|Players||4 or more|
|Setup time||3 minutes|
|Playing time||10 to 20 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Team play|
|Website||Taboo product page at Hasbro|
Taboo is a word, guessing, and party game published by Parker Brothers in 1989 (subsequently purchased by Hasbro). The objective of the game is for a player to have their partners guess the word on the player's 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 verbal clues.
- A few hundred cards with 5 taboo words and the word that has to be explained on one side of the card (the exact number of cards depends on the game version)
- Tray for holding cards
- Timer (in the form of a one-minute hourglass)
- Buzzer or squeaker
- Pencil and paper for scorekeeping
Some early editions include a board to track progress (as shown in the photo on this page), but current editions do not.
The second edition of the game, produced in 1994, has a round, pink squeaker, or hooter, instead of a buzzer, as do the 1993 and 1990 editions.
Taboo Junior, the game for younger players, includes a purple squeaker, as do a few of the other editions from 1996 and 2002 as well as 2012.
In 1990, Hasbro sold packs of additional words, but they are no longer in production.
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 deduce the word "baseball" without offering the words "sport," "game," "pastime," "hitter," "pitcher," or "baseball" itself as clues. The giver may not say a part of a "taboo" word; for example, using "base" in "baseball" is taboo. Nor may they use a form of a word; for example, if the word was "wedding" and the taboo words are "marriage," "bride," "groom," "nuptials," or "honeymoon," the words "marry" and "bridal" would not be allowed. The giver may only use speech to prompt his or her teammates; gestures, sounds (e.g. barking), or drawings are not allowed. Singing is permitted, provided the singer is singing words rather than humming or whistling a tune. The giver's hints may rhyme with a taboo word, or be an abbreviation of a taboo word. Usually, people who resort to poetic capabilities abuse this rule when they lose or start losing.
While the giver is prompting the teammates they may make as many guesses as they want with no penalties for wrong guesses. Once the team correctly guesses the word exactly as written on the card, 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 passes to the next adjacent player of the other team. The playing team receives one point for correct guesses and one penalty point if "taboo" words are spoken.
In popular culture
- There was a game show based on Taboo in 2002, hosted by Chris Wylde.
- In the 2008 film Four Christmases, Kate (Reese Witherspoon), and Brad (Vince Vaughn) played Taboo with Brad's mother (Sissy Spacek) and her boyfriend.
- On January 29, 2010, Cassandra Dominguez of Madrid, Spain scored what is believed to be a record 38 in a 4-round game of Taboo at the 2010 World Board Gamers Convention.
- The game was also played in the show Will & Grace, in the season 3 episode, "Cheaters".
- The buzzer was featured in The Office episode "Special Project".
- The game was played on BBC Radio 1 by Greg James during the second night of his Glasgow sofa surfing week in July 2012.
- The game was played on The Ellen DeGeneres Show by Ellen DeGeneres and Katy Perry.
- The game was portrayed by East India Comedy on their YouTube Series EIC Gamers by Sahil Shah, Sapan Verma and Angad Singh Ranyal.
- The game was mentioned in the King of the Hill episode "My Own Private Rodeo".
- 1989 edition
- 1990 edition with pink hooter
- 1993 edition with pink hooter
- 1994 edition with pink hooter
- 1996 edition with pink hooter
- 1999 10th anniversary edition
- Bible Taboo
- Celebrity Taboo
- Platinum edition electronic Taboo
- Taboo Jewish Edition
- Taboo Junior
- Taboo for Kids
- The Big Taboo
- Taboo Body Language
- Taboo Quick Draw
- Taboo Singaporean Version
- 2002 edition with purple squeaker
- 2003 edition with red squeaker
- 2009 20th anniversary edition
- 2011 All New version with new clues and a "game changing" die
- 2013 edition with "game changing" die
- Taboo Buzz'd
- Taboo from FunkyGames, a variation for Android
- Big Taboo, a variation
- Tabooo, a variation for iPhone
- Word Charades, an iOS variation
- Unspeakable - Taboo Like With Friends, a variation for iPhone
- Battle of words - Taboo like Party Game, iPhone/iPad variation
- "Taboo (1989)". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
- Hasbro Taboo Product Information
- Official Taboo Instructions
- "The New TNN Unveils Unspeakable Fun With New Game Show 'Taboo". PR Newswire.