The goal of this junior version of a popular board game is to get players' teammates to guess a mystery word without using a list of "taboo" descriptors. Sounds easy enough, but how exactly can you describe "donut" without using the words "round", "hole", or "sweet"? Kids need to stretch their brains in order to come up with clever ways to describe words, and watch what they say at the same time.
Taboo Junior can be wildly fun and stimulating for children approximately 8 years and older. At the same time, kids improve their vocabulary and learn to articulate themselves more effectively. The set differs a little from its "parent" version with some kid-friendly elements like a board game instead of a scorepad, a squeaker in place of a battery-operated buzzer, and easier mystery words and taboo words. Players need to divide themselves into two teams and choose a colored pawn for each team. One member of a team examines the card in the dispenser for a mystery word and a list of descriptors they are not allowed to use. (Rhyming words, abbreviations, initials, and root words are universal taboo words). At the same time, they need to shield the word from their teammates. Members of the opposing team need to see the card, and that is where the "squeaker" comes inopponents can press the squeaker if they catch players using any taboo words so that they don't gain a point for that card. Each correctly answered card earns a point for the team, which translates to moving a pawn one space forward on a game board. The team that gets to the finish line first wins.
Although the set includes 215 double-sided cards, kids can go through the cards rather quickly. The limited number of cards and the minimum requirement of 4 players makes the game better for party and group situations or as a relatively infrequent family game. Teams that contain members who know each other well will definitely have an advantage, so attention to how children are divided will impact the overall sense of whether or not the game is "fair". Children who are quick-witted and articulate also have an advantage, but one of the best parts of the game is that it encourages players to articulate themselves in more effective ways. For example, some players might be stumped for some time over how to get their teammates to guess the word "clock" without using the words "time", "numbers", or "hours". Another player might quickly say, "You look at this when you are concerned about whether or not you've missed a television show" and "It's on the wall". All in all, this game is enjoyable and creative for groups of children looking for something different to do, and it's a nice game to add to a family collection.