Games with languages that use different types of writing systems

Hi,
Sorry if this has been asked before, should go in the games forum, or if the question is not clear. I was wondering what, if any, sorts of “games” are played with languages that use non alphabetic writing systems ( or if you want to include stuff from Babylonian wedges or Mayan knot tying systems that’s fine :slight_smile: ).
For instance, the Latin alphabet and similar types of writing systems, easily lend themselves f to such things as word searches, crossword puzzles, anagrams, scrabble, etc. Are there any analogs to those things in cultures / languages, like Chinese, that use entirely different types of writing systems (e.g. pictographs, ideographs, hieroglyphs, etc) as opposed to just different alphabets, like Cyrillic? For instance, I have heard that in Chinese (Mandarin? Cantonese? ) they have contests to see who can look up a word in the dictionary the fastest because it is so difficult. What other sorts of language games do other cultures play?

I’ve wondered if there are Spelling Bees in other languages. I’d guess that even a gringo with 2 semesters of Spanish is going to be so good at Spanish spelling that there’s little point.

If TBBT is to be believed there’s “Klingon boogle”.

And regarding spelling bees, at least in Chile we don’t have them and I’ve never heard of any other Spanish speaking country that do, my guess is its because Spanish is much more transparent than English.

Does Japanese count? Hiragana and Katakana are syllabaries, each character is a syllable rather than a phoneme. You can play the same kinds of word games you do with a phonemic alphabet. Eg Shiritori (しりとり) is a Japanese word game in which the players are required to say a word which begins with the final kana of the previous word. No distinction is made between hiragana, katakana and kanji. “Shiritori” literally means “taking the buttocks” or “taking the end”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiritori

The Japanese have crossword puzzles. Note the lack of clues (and that some numbers appear multiple times).

So, um, how does that work, then?

You use the squares that are already filled in their place. This works because there really aren’t that many 3+ character long words featuring a given character (for the most part).

ETA: apparently there are similar “clueless” crossword puzzles for English. They look way harder, though: http://www.cluelesscrosswords.com/

Spelling bees.

Yes, they are mostly (but not entirely) a phenomenon of English speaking countries. Languages where the orthography is sane, err, closely related to the pronunciation don’t present a challenge. A Slate article on this topic:

French speaking countries have spelling+grammar contests, apparently. Note that French spelling is sometimes touted as being as illogical as English, and the language has recently undergone spelling reform as a result.

That article does mention the Chinese dictionary lookup and typing contests:

I assume that the squares with the same number have the same character in them? And it looks like once you’re done with the grid, you fill in those characters in the spaces below to form some quip or quote or the like.