Board Games to Learn English

Did you know that Parker Brothers prints 30 times more Monopoly money every year than the United States prints real money?

Shock horror.

Has anyone counted the number of game boards and worksheets printed out by teachers for their students every day? I am sure it is more than the number of coins made by all mints on the planet.

Why can’t we just reuse game boards?

One of the major challenges that we face when we use board games in the classroom is how to retain the element of novelty and unpredictability. Novelty wears off with board games pretty fast; it is inevitable. Using a board game again and again with the same group of students to recycle grammar structures or vocabulary will eventually turn them off the game.

Unless a board is randomised in each new game.

I’ve designed this game using the concept of the racing board game Quorsum. The Quorsum board is a set of tiles that players draw at random and arrange in a 4-by-4 grid so it is different in every single game.

never boring game

Materials and preparation: print out the game board (you can download the phrasal verbs board (business English) to get your students to practise phrasal verbs that are often used at work, or customise a blank game board – print on both sides, flip pages on long edge.

Game Board Templates

You will also need 4 tokens/pawns or coins and two dice (or two coins).

How to play:

The game is played by 2 players. The goal of the game is to move the tokens to the corners across the board. Each player may move their tokens to the spaces of their colour (either dark or light), i.e. tokens may move from light to light or dark to dark spaces only. To make a move, players should make a sentence with phrasal verbs. The sentence should be true about them or someone they know.

Players alternate their moves (they may move their tokens one space at a time). To open up a path for their tokens (and block a path for their opponent), players may flip board ’tiles’ by rolling two dice. If the second die shows a number equal or greater than the first die, the player flips it over. If the first die shows ‘6’, the other die should be ‘6’. Alternatively, players can toss two coins. If they show the same side (heads or tails), the players can flip the ’tile’.

The player who moves their tokens onto the opposite corners first wins the game.

To play the game again, the players shuffle the cards and arrange a new ‘board’.

It is always unique and never boring.

Happy playing!

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It’s a good idea to pre-teach the language of playing games before you play the game (Check this post by John Hughes to download a worksheet and register for his webinar on using games in the classroom).


  1. Hello Svetlana, thank you for sharing this game with us. I would like to use it in my class, but I have some questions. Can you move the tokens diagonally? If we flip a board tile and a make a proper sentence, can we continue flipping tiles, or do we let the other player make their move? and finally, if the opponent has flipped the tile, can we try flip it again, when it’s my turn?

    • Hi Maria, glad you find this game interesting! You’re the boss, you can set your own rules:) With my students, we agreed that they could move any way, incl. diagonally, taking turns, i.e. making one move per player. If they choose to flip the same tile, they should come up with a new sentence. Hope this helps!

      • It’s good to hear that this variant of our game is being used in your classroom, Maria. As Svetlana said, you might as well decide on your own rules, but if it helps, here are the original rules for the game: If you do allow diagonal moves, just be ready for a very short game, since then it takes only three moves to get a pawn home instead of six. Your last question is a great one, since in the original game this rule is a BIG part of the skill and fun — we do not allow you to flip a tile your opponent has just flipped the turn before. This way you know that when you flip a tile, it will stay the way you flipped it at least until your next turn — otherwise, it can get boring when players keep undoing each other’s previous move.

        Happy playing, and feel free to report back,*

        Steve & Will Erickson (designers of Quorsum)

        * Phrasal verb!

      • I am not very familiar with board games in general, and your feedback really helps. Steve and Svetlana, I will create my own Quorsum and let you know how it goes! 🙂

  2. Sorry again, Svetlana,
    I have one more question, though. What happens if the players reach the tile on the opposite corners (both light and/or dark) and do not know how to make a sentence with the phrasal verb in question? Thank you!

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