Is learning things and having fun at the same time is possible ? I believe it is ! Just before Christmas, we decided to test 3 new games about the French language and tell you all about them.
I have personally always enjoyed games. Of all sorts. Board games, card games… I have always played with my family and it is for us a real tradition to play games on Christmas day. It is, I find, a perfect way to spend some quality time with your loved ones and having a laugh too. I like games where you have to think a little bit ! It is fun to use your brain, challenge yourself and maybe learn a thing or two at the same time. I like games such as Trivial Pursuit as you can test your knowledge on many subjects. The good thing is, in my family, we all have strong and thus favorite topics that we master but we also all have weaknesses with categories that we know nothing about, so we are all even competitors (pretty much!).
The 3 games we tested this week are, as I mentioned, all about French language (and in the French language). They tackle different aspects of French : Grammar, Spelling, Idioms, Etymology etc. We all know French language is a very difficult language to master and even when grow up speaking it, there’s still many many things to learn. I am French and I can safely say that I don’t know a lot of things about my own language ! I guess that’s what makes it such an interesting language. You never stop learning…
-The first game is Parlez-vous Français ? – Boite à questions pour les nuls by the publisher First Editions. The game comes with a small book L’essentiel du français written by Jean-Joseph Julaud, a French teacher. It includes a book of some grammatical rules, explained with humour as “Dummies” books are wont to do. The game has 94 cards with 5 themes : Language traps, Etymology, Spelling, Vocabulary and Idioms.
How do you play ? You need 2 people to play or 2 teams. A team picks a card and asks the question on the card to the other team. You can answer in 3 different ways. You can say Je sais ! if you know the answer and then get 5 points if it’s correct. If it’s not, the other team gets 2 points instead. You can also choose to say Je ne sais pas if you have no idea and then you and the other team don’t get any points. At last, you can say Je tente (I’ll have a go) and then you can have a choice between A, B or C. You have 1 point if it’s correct and if it’s not, the other team gets the point ! The first team with 50 points wins the game.
FUSAC’s opinion : I really like the compact box, it is very practical as you can take it anywhere with you (on the train or plane for instance !) and you only need 1 person to play with you. The little additional book can be very useful, especially if you like the style of the books pour les nuls . Regarding the questions, some are quite easy and some are pretty difficult even for a French person ! It is quite challenging ! If you love the language and have a great level then you will enjoy playing and you will learn a lot of things, I am sure. If you are a beginner then you may want to wait a little bit before you try ! First Editions has released a whole variety of Boite à questions games if you are looking for gifts ideas for Christmas.
-The second game we tried is Le Livre Jeu de la Langue Française by the publisher Chiflet & Cie. It comes with a book with the rules and the questions (with the answers underneath too so don’t peak too much !), a die, a board and 6 playing pieces in the form of the most famous French writers such as Marcel Proust or Honoré de Balzac.
How do you play ? First you choose your playing piece (it’s for 2 to 6 players) and throw the die on the board that resembles a big library. You then arrive on a square with a color. There’s 6 different colors for the 6 different themes : Games about the language, Idioms, Conjugation, Vocabulary, General and Spelling. One other person asks you a question from the book according to the color you landed on. If you answer correctly, you throw the die again. To win you have to be the first person to arrive on Arrivée !
FUSAC’s opinion : When you first see the game, you expect it to be a hefty book about French but when you open it you realise it is actually a board game ! The design of the game is really excellent! The board, especially, is great ! I like the idea they had to make the playing pieces after famous French writers ! It is very easy to play and the questions are for an intermediate level so a lot of different people can play, even younger people ! Of course, expect things you don’t know, but it would not be fun if it was too easy ! It is a great game for people learning French and who love the language ! Great Christmas gift !
-The third game is La boite de la langue française by Erik Orsenna from the Académie Française. It is published by Marabout. It is a box with a little book inside with the rules and the answers, 6 categories of cards (240 cards overall) and a die. The categories are : Agreement, Borrowed Words, Etymology/Vocabulary, Slang, Phrases and Words rarely used.
How do you play ? You can play on your own or with up to 12 players. You can also make teams for more fun ! The goal is to be first to have 6 points in at least 4 categories. First you throw the die which does not indicate a number but a category of cards. The other player asks you a question from that category. If it’s correct, you have 2 points and you can throw the die again. If you’re wrong, it’s the other player’s turn to play.
FUSAC’s opinion : It is a lovely box that really makes you want to play ! If you are in love with French and perfectly master the language then it’s the right game for you ! Don’t forget to invite your smartest friends because those questions are difficult ! The game is made by someone who is passionate about words and explains his passion in a beautifully written preface. As a French person, I found the game extremely challenging ! I am definitely going to learn a lot of things through it. I really like that the answers are in the book and not on the cards and you have a proper explanation, not just that’s right or wrong. It’s also great that you can play alone and just test yourself. If you want to reach the next level with your French and impress everyone I highly recommend the game !