Tips for the Game Taboo


Taboo is a word game in which two teams compete to guess the most words in the allotted time. However, each guessing word is given five other taboo words that cannot be used to describe it. If a taboo word is spoken, the player must forfeit a point to the opposing team. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, so use your best strategy to earn the most points.


  • Use creativity to get your point across without speaking any of the taboo words. Take a second to think about each card you receive before you start saying clues. If a word has more than one meaning, try to get across as many of those meanings as possible to maximize your potential for winning. For example, if the word is "crane," you can say it is a type of flying creature and a piece of construction equipment.

Points from Penalties

  • When the other team is playing, your job is to keep your eyes and ears open for potential penalties. Each penalty will give your team a point, so when a new card is drawn, quickly memorize each taboo word and be ready to hit the buzzer if any of them are said. Likewise, a player may not use sound effects or gestures to get a point across, so use these opportunities to earn more points for your team.

Know your Teammates

  • Taboo is best played when people with a close relation, such as couples or best friends, are placed on opposing teams. However, there may be occasions when you can exploit a personal relationship with a teammate to quickly earn points by referencing inside jokes or shared experiences. Likewise, your clues should reflect what you know about your teammates. Do not make obscure references if you do not know your teammates well enough to guarantee that they will understand.

Know When to Pass

  • When faced with a difficult card you must know when to play and when to pass. Every time you pass a card, the other team receives a point. However, passing is worth it if you can make up for the penalty. For example, if your team has guessed several cards in a row, you can afford to pass to keep the momentum going. Likewise, if you do not understand the word, your best strategy is to pass.


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