Taboo Session - Plays Best with 6 or More
We recently had some friends over to the house, while the kids played outside. After a pause in a seemingly interminable discussion (where the husbands mostly sat and listened and/or dozed) about at what age we should allow our daughters to begin dating, I proclaimed I was ready to play a game. So we busted out Taboo (after Tales of Arabian Nights was voted down by a wife with a slight headache--I said nothing about the headache I had been getting during the date debate). Sometime last year I picked up the Expansion pack at a Yard Sale, so we decided to play with those. I insisted there wasn't an easy side and a hard side, but after the fact we concluded that the Expansion Pack seemed overall harder than the original set.
There were four adults playing. First round we played married couples as teams. This is an easier format for the game, especially if you've been married a while, because you know what the other person knows and doesn't know, and you can give clues that nobody else in the world would get, but your spouse would.
In this game there were several clues like that, like "When I'm working [he's a carpet cleaner] I like to use this device on all my equipment here before I take it inside the home." The answer was a whisk broom or something. Nobody else would have known that, but his wife did. Or my wife's clue "You got this in your mustache at the A's game, and it spoiled in sun, and you couldn't figure out where the stench was coming from." Latte! Whipped Cream! Yes!
That game went pretty fast. Then we switched it up, and played guys against girls. Much harder with just one partner, especially one you know less well than your spouse. And because we'd already played with spouses, some of our clues continued (ineffectively) in that vein, like: "Oh, Tony would know this, but it's what we keep on the bottom shelf in the pantry." Also with only one partner, you have no idea where their blind spots are. One of my best friends is a doctor, and knows so much about holistic health and nutrition, it's daunting, but I'm always a surprised when I discover how little he knows about things like computers or musical theory or pop culture, etc. (Sorry, that has nothing to do with the game.)
This game was going slower, but it was still a pretty even race. Heading into our final two turns, the guys were poised to win, but we hit a massive speed bump. Now, if I was Tony's wife I would have known I should have passed the first clue, right off the bat. But I was so sure it was an easy one that any second he was going to say, "Of course!" and get it right. But I wasted almost our entire turn rattling off increasingly obscure details like:
- Famous fictional London crime solver of the late 1800's
- He's always pictured smoking a pipe, wearing a deer-stalker cap.
- He worked with Scotland Yard and had an assistant/sidekick who was a Doctor.
- literary sleuth, written by Arthur Conan Doyle.
- He lived on Baker street, and was super-observant.
- His nemesis was Dr. Moriarty
- He played the violin
- His character flaw was that he was addicted to opium.
Now APPARENTLY this character is not quite the cultural icon that I thought he was. Apparently when I was a kid, I may have been a bit of a fan, and not everybody knew as much about this character as I did. But I should have realized that if Tony hadn't figured out the answer by the time I got to the name of the author, or Baker street, there was no way the violin or the opium clues were going to jog his memory. Finally, I realized that the closest guess my buddy had made so far was "Alfred Hitchcock." It was then that I knew he wasn't going to get this, and I should have passed. But it was too late. There was no way I was going to solve 2 more clues in the time that was left, so it was just as well to ride this one out. "Let's try something different. On Sesame Street there was parody character known as Hemlock." Time's up! When I revealed that it was Sherlock Holmes, Tony's wife, chimes in with, "Oh, he doesn't read mysteries." It's not like I was reciting the names of his cases (which I could have)
If you at least have 2 people guessing, you've got a much smaller chance that they both have the same VAST, GAPING, BLACK HOLE (sorry, bitterness swallowed) in their trivial knowledge. Anyhow, we finished with a net-zero points for that turn, the girls came back and passed us in their final turn, winning it by at least a 2-point margin.
So when I say it plays best with 6 or more, I guess I really mean it's easier with 6 or more. With only one person guessing, you really have to have some elite Taboo skills. But, even though I seem to get more competitive about this game than most others, it was still a lot of fun, because we were hanging out with friends (and no longer discussing the future dating lives of our 12 year old daughters!).