Taboo is the classic party game that will have you laughing and guessing words. Players draw a topic card that has Taboo words on it. Their job is to give their teammates clues and get them to guess the correct answer without saying any of the Taboo words.
Taboo is a great board game, but you might be up for something new. If you’re ready for a new challenge, I’ve rounded up six of the best games like Taboo.
Which board game will become your new favorite? Keep reading to find out.
- 1 At a Glance
- 2 Board Games Like Taboo: Reviews
- 3 Party Game Buying Guide
- 4 Games Similar to Taboo: Final Thoughts
At a Glance
Taboo is one of the more popular party games. There are several reasons it strikes the right note with so many people. See the recommendations below for which games might be a good fit for you.
My overall pick is Codenames. It’s the perfect blend of unique mechanics while still being super easy to learn and play.
Are you traveling or playing with an extra large group? I recommend Catch Phrase. It’s portable and scales well to a crowd, making it a great party game.
Playing with children or younger players? Whip out Poetry for Neanderthals. It’s easy to understand and comes with an inflatable stick for hitting people. It’s a kid’s dream.
But these aren’t the only options. Learn about these board games and more below!
Board Games Like Taboo: Reviews
Codenames: Best Game Like Taboo
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Codenames is a guessing game with a fun spy-themed twist. In this board game, you’re giving clues to a partner. But instead of the back-and-forth of getting a point, Codenames has a completely different setup.
The group is split into two teams. Players act as spies, and their job is to get fellow operatives out of the field before their opponents do the same. The field is represented by a grid of words with a secret blue operative, red operative, bystander, or evil assassin under them.
One player acts as the spymaster and the other players act as secret agents. The spymaster gets to look at a decoder card showing all the locations. They need to communicate this to their team by giving one-word clues.
The clue should be just one word and a number. The number is how many visible codenames are related to the clue. For example, if the words “nut” and “orange” are shown, the spymaster could say, “trees-two.” That would signal that two codenames are related to trees.
Correct guesses mean the team plays again. If they uncover a bystander, the spymaster puts a bystander card on that codename and the other team gets to play. If they uncover an agent from the other team, that team gets closer to winning. Worst case? If the field agents uncover the assassin, they instantly lose the game.
To win the game, be the first team to uncover all their agents without running into the assassin.
This game is highly entertaining. It’s fun for all ages, although it is challenging to think of clues after the grid starts to be revealed. This board game is also fast-paced and can be played within half an hour. If you’re looking for games like Taboo, Codenames should top the list.
- Fun but challenging
- Great for all ages
- Cool spy-theme
- Word-guessing board game
- Reports of unsealed timer
Brain Fart: Runner-Up
Playing Time: 25-30 minutes
If Name 5 and Scattegories had a baby, it would be Brain Fart. It’s a word-guessing party game that’s fun, light, and great for a large group.
To begin the game, players roll nine dice to get nine different categories. Tap the brain timer to get the letter and start the countdown. Players take turns naming things in a category starting with that specific letter. Once you say a word, grab the cube from that category.
If it’s your turn when the time runs out, the brain timer will let out a farting noise. I know, your inner middle schooler just giggled. If it’s your turn when the timer goes off, you lose that round and get a token. You don’t want tokens in this game. When all the tokens are gone, the game ends. The person with the fewest tokens is the winner.
Brain Fart comes with 54 categories and 21 letters, so the game has a lot of built-in variation. Plus, you never know when the timer will stop, so it’s unpredictable. That being said, if you play with the same people repeatedly, you might start to use the same answers over and over. That could take some of the fun away.
There are 25 tokens, so a complete game would last 25 rounds or about half an hour. However, you can really set any limit you want to the duration. For example, several groups decided to stop after 10 tokens. It’s completely up to you.
The dice are super lightweight, which means they’re easy to knock over. It’s not a big deal, but you might have a felt pad or towel on the table to keep the dice from rolling too far.
If you enjoy games like Taboo, Brain Fart is one you’ll want to have on your “to-play” list.
- Fast-paced tempo
- Built-in variation
- Encourages interaction
- Easy to learn
- Can be repetitive after a while
- Dice are easy to knock over
Catch Phrase: Best for Large Groups
Playing Time: 20 minutes
Catch Phrase is a word-guessing game that’s played in teams. This is a family favorite, and it’s great for reunions, social gatherings, and parties.
Players split into two teams. You can play with as few as four players, but it’s better if there are more people. I suggest a minimum of eight people. Everyone sits in a circle, with a player from each team sitting in every other seat.
Each team has a turn trying to describe phrases and words without accidentally saying the word itself. The words are displayed on the handheld timer. The automatic timer sounds when the round is over.
Teams pass the buzzer back and forth as they play, and the team holding the buzzer when it goes off has to give a point to the opposing team. The first team to seven points wins!
