Today we are going to talk about word roulette, a game inspired by casino roulette but which swaps numbers for letters and helps to strengthen language learning.
Brief history of roulette
Roulette is one of the most popular casino games. Its origins are not entirely clear, but at least it is known that the name derives from the word roulette, which in French means small roulette wheel.
The principles of this game can be found in many cultures. In ancient China, monks found a game consisting of animal figures placed on the sides of a square and numbers that added up to 666. The monks brought the game to Europe and changed the square shape to a circular one.
There is also evidence of roulette among Greek and Roman soldiers. Life on the battlefield was so hard that they were allowed to participate in all kinds of gambling games to help them unwind. In some of these games, it was necessary to spin a shield or a chariot wheel, similar to the dynamics of roulette.
In the end, it was France that took the credit for its birth. However, its design was inspired by two other games that were already popular in Europe in the 17th century: the Roly Poly and the Even-Odd, which worked by spinning a wheel and betting on the possible outcome of the spin.
From France it was brought to the United States by European settlers who came to Louisiana. By adding the double 0 to American roulette, casinos were able to gain a greater advantage than they have when playing European roulette.
Types of word roulette
To make a word roulette you just have to think about how to fill in the squares with language and vocabulary related quizzes. Unlike casino roulette, which has 37 squares in European roulette and 38 in American roulette, with word roulette you can have as many as you like. The most famous of them all is the roulette or rosco of Pasapalabra, a television programme where the contestant hears the definition of a term and has to find the correct one according to the letter of the wheel he is playing with.
These roulettes can also focus on a specific topic to remember or review a topic in the classroom. That is, if what is being studied is casino games, each letter could answer a question on that topic. For example, with s, what is the house slots provider Casino? Section 8, of course.
With word roulette you can create questions on any kind of topic such as sports, history topics or your best friend’s life if you want to surprise him or her with this birthday present.
They are also very useful for vocabulary reinforcement. For example, you can put words in each of the boxes and when a word is highlighted, the contestants have to make a sentence using that word correctly and as quickly as possible.
Another possibility is to put syllables in each box and look for words that have syllables, a way of practising sounds for children learning to read or foreigners learning the language. In addition, specific spelling topics can be covered, for example, with pairs of words with different diacritical stresses (words of one syllable that are differentiated with a tilde: me/my, de/e, tu/you…) to help students assimilate their different meanings.
There are many places on the internet with software ready for you to point out your own word roulette wheels on the topic you need, either to review content in a classroom or to create a game that can be used to entertain at an event. Educaplay is a simple website that helps you to create your games quickly and intuitively.
Advantages of word games
We have already seen what a great learning tool word roulette can be. On the other hand, games are increasingly seen as an important medicine to prevent or delay neurological diseases. Cognitive training is one of the necessary activities, like physical exercise or good nutrition, to prevent the onset of diseases in old age. Over time, society has replaced terms associated with old age such as deterioration or dependence with others such as independence or active ageing.
Mental activity is one of the fundamental pillars for achieving quality of life in old age. With cognitive stimulation, different capacities of the grey matter are activated. Reading, computer board games or mental games are very helpful tools to strengthen the brain muscle. Anything that is a challenge, whether it is new or intellectually challenging, will help to strengthen the verbal capacity and memory and, consequently, will result in a strengthening of the intellect.
Casino roulette vs. word roulette
We already know that in casino roulette the protagonists are the numbers and in word roulette the linguistic system. But in addition, each of the two is driven by different motivations:
Casino roulette: to play casino roulette you have to be motivated by the desire to be lucky. It is true, for example, that you can learn different tricks to win at roulette, but you have to accept the importance of chance to win at roulette.
Word roulette: the chance component is small, as to a large extent the chances of winning depend on your linguistic and memory skills and how quickly you are able to respond to the challenge the game sets you.
Games are an important part of developing and strengthening our grey matter, but while word roulette develops your linguistic-verbal intelligence, casino roulette could help us develop an intrapersonal intelligence where the control of emotions, both when losing and winning, is essential to move forward.
However, there are other casino games that can help you develop logical-mathematical intelligence if you are not a fan of letters and prefer to play with numbers. In blackjack, statistics are on the table and help develop mental agility and concentration. And if you think that in poker you can win on the basis of intuition alone, you are very wrong: knowing the odds that each player will be dealt a certain number of cards, knowing the cards you need to win a hand or knowing the profitability of each bet made are formulas that will bring you closer to victory.
Word roulette follows the mechanism and form of any casino roulette. However, in addition to its playful aspect, it is designed to help the development of the language part of the brain.
On the other hand, although numbers are the protagonists in the different types of roulette, blackjack and poker are games more prone to the development of mathematical skills.