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(COLUMN) Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper – playing ‘Taboo’

Kate Rice


Actually, it would be more accurate to say “What I played over the Holidays” edition. That would be the board game Taboo

Yeah, I know. We live in the age of video and computer games, so why mess with the old-school stuff? Because it’s interactive, it’s easy, and it’s really frickin’ fun! Not that I’m knocking video games; they can be just as inclusive as board games. Still, throwing a classic into the mix every so often is just cool. 

I really dig word games, but unlike, say, Scrabble or Upwords (which are also great!), Taboo is a fast-paced game. The action is this: You describe a word to your partner/team. They have to guess the word. BUT. There are five words on the Word Card that you cannot say. For instance, say your word’s “Staircase.” You can’t say “stair” or “case” because they’re part of the word itself. But you also might not be able to say “up,” “down,” “banister” — things that are often associated with that word. You also can’t use the “rhymes with” trick, nor can you pantomime the answers. You’d be surprised how easy it is to blurt out one of the forbidden words without thinking, often resulting in spontaneous laughing and/or swearing throughout the round!

What you can do is personalize the description — which means you really wanna partner up with someone you have a history with. Or, someone who really knows how to think outside the box when giving clues. (Shout out to my Bestie’s sister Ash, who I’ve claimed as my Taboo partner for life.) So, for “staircase” you could say “The thing that Timmy was mattress surfing on and broke his nose,” or, “There’s one of these on the cover of your favorite book.” You know, some sort of personal connection to that object. This scene from the movie Four Christmases is a great example…

Each round is one minute long (like sands through the egg timer, so are the games of our lives…). Guess as many words as possible in that minute, add ’em up — that’s it. That’s the game. Simple concept, but there are some words that, no matter how easy they seem, are dang near impossible to describe without using the taboo words. 

Buy Taboo and lots of other really fun games at downtown Casper’s Toy Town, or places like Target, Amazon, etc. Then grab your favorite people and snacks and let Game Night begin!