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How to Play Taboo Offline and Online

The rules and set up of Taboo

If you like board games, perhaps you heard of Taboo at some point or another. It’s a game where you get to socialize with your friends and family. Here are the guidelines on how to play Taboo offline and online.

What Is Taboo?

Taboo is a verbal game in which players guess the word that their teammate is describing. There will be words that they cannot use to give clues. This game requires you to think and talk quickly since you have limited time to score.

Goals of the Game

Your team has to score the most points to win the game by guessing the words on the taboo card. You cannot say the 5 taboo words that are written on the same card.

What Do You Need to Play Taboo?

  • 504 Taboo cards
  • A cardholder
  • A Buzzer
  • Timer or Hourglass
  • A Pen and notepads for scoring

How to Play Taboo?

  • You will need an even number of people such as 4, 6, or 10 people. Then, divide equally into two teams. If you have an odd number of people, one of the members of the odd team can guess twice.
  • The first team will select one person to be a clue-giver and sit with the other team. The rest will sit on the opposite side as they are the guessers and cannot see the cards.
  • The second team will sit next to the other team’s clue-giver as you have to see the taboo words, and they are also in charge of the buzzer.
  • To start the game, the second team will start the timer. The clue-giver will draw one card from the cardholder, and try to give clues for your teammate of the words found on the cards. However, the clue-giver cannot say the 5 taboo words listed on the card. If you say taboo words or break any rules, the second team will press the buzzer.
  • Once the time runs out, the teams will swap roles until everyone gets to be the clue-giver.
  • When everybody played as a clue-giver, the game is over and the team with the most points wins.

The cards will have taboo words on both sides in different colors. Thus, after all the cards are used, flip to another side to play the different colors of cards.

How to score?

Every card’s value is 1 point. If your teammates can guess the word right, then you get a point and you can move on to the next card. If the card is too hard and a clue-giver wants to pass, then you will also lose one point. For example, the clue-giver can discard the card if the word is difficult or if it takes too long to guess, you can put a card on the discard pile, but your team will lose one point to the other team.

In terms of getting buzzed, you will lose a point to another team as well. This means the card and the turn are considered dead. You will need to put the card on a discard pile and the other team takes the next turn.

Things a Clue-Giver Cannot Do

  • A clue-giver cannot suggest any movements and gestures related to the taboo word. To illustrate, if you get the word “GUN” you cannot pose like you are shooting.
  • You cannot say words that rhyme or have a similar sound to the taboo words.
  • Any abbreviation is not allowed to be used while giving clues such as TV for “TELEVISION”, or USA for “United States of America”.
  • You cannot use onomatopoeia or make any noises like an instrument sound, an animal sound, or an engine sound such as ticktock of a clock, a doorbell, or woof as a dog.
  • As the taboo word is a compound noun such as “COWBOY” you cannot say the word Cow or Boy when giving clues to your teammates.

Overall, you can only say the clues in words or phrases. Try to describe it in as many ways as possible for your teammates to get the idea of the Taboo word.

How To Play Taboo Online?

You can play this game online through any video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Facebook, or any other application that allows you to share the screen and have a video call with friends. Now, you can have fun with your friends during lockdowns.

Here is one way to play Taboo online. Go to and start a meeting on Zoom with your friends. Divide into two teams and you can take turns in sharing the screen of the taboo words. The website already has a timer and all the words for you. When you are ready, just click the PLAY icon to begin the game.

If you are interested in playing this game, you can purchase the Taboo board game from Amazon, or you can go to to play this game online. Just follow our guide and you will be able to have fun with your friends. Remember, think fast, talk fast, and do not use any taboo words.