Suppose one of the taboo words is "Chinese"; could the player say something like "Someone from China..."? We had a disagreement because the word is clearly a very close mutation but there aren't any subwords which match (like "baseball"<=>"ball"). We decided that it's technically allowed by the rules but I'm wondering if that is correct.


From the rules here

No form or part of ANY word printed on the card may be given a clue. Examples: If the Guess Work is PAYMENT, "pay" can not be given as a clue. If DRINK is a TABOO word, "drunk" cannot be given as a clue.

So by looking at the Drunk/Drink example I'd say it was very clear that "China" can not be used when a taboo word is "Chinese".

I would chuck my usual caveat in here when answering question on games like this. Always remember you're playing a party game and it's meant to be silly fun. It's not an exercise in rules lawyering. If there is a player who wants to have a lengthy debate of if China/Chinese are the same or not I'd probably avoid that player in the future!

If one team get very close to the breaking rules then I'd let it pass but let the other team get away once with veering close to rules breaking once as well.

In the UK there is a radio comedy party game called 'Just a Minute'. in this game the host will regularly give player what is called "the benefit of the doubt" if a rule is broken in a minor way or its ambiguous but will try to rule in favour of another player later in the game two keep things fun and light.

  • 3
    Yeah. CHINA is definitely prohibited for CHINESE. There's no wiggle room there. – L. Scott Johnson Nov 21 '20 at 16:13
  • I've literally just bought this question up in a play testing group where a designer is talking about rules writing and how many examples to give to prevent a similar potential ambiguity. I suggested that someone somewhere is going to try and argue CHINESE and CHINA are different no matter how explicit you make the rules. The golden rule is always just keep it fun and light and avoid players who try spurious rules lawyering to win party games! – StartPlayer Nov 21 '20 at 18:09
  • Also, back to the OP and the claim that "there aren't any subwords which match", note that even rules lawyers have nothing to hide behind here: CHIN is the subword that matches (derived from QIN). cf. history.com/topics/china/china-timeline – L. Scott Johnson Nov 21 '20 at 18:17
  • What about obscure connections? "apron" and "napkin" — "daisy" and "day" or "eye" — "genetic" and "Genoa" — "vision" and "evident" — "assassin" and "hashish" — "shampoo" and "chapati"? – Ray Butterworth Nov 23 '20 at 20:13
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    If was playing Taboo and I was told I couldn't use a word due to some obscure connection that isn't common knowledge I'd note the player taking a party game to seriously and avoid playing that sort of game them in future! – StartPlayer Nov 23 '20 at 20:56

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