Taboo, the Game
of Unspeakable Fun.
|One of my
favorite pastimes over winter break is to play Taboo, a
popular board game from Milton Bradley. Billed as
"The Game of Unspeakable Fun", Taboo is a
spoken word game that involves trying to get your team to
guess a secret word without using any of five clue words
specified as "taboo". How, for example, would
you describe the word kitten without using the words meow,
cat, purr, furry, or animal? As a player
gives clues, he is constantly monitored by a member of the
opposing team; if he makes any mistakes, he is unceremoniously
"buzzed" and a point is deducted from his team's
many ways to succeed in Taboo. Hand gestures, sound
effects, and "sounds like" clues are prohibited, but
legal clues can consist of suggestive sentences, song lyrics,
fill-in-the-blanks phrases, or even one-word hints.
Here's an example: How would you suggest the word diamond
to your team if you couldn't say baseball, carats,
ring, jewel, or engagement? Here
are some possibilities:
"Rolex makes gold ones..."
Sara's clue for "Paul Revere":
"It's the GUY! The GUY!"
friends and I play Taboo a lot. Our games extend
late into the night and often consume the entire deck of 504
cards. You might say that we have evolved Taboo playing
to an art form. If I say aquatic animal, my
teammates won't say fish, they'll say barracuda.
Why? Because they know that there is no fish
card, but there is a card with the word barracuda.
accuse us of memorizing the cards, which isn't really fair.
We don't try to memorize the cards; we've just played
so frequently that we start to remember them. The
effective result is that we've established clues for nearly
every card. If there were a professional Taboo
tournament, I think that my friends and I would be serious
contenders for the world championship title. If I say film,
my teammates will immediately name Citizen Kane,
Alien, and Blade in rapid succession, since
those are the only three film titles contained in the Taboo
deck. Mention anything to do with Russia, and they'll
spout off Sputnik, Red Square, and Glasnost
-- the only three Taboo cards related to this subject.
Playing Taboo at this level of expertise makes for some
interesting games; the problem is that nobody wants to play
with us anymore. One night we gave our opponents a
100-point handicap -- and then lost by only one point.
dealers derive almost no thrill from a game of blackjack.
They've memorized the best course of action for every possible
hand, so what is a game of skill for many has become for them
a game of chance. The same could be said of us and
Taboo. Once you're familiar with all of the cards, the
game play becomes somewhat mechanical.
why we need your help. I've created a system that allows
you to easily create new Taboo cards for us to use.
here to give it a try.