Games to play with AI-driven chatbots

A common-sense warning: Before you assign any game with ChatGPT or an AI-driven chatbot, teach your students how to use this powerful tool sensibly and responsibly, i.e., make sure they know its basic principles of operation, and its respective weaknesses, and do not use it as a knowledge repository or a fact checking tool, to avoid overreliance or unrealistic expectations. LLMs are statistical models, which means that some prompts may not work the first time you try them or may produce slightly different results from what I show in this post. If this happens, try to reset the conversation (Start a new chat) or Regenerate the output.

Did you know that you can play games with ChatGPT? I have tried to play quite a number of games with ChatGPT, including some classic vocabulary and grammar games that have withstood the test of time, to see if they have potential for in-class or out-of-class learning. This post covers some of the games that I think might add novelty, variety, and possibly value to the learning process.

Image: A top banana generated by Fusion Brain – /Imagine: 5 Activities for Language Learners

Banana Word Game

This is a variation of a classical word game. I think that the first time I came across this game it was called ‘Teapot’. Here’s how it worked: one student would leave the room and the class would come up with a word that was to be the secret word. Then the student would be asked to return to the classroom, and each student would have to say a sentence using the word ‘teapot’ instead of the secret word, until the student could guess the secret word. I have used some variations of this game to revise English tenses and vocabulary, using the word ‘Chocolate’ (see It’s All About Tenses: Time to Chocolate). For our game with ChatGPT, I’ll use the word ‘banana’.  

Before the game: Think of a specific topic and/or and create a list of vocabulary items to play with. This will provide constraints for ChatGPT and help avoid the risk of confabulation and hallucinations. Install the Talk-to-ChatGPT plugin (if you use a free version), or use the respective speech-to-text plugin to enable conversation with ChatGPT.

Modify the following prompt to suit your context. 


{I would like you to play a game with me to help me revise vocabulary about [your topic, e.g., climate change]. Make an example sentence with one of the words from the vocabulary list below and substitute ‘banana’ for the target word. You can only use words from the vocabulary list I gave. Do not use words I have already guessed. Vocabulary list: [your vocabulary list, e.g., insurmountable, renewable, emissions, footprint, impact]}


*If you’re not entirely happy with the output, click on the Regenerate button, or provide additional instructions.

**If you choose Bing, use Creative Mode. Bing is likely to ask you to make your own sentence to challenge it – ‘AI wants to have some fun‘.

You can assign this game for learners to play on their own, or arrange it in the classroom – AI vs Human Intelligence.

Gap-fills are a particular strength of large language models , allowing you to experiment with various tasks. For example, you can ask ChatGPT to provide the first half of a sentence for you to complete, or create phrases instead of full sentences.

Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe and Battleships

Paper and pen games, such as Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, Battleships and other games that that involve recording players’ moves may not work smoothly with ChatGPT. It is likely to forget the prompt instructions or confuse moves and letters (as seen in the case of Hangman). However, arranging such a game to play for your students can still be valuable as it creates a unique learning experience. Students will need to monitor ChatGPT’s moves and responses, correct any errors or seek clarifications, and critically evaluate the output while revising target language items in the process. 

Here’s an example of the Irregular Verb Tic-Tac-Toe that I tried to play with ChatGPT. It had a promising start (if you try playing this game, make sure to ask ChatGPT to create a grid with a specific number of squares and fill it with your listed irregular verbs). 

You can enter a simple prompt ‘play Tic-Tac-Toe with me’ as ChatGPT already knows how to play this game. You can also include specific rules, such as asking ChatGPT to provide incorrect forms or a funny example with the correct form, etc.  


{Let’s play a game. Draw a three by three grid. Fill the grid with the following verbs: sing, ring, drink, sink, shrink, swim, begin, run, feel.

Here are the rules of the game. Players choose a square and give past and past participle forms of the verb {example: sing-sang-sung}. If the forms are correct, adjust the grid and place O or X instead of the verb. If the forms are incorrect, the player skips the turn. Every time when I make a mistake in the forms, say that it is incorrect and give a humorous example sentence with the correct form. You are X, and I am O. You start first.}

Things got funny later on. The chatbot started ‘forgetting’ the rules, confusing ‘O’ and ‘X’ (‘cheating’); it failed to ‘notice’ 3O or 3X in a row and continued to fill the squares. 

However, as I mentioned before, this might add a critical assignment component to a simple test-your-knowledge game. 

Expanding a Sentence

This is one of my favourite  one-sentence games that can be played both in the classroom or by students on their own. You can play the game with the whole group or split students into small teams and have them to play against the AI. You can also start the game by using a sentence from a gap-fill exercise in your students’ course book.

Note: LLMs do not ‘see’ words but process text using tokens where one token generally corresponds to ~4 characters. This translates to roughly ¾ of a word (so 100 tokens ~= 75 words), so they may not strictly follow your one-word-at-a-time rule.


