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Text of Lisa’s email and response from Hasbro is below.
Subject: Determination needed on Taboo rule re: ‘form or part of a word’
Hi Customer Service Team!
During a recent game of Taboo, the game dissolved into chaos due to different interpretations of this rule:
“No form or part of ANY word printed on the card may be given as a clue. Examples: If the Guess Word is PAYMENT, “pay” cannot be given as a clue. If DRINK is a TABOO word, “drunk” cannot be give as a clue. If SPACESHIP is the Guess Word, you can’t use “space” or “ship” as a clue.”
The quarrel is over what counts as a ‘form’ or ‘part’ of a word. In this specific instance, the Guess Word on the card drawn was PEN. The Clue-giver used the word PENCIL, which was not one of the TABOO words on the card.
The opposing team immediately declared it a taboo, arguing that the word ‘PEN’ is part of the word ‘PENCIL’.
The other team argued that the word PEN does not appear in PENCIL, but that the letter sequence P-E-N happens to repeat. The words ‘pen’ and ‘pencil’ are not etymologically related, since they derive from two different Latin root words. The opposing team was asked if they would have called taboo if the word OPEN was used by the clue giver, which also contains the letter sequence P-E-N. This team argued that it would not be a taboo if the Clue-Giver said the word AND in a case where the Guess Word was CANDLE or ANDROID.
The opposing team came back and said that PEN and PENCIL are associationally related, so the examples given above don’t count.
Who is correct?
I look forward to your response.
Response By Email (Mike) (05/18/2015 02:42 PM)
Thank you for contacting Hasbro regarding Taboo.
I’m pleased to reply. The second team, who were relying on the etymological reasoning, is correct.
Again, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to reach out to us.
I hope you have a fun day!
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