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Taboo

Contributed by Graham Turner (chimera@umpire.com)

This is primarily a 2-player game based on Tablanette I modified to play with friends who did NOT like to learn new games, so it resembles a combination of their favourite existing games. The main difference is suits are disregarded. This is actually a great game for teaching young kids speedy addition.

Rules for the standard multi-player game:

  1. One standard deck of 52 cards is used, with jokers. For five or more players, two decks are recommended. Cards have their face value, with Ace=1, Queen=11, King=12. The Jacks and Jokers have no value but have special functions. The game begins with each player being dealt five cards in the usual way.

  2. The top four cards of the stock pile (which is facing down) are turned face up side by side. If a Jack or Joker is turned over, it is replaced with another card and put back at random in the stock. Play is clockwise, and the hand to the dealer's left plays first.

  3. Each player must match the value of a card in their hand with one face up and/or two or more that add up to their card. So from the face up cards they can take one of equal value and two or more that equal their card if such fortune falls their way.

  4. The matched card(s) along with their own card have no points value and are placed in a discard pile (used by all players, usually face up on the other side of the facedown stock pile) unless in matching the cards they clear all the face up cards, in which case they get to place them in their own points pile. Whenever the face up cards are cleared, the next player must draw the top card from the stock pile and either place it face up where the other face up cards were, or add it to their hand and place another card from their hand face up.

  5. If the player cannot match any cards (or chooses not to) and does not have a Jack or Joker in their hand (or chooses not to use them) then they must draw from stock pile. They then must either use that new card as described above, or place a card from their hand face up with the other face up cards, thereby increasing the next players chances of matching a card.

  6. Playing a Jack clears all the face up cards and places them along with the Jack in the discard pile. The player gains no points from this but does force the next player to draw a card and place one face up, preventing them from reducing the number of cards in hand, and increasing the chances of other players clearing the face up cards by only needing to match that single card to score.

  7. Playing a Joker forces every other player to draw a card. The Joker is placed in the discard pile, and play continues with the next player.

  8. The game ends when a player has played his last card. Everyone adds up the value of the cards in their points pile and subtracts from that the value of the cards in their hand.

  9. If the stock pile is used up before a player runs out of cards, then the discard pile is shuffled and placed face down as the stock pile.

  10. If the stock pile is used up before a player runs out of cards, then the discard pile is shuffled and placed face down as the stock pile.

The inventor writes: "In case you're wondering, I decided on the name Taboo because my friends all like telling stories and jokes while playing, usually about subjects which are normally taboo to bring up in "polite" company. I won't go into detail, needless to say they typically involve the combination of various bodily functions with unrelated behaviour or unusual body parts connecting with others in ways unmentionable.. unless you're playing Taboo!"


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Last updated 5th November 2003