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ELT Game Corner

Welcome to my Game Corner. Here I introduce a game for you to use in your classes to help make English come alive.

September 01, 2004

The Ramen Game

ramen.jpg The Ramen Game is an English game that has been especially created for Japanese students to interact with each other about food in English during class. From two to eight players can play.

The contents consist of eight Ramen Boards which picture the eight basic Ramen ingredients along with their corresponding Ramen Ingredient Cards, which are: noodles, soup, green onions, eggs, mushrooms, sesame seeds, bean sprouts and pork.

The hungriest student goes first. This can be determined by asking all the players the following questions:

"What time did you eat lunch today?"
"What did you eat?"

The teacher can ask these questions or a student can. The students can then review what others ate and when. The teacher can offer language support by using such phrases as, "What did Taro eat for lunch today?" "What did Sumire eat?" "What time did Jun each lunch?"

The person who ate lunch the earliest or the least goes first. This is determined by a group consensus with the support of the teacher using the questions outlined above.


  1. The teacher passes out a Ramen Board to each student, saying, "Here you are." To which the student replies, "Thank you."
  2. The Ingredient Cards are placed face-down in front of the players.
  3. The hungriest student goes first and picks up a Ramen ingredient. He says the name of the ingredient and takes it for his Ramen Board. But before he can place it on his board, he has to ask a food-related question to another player. If he can do that and receive an answer in English, then and only then, does he place the Ingredient Card on his Ramen Board over the same ingredient. (He only has one chance.)
  4. The student to his left selects an Ingredient Card and uses the same procedure.
  5. The game continues in this way. If and when a player has covered some of the ingredients on his board, he will pick up an Ingredient Card that he does not need. When he doesn't need a card, he places it back face-down and says, "I don't need it."
  6. When a student has collected seven ingredients, he says, "Ramen Reach!" which signals to the other players that he can win on his next play.
  7. The student who fills up his Ramen Board first says Ramen! and wins.

Possible phrases to use for English interaction among the students are:

  • What time did you eat lunch today?
  • What did you eat?
  • Are you hungry?
  • Do you like Ramen?
  • What is your favorite Ramen?
  • Do you like garlic?
  • Do you like green onions?
  • Do you like noodles?
  • Do you like ginger?
  • Do you like sesame seeds?
  • Do you like pork?
  • Do you slurp when you eat Ramen?
  • When do you like to eat Ramen?
  • Which Ramen ingredient do you like the best?
  • How many bowls of Ramen can you eat?
  • Can you make Ramen?
  • Which you prefer, Ramen or Udon?

These questions consist of language they can use in other food-related situations. So learning how to play The Ramen Game is a win-win situation for everyone. The only set-back is everyone gets hungry playing!



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