is a word guessing party game
commercially available from Hasbro
. The object of the game is for a player to have their partner(s) guess the word on their card without using the word itself or five additional words listed on the card.
The game is similar to Catch Phrase, also from Hasbro, in which a player tries to get his or her teammates to guess words using gestures and verbal cues.
Taboo was later the basis for a 2002 game show of the same name on The New TNN, hosted by comedian Chris Wylde.
- A few hundred cards with words on both sides (how many cards there are depends on the game version)
- Tray for holding cards
- Timer (in the form of a one-minute hourglass)
- Pencil for writing scores down
An even number of players from four to ten sit alternating around in a circle. Players take turns as the "giver," who attempts to prompt his or her teammates to guess as many keywords as possible in the allotted time. However, each card also has "taboo" (forbidden) words listed which may not be spoken. Should the giver say one, a "censor" on the opposing team hits the buzzer and the giver must move on to the next word. For example, the giver might have to get his or her team to say "baseball" without saying "sport," "game," "pastime," "hitter," "pitcher," nor "baseball." The giver may NOT say a part of a "taboo" word; for example, using "base" in "baseball" is taboo. The giver may only use speech to prompt his or her teammates; gestures, sounds (e.g. barking), or drawings are not allowed (though modifications may be made for deaf
players). However, singing is permitted, provided the singer is singing in lyrics, and not humming or whistling the tune. The giver's hints may not rhyme with a taboo word, or be an abbreviation of a taboo word.
While the giver is prompting the teammates (without hand motions), they may yell out as many guesses as possible, rational or not, with no penalties. Once the team correctly guesses the word, the giver moves on to the next word, trying to get as many words as possible in the allotted time. When time runs out, play turns over to the next adjacent player of the other team. The playing team receives one point for correct guesses, one penalty point if "taboo" words are spoken, and the opposing team receives one point each time the giver passes.
In 1990 for a short time Hasbro sold a "refill" pack with additional words. That has been out of production for a while, but sometimes can be found on e-bay for around $50.
Some fans have created new cards and words themselves for distribution on the Internet.
United States Senator Barack Obama
is a fan of the game and has played it with campaign staff members and reporters covering his 2008 campaign for President of the United States
"6. Losing a Point: .... Passing on a card: "The opposing team scores a point each time you pass"