eTABU

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
eTABU App Poster Image
Fun adaptation of vocab-building board game; lots of ads.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can practice vocabulary building, thinking quickly under time pressure, working as a team, and making educated guesses. Because this app includes keywords in 10 languages, it may be useful as a way to practice vocabulary while learning a second language.

Ease of Play

Simple gameplay, clear instructions, customizable settings.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism

Pop-up ads and small banner ads during gameplay, as well as at the end of rounds, unless ads are eliminated via $0.99 in-app purchase. Watch optional video ads for more keywords. No parent gate on purchases.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that eTABU is a party game for four or more players, based on (but not affiliated with) the board game Taboo. The free version includes 2,000 words in 10 languages, but thousands more keywords are available via in-app purchase. Players split into two teams, and members of one team set about explaining/guessing each keyword that appears on the screen without using the "forbidden" words. Some keywords and phrases -- such as "breathalyzer," "grim reaper," and "John F. Kennedy Jr." -- are not necessarily inappropriate, but they may not be known by or relevant to younger players, making the game less fun for them or requiring many "skipped" word turns. Small banner ads continuously appear throughout the game unless players eliminate them via in-app purchase. Read the app's bare-bones privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared. 

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What's it about?

First, ETABU asks if you know the rules of the game. Tap New Game and select keyword language, team colors, round time, score target, and the limit of "skips" teams can take. Choose the person who will describe the keyword and the person on the other team who will "verify" any forbidden words or other broken rules. Tap Start on the team color that appears, and one person on that team begins describing as others try guessing the first keyword. The "verifier" on the other team taps the check to award a point for a correct answer, the X for a forbidden word or broken rule, or the arrow key to skip a word. When the gong signals the end of the turn, the teams switch roles. The first team to reach the designated number of correct keywords wins. After the game, players can review keywords and the time it took to guess them on the game statistics page.

Is it any good?

This game is fun, challenging, and group-friendly, but the ads can be distracting. eTABU can help kids practice team-building, making educated guesses, and thinking under time pressure. This app may also be a fun way to build vocabulary in a second language, as the words included come in 10 languages. It doesn't take many rounds before the free keywords are used, especially if you're only using one language, so if you love this game, you'll eventually need to buy the premium package of thousands more keywords. Players can also get new keywords by watching optional video ads. Because the ads ultimately will be frustrating, it'll likely be worth paying to opt out if you plan to use the app regularly. Also, it would be great to have targeted card packs so there are options for younger kids to get involved.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the vocabulary in eTABU. Why is it important to know a lot of words? What are some ways, other than playing this app, you can expand your vocabulary?

  • Talk about being a team player. In this game, everyone on a team wins or loses together. Whether your kid is the person describing the keyword or trying to guess it, each player's role is important.

  • Review the game statistics to find out which words took the longest to guess and which ones your team guessed quickly. What seems to determine how long it takes to guess words?

App details

For kids who love word and board games

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