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Official "Poetry for Neanderthals" by Exploding Kittens Rules

Poetry for Neanderthals is a family-friendly party game similar to Taboo where players earn points by getting their teammates to guess words and phrases. The catch is that the "Neanderthal Poets" are only allowed to use single syllable words. If they use any words with more than one syllable, the other team gets to bop them with a 2-foot inflatable club. The team with the most points wins!


  • Be the first team to guess the secret word or phrase on your card by giving clues using only single-syllable words.


1. Shuffle the deck and divide players into two teams.

2. Deal a card face down to each team. This is the secret word or phrase your team needs to guess.

3. Choose a starting team and designate a clue giver (one player from the starting team).


1. Giving Clues:

  • The clue giver from the starting team sets the timer (if using) for a predetermined amount of time (usually 30-60 seconds).

  • The clue giver can only use single-syllable words to describe the word or phrase on their team's card.

  • No Gestures or Sounds: They cannot use any gestures, body language, or sounds besides speech to give clues.

  • No Parts of Words: They cannot say any word, part of a word, or abbreviation that is on the card their team is trying to guess (unless someone on their team has already accidentally said it).

2. Guessing:

  • Teammates of the clue giver can shout out guesses at any time during the turn.

  • If a teammate guesses the word or phrase correctly before the timer runs out, their team scores a point!

3. Breaking the Rules:

  • If the clue giver uses a word with more than one syllable, the opposing team gets to bop them gently with the inflatable club (if using) and the turn ends.

4. New Round:

  • After a successful guess or a rule-break, the round ends.

  • Reset the timer (if using).

  • The opposing team chooses their clue giver and draws a new card (they keep their score from the previous round).

  • Play continues until a team reaches a predetermined number of points (e.g., 5 points).

Winning the Game

  • The first team to reach the designated number of points wins the game!


  • Think creatively: Use single-syllable words that describe actions, objects, or feelings related to the secret word or phrase.

  • Be specific: The more specific your clues, the easier it will be for your team to guess.

  • Listen closely: Teammates can help each other by suggesting single-syllable words that might be clues.

  • Have fun! Don't take the "bopping" (if using) too seriously. It's all part of the lighthearted competition.

Poetry for Neanderthals is a fun and challenging game that tests your vocabulary and communication skills. So gather your friends, unleash your inner cave dweller vocabulary, and get ready for some silly single-syllable shenanigans!

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