How to Play Taboo Board Game Rules Guide

4 -10  players

20 mins

Age: 12 +

Check out our easy to read  how to play Taboo Board Game online guide

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Table of Contents

What is the goal?

The objective of Taboo is to score the most points by guessing the most words.

Game setup 

To start the game, each player draws 10 white cards.


During each turn, the gameplay is followed in this order:

  1. Team A chooses one person to be the ‘Clue Giver’.
    The cardholder sits in the opposite direction from their team.
    The Clue Giver’s teammates are not allowed to see the cards as they will be the ones guessing the word.

  2. Team B sits beside or behind the Clue Giver and controls the buzzer.

  3. The round begins with the Clue Giver placing the top card onto the easel along with turning the timer.
    Clue Giver says words or phrases to try and get their team to say the word on the top of the card.


  4. Team A completes their turn when the timer runs out. The game alternates to Team B having a Clue Giver and the game continues until all players have been the Clue Giver
    (If there is an odd amount of players, one person from the team with fewer players will be the Clue Giver twice).


  5. All cards that are in the discard pile or on the easel are removed from play.

Rules for the Clue Giver

  • None of the Taboo words listed underneath the guess word is allowed to be said.
  • No hand gestures or sound effects may be used
  • You cannot say the guess word sounds like or rhymes like with another word.
  • No part of ANY word can be said. e.g/ If the guess word is spaceship, you cannot say space or ship; If a Taboo word is drink, you cannot say drunk.
  • Initials and Abbreviations cannot be used for any word
  • With the opposing team watching the card of the Clue Giver, if any of the rules are broken, the buzzer is sounded by the opposing team explaining why. By doing this the card now becomes dead, placing it in a discard pile and a new card is drawn continuing the game.
  • The Clue Giver’s turn continues until the timer runs out and all cards in the easel and discard pile are placed out of the game.

How do you win?

Point Scoring and Additional rules

  • Points are earned from the number of cards you have guessed
  • Each correctly guessed card is left on the easel until the end of the time.
  • The number of cards on the easel is the final total for that Clue Giver.
  • Points are lost if you get buzzed or you pass the card.
  • During the round, the clue giver may choose to pass the card. These cards are placed in the discard pile.
  • Cards placed in the discard pile are added to the opposing team total.
  • Record points on the scorepad for both teams each round.
  • If there are no more cards available, reshuffle the deck and use the purple side.

When everyone has had their turn of being the Clue Giver, the scores are added up and a winner is decided. In the case of a tie, both teams choose one person to be the Clue Giver for one more round to determine the victor

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