Chinese Whispers Game

Chinese whispers is a game that is played all over the world using different names.  In Britain the game is called Chinese Whispers, whereas other English-speaking countries have changed the name to The Broken Telephone Game or simply, The Telephone Game.  Even Italy and Spain use translations of this name.  Some countries also refer to the game as The Gossip Game or The Grapevine Game.  In France, the game is sometimes referred to as The Arab Game and the game was previously referred to as The Russian Scandal Game.

So what is Chinese Whispers / Broken Telephone Game?

The game is not a competitive game with a set winner or loser, but is a game that is played purely for enjoyment (as surely all games should be!)  For the game, the players stand in a line and the first player thinks of a phrase to use for the game.  S/he whispers the phrase to the next player in the line and that player should whisper what s/he thought they heard to the next player, and so on, until the whispered phrase reaches the end of the line.  The last player should then announce what s/he thinks the phrase is.

Why Play Chinese Whispers / Broken Telephone Game

  1. As an example of why accurate communication is important
  2. As an ice-breaker at events
  3. As a fun game to see how language can evolve
  4. To illustrate why gossip should be ignored

The game is quite fun and is usually played by school children in countries all over the world.  it's also a great game to play at an adult's dinner party after the meal and drinks have been consumed and sensible conversation has run dry.

The key to a great game is finding a good sentence for Chinese Whispers.  If you have any ideas for great starting sentences or phrases, please add them to the comments below.

Check out our examples of chinese whispers games!

Check out our broken telephone game sentences and phrases!

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#3: Guest #739 (?) - at 08:00 on 10 Dec 2017

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#2: Guest #208 (hannah) - at 10:48 on 30 May 2016

in year 1 we played this game and I loved it

#1: Sandy - at 08:49 on 13 Dec 2013

We used to play Chinese Whispers as a child. It's funny how a game to entertain children can be so representative of adult life!