[TEFL Game] Office Worker Board Game

Office Worker SugorokuHere’s a game I made for a recent class, in the Japanese sugoroku style. It’s aimed at helping students practice talking about things they’ve done in the work place, so if your syllabus has you working on present perfect this week, try it out.


Download the PDF. Print out the first page on normal A4 paper, then blow it up to A3 on your photocopier. Print pages 2 and 3 back to back, ideally on thicker A4 paper, like craft paper or card stock. Print three copies of page four, again on heavier A4 paper.

Cut out the characters. The top white box should stay connected to the character. Cut off the bottom box from each character; that part will make a stand. Now make a small cut along the dotted lines on the character boxes and the stands. Put the slits you cut together in an X pattern to make the character stand up nicely, like this:

Here's how the characters should look when you've finished.

Here’s how the characters should look when you’ve finished.

Cut out the action cards (page 4). Shuffle them, and put them in a stack. I use a rubber band to keep them all together.

You’ll need three sets of action cards, one set of characters, and one playing board for every group playing. Generally you’ll want groups of five players or less.

Go grab a die and you’re all set.

Playing the Game

Explain to your students that they are all office workers. At the start of the day, they roll the die, and move forward that many spaces. If they land on “work”, they draw a card and say what they are doing, like, “I’m sending the client an email.” They keep the card. If they land on “meeting”, then the player to their right draws a card and asks a question. “Have you filled in the forms yet?” If the current player has a “fill in the forms” card, then they’re safe. If they don’t have a “fill in the forms” card, they have to work overtime! The player rolls the die again, and goes backward that many spaces. The student playing the “boss” puts the card back on the bottom of the deck.

If you have a small class, like an Eikaiwa or Hakwon class, then you’ll probably be playing with your students. If you’ve got enough students to make more than one group, though, I recommend just walking around monitoring and giving support. Try to divide your class into groups of three to five players. If you’ve got multiple groups, it’s very likely that some students will finish earlier than others. In that case, have them play again with a new character and see how many times they can reach the finish line before time is up.

With a little creativity, I’m sure you can think of other ways to use these materials. It doesn’t necessarily need to be about present progressive and present perfect–you might use it to practice making requests, for example. Have fun with it!

Shout out to smallpdf.com for providing an easy merge function. I’ve used their site a lot, and I’d like to leave a tip, but PayPal doesn’t accept donations from Japan.


English teacher, student of Japanese, and aspiring linguist.

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Posted in Teaching Tips

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