{Let’s play a game. The goal is to expand a phrase into as long a sentence as possible by adding extra words. Think of a single word or a phrase. In turns, we need to add one or two extra words to make it into a longer sentence. The player who adds the last word wins the game. You start the game.}

To address the weaknesses of the chatbot and avoid potential confabulation, if you play this game with your students, set constraints such as a particular context/topic, register, genre, or a list of your language items.  

Call my Bluff

Also known as Two Truths and a Lie. You can play this game using a particular topic or character. However, remind your students that an LLM does not have an in-built notion of what is true and what is not, so it may occasionally spit out some wrong facts or statements. In addition, consider providing some input to the model before playing the game in the classroom to avoid bias.  

{Let’s play two truths and a lie about [your topic, e.g., climate change]}. 

You can also try a variation of this game and prompt ChatGPT to assume the role of a particular character and give 3 statements of which two are lies and one is the truth. 


{Act as [Harry Potter]. Give me 3 statements about you of which two are lies and one is the truth. I should guess which one is the truth.}

One variation that I think may be more engaging and learning rich is to ask students to come up with three statements about themselves and prompt ChatGPT to guess which one is a lie. After the chatbot has provided its answer, they can ask it to ‘think step by step’. This will make it a good exercise to teach reasoning in the target language. 

The following game is quite similar and may be used to revise specific vocabulary items or concepts.

Odd One Out


{Let’s play Odd One Out. Our topic is [climate change]}

You can also ask ChatGPT to generate sentences using your vocabulary items. 


{Let’s play Odd One Out. Our topic is climate change. Give me a list of four items, each item used in a sentence and underlined.}

Word Associations

Word association games are easy to play and a great way to help students make connections between words.


{Let’s play Word Associations on the topic [climate change]}

Play Your Own Adventure: Role-Plays

Students can prompt the chatbot to play choose-your-own adventure games by askit it to ‘Pretend you are a text-based adventure game set in [setting]. You must make choices [number of options] to navigate through the game.’ 

These games can be designed around specific situations, and I particularly enjoyed the version suggested by Sam Gravell.

Source: @GravellSam (Twitter)

Note: *Assigning a persona helps generate better and more interesting results compared to a simple ‘write in informal style’ prompt.

If you provide a name to the chatbot and ask it to act as a friend, it will follow an informal style. However, if you want to target a specific register, consider assigning a particular character to ChatGPT. For instance, in this example, I asked ChatGPT to write in the style of Peter Griffin. Beer pong was inevitably brought up, but the conversation became more engaging and human-like.

Speaking games: Job Interviews & Debates

You can also try a number of speaking games. They may be a good way to provide some extra speaking practice for your students before or after they practise in class.


{I would like you to play a game with me to help me practice my speaking skills. Act as a job interviewer. Your name is James. My name is [your name]. Let’s have a job interview for the [your field or position] position. Ask your question, and then wait for my response. Respond in 2 parts: Part 1 – act as my teacher of English and point out and correct any mistakes; Part 2 – act as an interviewer and ask your question. Start with hello and general introduction.}

It is also a good idea to set constraints and specify areas or desirable questions to be asked or their number. I would keep this list short to avoid potential confabulation. To add more fun, ask your students to give the chatbot a persona – provide a persona or character they would like ChatGPT to adopt for a conversation. 

Note: ChatGPT uses American English spelling by default, so to prevent it from commenting on British English spelling, use American English spelling in your prompts.

Your students can also practise giving their opinions/ debate with ChatGPT.  


{I would like you to play a game with me to help me practice my speaking skills. Let’s debate about [your topic, e.g., the AI is killing creativity]. Act as my friend. Your name is James. My name is [your name]. Provide only one argument at a time, and wait for my response. Respond in 2 parts: Part 1 – act as my teacher of English and point out and correct any mistakes; Part 2 – act as my friend and give your argument. Write in a casual, friendly and engaging way, as if you were telling a friend about something. Act as a master of conciseness. Start with general introduction.}

Debates can be also arranged in the form of the Good News, Bad News game.


{Let’s play the Good News, Bad News game. Our goal is to build up a story consisting of alternately good and bad pieces of news. You start with your statement and then wait for my statement. The statements should continue each other. Write in the style of Peter Griffin. Make it fun. Our topic is AI chatbots.}

This is not an exhaustive list of games I have tried, but I believe these have great potential as both in-classroom and out-classroom activities. They can be implemented directly within the classroom or serve as a valuable resource for creating language learning games for students. I hope this post will encourage you to experiment and try a few games with your students to see firsthand the strengths, the potential value they bring, as well as the limitations that large language models may have in the context of language teaching and learning.

If you have tried any language games with ChatGPT, please share them in the comments below!

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