Battle for Japan

A write and race game based on the Senkoku Jidai quiz game found on the Englipedia site.

2023 NOTE: I decided to reduce my presence on the site so I've removed most of the variants of my activities. Rather than posting a template or versions for multiple language points I'm just posting a single version. It's not hard to create one's own.

2023 NOTE: I removed the worksheet word documents and added them to the powerpoints on the first page or two. I thought it was confusing with the worksheets and the powerpoints split up with small files and medium files. Also a lot of the time I don't use them anymore.

TV and computer, Handouts for each students, Cut out colored samurai cards for each group, Dice and a box, Cut out Ninja Attack cards (Optional)

How to Play

Demonstration Stage

At this point the ALT and JTE demonstrate the activity together using the example screen. One is red and the other green. I don't put the students into groups until after the demonstration.

Click on the questions banner to reveal the first question or the keywords that must be used in the answer. The JTL will answer the first question and then select one of the prefectures that has a number. Click on it until it turns the correct color. The ALT will also answer the question and select another numbered prefecture and click on it until it matches the ALT's color. Then click on the question banner again to reveal a possible answer to do an answer check.

Then continue to the next question. Click on the previous answer to reveal the next question or key words. The JTE will answer the question and select a new prefecture. At this point explain that the new prefecture must be adjacent to their previous territory or connected by an arrow. The ALT will then answer the question as well and select a prefecture. This time the ALT will select a prefecture already occupied by the JTE. To steal the prefecture the ALT must roll a 6 sided die in a box and get a result of 4, 5 or 6. If the ALT does so then the ALT can change the color of that prefecture. If not then the team is finished but doesn't gain a prefecture.

Prefectures that are black do not require die rolls.

At this point check that the students understand and then break them into groups. This activity works with 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 or 9 groups depending on the size of the class. Each group will receive their worksheet and a color samurai card matching their color. There are only 4 colors so in classes with 6 or more groups, the groups will be allied with each other. For example in a class with 6 groups there will be 2 red, 2 green and 2 blue teams, in a class with nine groups there will be 3 red, 3 green and 3 blue teams. If the class breaks into 5 or 7 or 10 groups reorganize so that there are 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 or 9 groups.


Click on the next screen square to go to the main game screen.

Show the first question. Groups either send a member to answer it or bring the answer in writing. Lately I prefer verbal answers. The JTE checks the answer. Then they go to the ALT to pick a prefecture. The ALT will collect their color cards after they've selected a prefecture.

Once every team has answered the question or until a set time limit has been reached click on the question banner again to show a possible answer. Check that answer then continue to the next question. While they are working on the next question return the team color cards.

After the 4th answer check stage the ALT can introduce the Ninja Attack cards. The team can trade one Ninja Attack card to either take a second prefecture or reroll a failed die roll. This is optional but I find the students do love it. I generally give each group between 2 and 3 Ninja Attack cards. Once a card is used they do not get it back.

The activity continues until all the questions are answered or the activity time is up. Most classes can finish between 12 and 15 questions in my experience. When it is over count how many prefectures each team has captured and the teams with the most are the winners. You can click on their color banner to reveal a victory screen for that color.


This tends to be a loud activity with students getting quite excited. Also since it is generally necessary to wait for each team to answer each question before moving on I recommend against doing questions that are too difficult. This works best if you keep it fairly simple. I have other variations on this activity that work better with complex questions or questions that require longer answers. I will post one or two of them at some other time.


If you use a tablet such as an ipad connected to the TV I suggest not doing that with this activity. Bring a computer and connect that to the TV instead. It is my experience that the touch screen is too sensitive for this activity and can cause problems. If you usually use a mac with an apple mouse I suggest not using the apple mouse. It is again far too sensitive and can cause problems. It is a pain to have to reset the game if something goes wrong.

Small files
  • BATTLE FOR JAPAN team cards and ninja attack cards.docx (102 KB)
  • Medium files (requires an account to download) -
  • BATTLE FOR JAPAN 2nd Conditional Review.pptx (11 MB)
    1. Musakuu January 30, 2020

      God damn it Robert, you've done it again!! Someone stop this man, he's insane!

    2. emilychampagne August 27, 2020

      This was a huge hit! I modified it slightly so that students show the answers on a small white board, my JTE likes doing answers that way. It was still crazy fun!

    3. UonumaRobert August 27, 2020

      Thanks, I'm glad your class enjoyed it. I'd guess with the small white boards it might have gone faster. Since you didn't have to wait for every student to write the answer.

    4. Kebicchi November 6, 2020

      This looks great! Will modify it for ES and give it a go in English club!

    5. UonumaRobert November 6, 2020

      @kebicchi. Elementary school eh? I've never tried that. My advice as always with this activity is keep the targets very simple so everyone can participate quickly enough. I hope it goes well.

    6. anoldalt January 26, 2021

      I've updated this activity to work more like the original sengoku jidai game. How may I submit this to robert?

    7. UonumaRobert January 26, 2021

      Hi Anoldalt, just use the contribute option to contribute it to the site. I'd love to see it. Maybe link it to the original sengoku review like I did.

    8. anoldalt February 5, 2021

      I keep getting an error when trying to upload. What am I missing?

    9. Jake W February 5, 2021

      Is one of the descriptions a little too long? It should give an error if that’s the case, but it breaks if there’s a file attached.

    10. UonumaRobert February 5, 2021

      I've had that problem. I've found I have keep the description, name and time fairly short. You can add more in the rules or as a notecard at the beginning of the presentation.

    11. anoldalt February 9, 2021

      I couldn't get it to work. Even going down to just the title. I sent the files off to Jake.

    12. Jake the Admin March 7, 2021

      Sorry, I'm way too late on this, but I uploaded Anold's version. I'll go in and change it so his account can manage it. I think the name may have been too long, so the new site interface will hopefully make that easier to catch.

    13. ohnoko February 25, 2022

      I've been planning to use this as a final activity for my JHS 3rd graders, since my kids love it so much. However, and maybe I'm thinking too much about it, I'm looking for community opinions: Do you think it's tone deaf to use this 'Battle' game considering the current unfolding events? Any input is greatly appreciated.

    14. UonumaRobert February 25, 2022

      Could be something to that. Some years ago I stopped using the 'typhoon game' name and theme after the big earthquakes. Although that was something that happened in Japan and had much more of a personal impact on the students. You could re-theme this easily enough. I have similiar activities where I used themes such as 'restaurant competition' or the Election game.

    15. UonumaRobert February 25, 2022

      They only problem I found with the alternate themes is they don't always inspire the imagination as much as the idea of Samura battling each other for control of Japan.

    16. ohnoko February 25, 2022

      Yeah I love the Japanese motifs in the game, and the kids always seem to like it too. I was talking to an ALT friend of mine and came up with changing it from 'Battle' to 'Making Japan.' I'm changing the samurai to some Shinto gods, and I think I'll make the ninja cards into Yatagarasu cards.

    17. ohnoko February 25, 2022

      So it'll be more of a contest to be the 'most loved god' or something, I think.

    18. UonumaRobert February 25, 2022

      That sounds cool. Could have the winning god's theme dominating the country.

    19. 4sarah1212 December 15, 2022

      My kids absolutely love this game! We play it all the time! :D

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