With multiple categories to choose from, it’s easy to find one everyone is familiar with. If teams can’t agree on a certain topic, there’s a miscellaneous catch-all category. You don’t have to keep score during play since the handheld buzzer does that for you.
This game moves quickly and it’s super simple to play. What’s more, the buzzer is all you need to play, so it’s great to take on the road. It does require batteries, however, which can be inconvenient if they run out during the game!
Catch Phrase is an entertaining game for all ages, and it’s one of the best games like Taboo.
- Great for large groups
- Fun for all ages
- Fast-paced game
- Easy to learn
- Portable, easy to transport & store
- Requires batteries
Tell Me Without Telling Me: Best Game for Adults
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Tell Me Without Telling Me is a fast-paced card game by Spin Master Games. Guess words and score points in this adult party game.
Players split into teams. Each team rolls the die and flips the timer to begin the turn. The clue giver has a card with a word or phrase on it. That person gives hints to their teammates, who try to guess as many words as possible before the time limit.
But there’s a twist. There are three categories on the die: Show Don’t Tell, One Syllable, and Freestyle. In Show Don’t Tell, no words are allowed. You can only use gestures and props. In One Syllable, you can only use words with single syllables. In Freestyle, any words are fair game, except what’s on the card. This final category is the closest to the game Taboo.
The topic card categories include People, Traits, Things, Places, and NSFW (Not Safe for Work). Obviously, the NSFW cards are racier. You can choose whether or not to include those cards, depending on your gaming group.
Your team’s job is to get as many answers as possible in one minute. Keep the card for each correct answer. At the end of the game, the team with the most cards wins.
This game is not designed for kids, but it’s easy to learn and doesn’t take a long time to play. There are 400 cards, so you’ll have plenty of material for your next party.
- Easy to understand
- Moves quickly
- 3 types of clues for variation
- Includes 400 cards
- Not kid-friendly
Poetry for Neanderthals: Best for Kids & Families
Playing Time: 15 minutes
Sometimes you just need to hit your friends with an inflatable club, you know? In Poetry for Neanderthals, players guess words based on clues made up of one-syllable clues. This game is published by Exploding Kittens and is designed for two or more players.
When giving clues to your teammates, you must channel your inner caveman and speak in single syllables. Win points for every correct guess.
If you start talking fancy, though, one of your opponents can bop you with an inflatable club. Trying to come up with clues with just one syllable can be a challenge! The team with the most points wins.
Poetry for Neanderthals is a great family game. It comes with 200 double-sided cards, 2 game boards, a sand timer, and of course the inflatable stick. It even comes with a repair patch in case you get a little heavy-handed with the club. That’s good, too, because the components aren’t super high-quality. But you get what you pay for.
If you want a game like Taboo that’s hilarious, family-friendly, and will keep you guessing, you’ll love Poetry for Neanderthals.
- Fun for all ages
- Simple rules
- Fun and challenging
- Components are easily damaged
Blank Slate: Best for Smaller Groups
Playing Time: 30 minutes
Blank Slate is a clever board game from The Op Games where you try to predict what others are thinking. This is a great family game, like Taboo.
Here’s how it works: One player draws a Word Cue card. Everyone secretly writes a word that completes a phrase on the cue card. Choose your word carefully, though! You score the most points for matching words with just one player. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
Playing this game is a delicate balance between thinking outside the box and trying to match another player’s answer.
This is a game that anyone who can read and write can play. It’s easy to learn. Just grab a slate, write a word, and get ready to see who has the same idea! This game scales well to large or smaller groups, just like Taboo.
It comes with a scoreboard, 8 dry-erase slates, and 250 double-sided word cue cards. You’ll be able to play this several times without it getting repetitive. Younger players can team up with older players if they struggle to write words independently.
Unfortunately, like a lot of games that have dry-erase elements, Blank Slate doesn’t have the highest quality boards and markers. They can be difficult to clean, but you can use board cleaner or switch to pen and paper.
If you want a good family game like Taboo, Blank Slate is a great option.
- Fun for all ages
- Simple rules, easy to play
- Components aren’t the highest quality
Party Game Buying Guide
If you’re searching for board games like Taboo, you’ll want to look for certain characteristics. First, the best party games have simple rules that are easy to understand. You know what kills a party? Everyone sitting around, trying to figure out how to play a game. Simple rules are essential.
Secondly, a game can accommodate a larger group when players compete in teams. Some games have one team play at a time, while others have the teams play simultaneously in a racing format. Either way, playing in teams allows more people to participate.
Lastly, it’s best if the game appeals to all ages. This isn’t a requirement, but it’s helpful. It allows you to play with a wider range of people and groups.
Games Similar to Taboo: Final Thoughts
For the best games like Taboo, I recommend Codenames. It’s a classic in the making and has a lot of the same concepts as Taboo. Looking for more party games? Visit my complete review of the best 8-player board games. You can also find more games like Codenames.