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A Detailed Guide to Taboo


Dive into the world of words unspoken and challenging restrictions with our comprehensive guide to the game of Taboo.

So, how is Taboo played?

Short Answer

In Taboo, players split into teams. The Card Reader gives clues to help teammates guess a target word, but they can’t use related taboo words. Correct guesses earn points, and the team with the most points wins, making Taboo a challenging word-guessing game that tests communication skills.

This article unravels the rules, strategies, and tactics to help you master this thrilling word game.

Join us as we explore the art of describing without saying and the excitement of breaking free from linguistic boundaries.

What Is Taboo?

Taboo is a popular word-based party game that challenges players to convey a specific word or phrase to their teammates without using certain “taboo” words or phrases.

In the game, players are divided into teams, and one player from the team tries to get their teammates to guess the target word while avoiding a list of restricted terms.

The objective is to describe the word effectively within a time limit while navigating around the taboo words.

Taboo is known for its fast-paced, wordplay-driven fun and is an excellent choice for group gatherings and social events.

Playing Taboo is an engaging word-guessing game that involves clever descriptions and quick thinking.

Here’s how to play.

Materials Needed


Here’s everything you need for the game of Taboo:

  • The Taboo game set (a deck of cards with target words and a buzzer timer).
  • A notepad and pen for scorekeeping (optional).


Here’s how to set up for the game:

  1. Divide players into two teams.
  2. Choose a “Card Reader” for each team. The Card Reader is responsible for drawing cards and providing clues but cannot participate in guessing.


Here’s how the game is played:

  1. Each team takes turns playing.
  2. The game’s objective is to get your teammates to guess the target word on the card you draw within a specified time limit (usually 60 seconds).
  3. The Card Reader draws a card from the deck and reads the target word at the top of the card to themselves.
  4. Below the target word is a list of “taboo” words or phrases that the Card Reader cannot use while providing clues. These taboo words are related to the target word and are meant to make the game more challenging.
  5. Using spoken language, gestures, and descriptions (excluding the taboo words), the Card Reader provides clues to the team to help them guess the target word. The Card Reader can be as creative and descriptive as possible but must not use any of the taboo words.
  6. While the Card Reader provides clues, their teammates try to guess the target word. If they guess correctly, the team earns a point, and the Card Reader moves on to the next card.
  7. If the Card Reader accidentally uses a taboo word or phrase, the opposing team can hit the buzzer timer to signal the infraction. The opposing team then gets a chance to guess the target word for a point.
  8. Play continues with each team taking turns, and the game continues until all the cards have been used or until a specified time limit is reached.


The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

You can decide in advance how many rounds or cards you want to play to determine the winning team.


Here are some variation ideas for the game:

  • You can customize the game by altering the time limit or allowing additional rules and challenges.
  • Some versions of Taboo have special cards or categories that add complexity or humor to the game.

Taboo is a wordplay-rich and entertaining game that challenges players to think on their feet, use creative descriptions, and avoid the most obvious words to win.

It’s a fantastic choice for parties and social gatherings.

To Sum Up

In the world of wordplay and creative clues, Taboo shines as a timeless test of communication and quick thinking.

This guide has unraveled the rules and strategies that make this game an engaging and lively experience for all.

As players navigate linguistic obstacles and defy linguistic boundaries, Taboo continues to spark laughter and camaraderie, proving that words can be both the challenge and the solution.

Join in the fun, where describing the unspoken becomes the ultimate triumph.

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