Grenoble is a city of players as you will see at the end of this post.
Note: Most of these games can be played in English as well, so all the family can enjoy them together. Whether you’re a francophile or not!
Three easy games to improve your vocabulary
Dobble is a perfect way to learn a few words and practice practice practice! As Dobble is all about speed. it’s a family game. An apéro game as we call them. This means that it is easy to carry around, easy to explain and quick to play (10 minutes max).
In Dobble, you have to find drawings on a card as fast as you can and name the drawing: dinosaure, fantôme, cactus… Then you win the card. Dobble has five ways of playing which makes it always different.
I’ve played Dobble many times (mainly at La Bobine) and still enjoy this apéro game very much.
My tip: Feel free to use the English name if the French one has left your brain! For hardcore learners: you can prepare the game by writing down the name of each drawing in French and use Dobble to memorize the vocabulary.
Dixit is worldwide bestseller. You probably know it already! You have to find a card with one word. So pick the right word! What’s great about Dixit is that it’s a family game with amazing drawings on each card and you can play in both languages.
My tip: Use a dictionary! I know, this sounds very old school. If you really want to improve your French, as this is not a speed game, feel free to get helped by a translator or a dictionary.
Djam is another apéro game. This one will improve your vocabulary AND spelling.
How to play? You pick up a card. Let’s say “kitchen”. Then you throw five dice which will give you the five letters you have to use. LSCIA for example. Then, you have to find words that contain these letters, fitting the theme. Such as casserole. The more letters you use, the more points you win.
On top of this, the points are little blue diamonds which are even nicer to win!
My tip: If you play with a French person, there is an extra rule to add where the first letter is imposed. Hardcore learners will use Djam as a perfect way to memorise vocabulary sheets.
Two medium-difficulty games to improve your French culture
Time’s Up!, like Dixit, is a worldwide bestseller. You don’t even need the game to play! However, buying the game is a great way to discover French celebrities and culture: television, cinema, books, politicians … You have to make your team guess who’s on the card by using as many words you want, then just one, then by miming. It’s very funny.
My tip: if you play with French friends, remove all the cards you don’t know … or ask them to explain! Hardcore learners can buy special editions such as “Academy” (about books, cinema, music, TV…), “2012”, etc.
Buzz It! is perfect to improve your “dirty” French vocabulary! Like Dobble, it’s a speed game but you’ll have to use your imagination as well. Buzz it has a “family” version and an “adult” one. If you’re more than 12 years old, use the “family” version to improve your basic vocabulary. But if you really want to learn ‘familiar’ French, stay with the adult one.
It’s all about picking up a theme and guessing what can relate to it in five seconds max. Family themes are “animals, musical instruments, colours” and adult ones are “worst excuses to be late at a date”, “nicknames in your couple”, “gifts for your mother in law”…
My tip: to learn A LOT of ‘familiar’ French, play with French people! And maybe switch to English sometimes so THEY can learn some rude English from you.
One advanced game to improve your French vocabulary
Linq is my favorite card game in the world. It’s all about making links between random French words and expressions … awesome! You will be able to play Linq with friends with your level of French. But playing with French friends only is going to be a challenge. It’s already tricky for French people so it might sound crazy for you! If you’re a fan of French crosswords and TV shows such as “Pyramides”, Linq in French is for you!
However, to enjoy the game as much as I do if you’re a beginner, buy the English version!
My tip: Write down the words in French so you can think properly.
Where can you find these games in Grenoble?
Grenoble a city of game-players. Lucky you! The two main shops to buy games are Les Contrées du jeu (the shop I go to, between Verdun and Chavant) and Les 7 Royaumes (awesome as well, in rue des Clercs). In both shops, you’ll find great advice (never ever pushing you to buy anything) and advantageous loyalty cards. I love these shops.
In Grenoble, you also have places where you can try the games. La Bobine (in the Parc Paul Mistral) organizes des Soirées Jeux on a regular basis. You pick a game, a table, and a guy comes and explains the rules so you can play immediately. Without reading the rules. How great is that? Did I say it was free? It is.
You’ll also find a great place to play at Le K’Fée des Jeux on Les Quais. It’s a café with many games for everyone.
At last, Grenoble has a yearly “Game festival” called Place aux Jeux. A full weekend of game-playing. Last year, I tried five new games in one evening.
Géraldine is the founder of Comme une Française