How to Make Your Own Taboo Cards

paper and pen image by Melissa Schalke from

Taboo is a word-guessing game made by Parker Brothers (a subsidiary of Hasbro), that comes with a starter set of cards. Each card lists the five best words that describe a word to be guessed. According to the game's rules, the five words on the card are considered "taboo," meaning players cannot use the words when trying to get their teammate to guess the main word on the card. If you have played a lot of the basic game, the cards may not be a challenge anymore. You can make your own Taboo cards with either your computer or paper.

Jot down a list of words. Think of the five best clues for each word. These five words will become the "taboo" words--the words a player cannot use to get their teammate to guess the main word. If you are having trouble coming up with words, make a list of subjects. Next think of a word that is related to the subject. If a subject is sports then a word might be "football." Then come up with five words that best describe football. You may choose "Sunday," "touchdown," "team," "field" and "quarterback."

Open up either a word processor or a spreadsheet program. You will draw a three-column- by seven-row-table in your word processor. A spreadsheet program is already table-formatted for you. The first row will be used for the word you want players to guess. Skip a row and then place one taboo word on each of the next five rows. Format the word with a larger font size than the five taboo words

Add more tables to your document until you have enough to cover half of your words. Look for split tables between page breaks and move them so the table is on the same page. Once you have typed in your words and taboo words, you are ready to print.

Print out your document and then load the your printed cards in your printer. You will now print your remaining cards onto the back of the sheets. For most printers, you need to load the printed side facedown. Check your printer manual or do a test sheet to confirm this.

Cut our your cards with scissors. Now you are ready to use your cards the next time you play Taboo.

Take a ruler and draw off 2- by 3-inch rectangles on your sheet of paper. This will serve as a template for each card.

Write the word at the top of the rectangle. Draw a line and write the taboo words. This way it will be easier to distinguish the list of taboo words from the word to guess. Put each taboo word on a separate line.

Cut out your rectangles with scissors or a paper cutter. Now you are ready to use your own Taboo cards when playing the game.

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