“A dumb party game that respects your intelligence.”

Out of all of the board games I have played in the past few years, Monikers is by far my favorite. Monikers is a great party game for adults that will definitely bring the laughter. I have once cried from laughing so hard when playing the game.

What is Monikers?

Monikers is a card game that is kind of a blend of Taboo or Catch Phrase and Charades. From the box: Monikers is for 4-16+ players aged 17+. I have always played with at least six people, and I really don’t see the game being as much fun with four. However, I do agree that this game is for adults.

How Do You Play Monikers?

With any board game, rules can be adjusted to best fit your style of play. This section summarizes the rules from the guide book.
First, you need to split your group into two teams. Each person will start with a set number of cards to choose from to build the deck. The rules suggest that the deck is 40-50 cards (with 50 being for a larger group). For example, if you have eight people playing, you might give them each ten cards to start with and tell them to pick their five favorites to build the deck. This would give you 40 cards. You must decide which team will be the starting team.
The game is played in three rounds, which end when all of the cards in the deck have been guessed correctly. In each round, one person from the starting team will try to get their teammates to guess as many cards as possible in 60 seconds. Teammates can make unlimited guesses and skipping difficult cards is allowed. The cards the team guess correctly will be put to the side and counted as points for that team after the round ends. After the 60 seconds is up, the incorrect cards get shuffled back into the deck, which gets passed to the second team. The second team now does the same thing. After the round is over, all of the cards are shuffled back together to make the same deck, and the game repeats with the next round. The team with the most amount of points at the end of Round 3 wins. Each round has its own set of rules.

The Three Rounds

  • Round 1: Any words, sounds, and gestures can be used. Saying the name of the card (or any part of the name) is not allowed. You can even completely read the clue text written on the card.
  • Round 2: You can only use one word as a clue. You can repeat that one word, but you cannot make any sounds or use any gestures. Choose the word wisely.
  • Round 3: You cannot speak at all. You must act out the card with charades. The rules say that sound effects are okay within reason.

Rules Example:

I know this might sound a little confusing, so here is an example using some cards from the game.
Round 1, Johnny is starting the game off.
Johnny pulls the “John Hancock” card: “This guy signed his name really big on the Declaration of Independence!”
Tim: “Oh! John Hancock!”
Tim got the card right, so Johnny puts it aside.
Johnny pulls the card “A Redshirt”: “The characters who die pretty quickly in Star Trek!”
Tim: “I don’t know…”
Johnny: “They are wearing a particular color of clothing.”
Jean: “Pass!”
Johnny puts the card in the incorrect pile and will shuffle it back into the deck after his turn. Johnny continues his turn until his 60 seconds is up. The next team does the same using the cards that Johnny’s team got incorrect and the cards from the deck they never touched. After the second team’s member finishes their turn, the turn goes back to the starting team, and someone besides Johnny gets to be the clue giver. This continues until all of the cards have been guessed correctly. After each turn, the deck of cards should get smaller and smaller. Sometimes you may have a few difficult cards that get passed back and forth in the later turns. You can choose to remove them from the game if you wish.


There may be difficult cards in your deck that you don’t think you will ever be able to guess. Trust me, once you repeat the card multiple times, you will eventually get it. Usually, there is one standout word you can remember. For example, there is a card in the box called “Quetzalcoatl“, which may be unfamiliar to many. The card reads: “An ancient Mesoamerican god and flying reptile whose name means ‘feathered serpent.’ It has been claimed since the 16th century that Aztec leader Montezuma II believed the appearance of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés signaled his return.” A good one-word clue for this card is “serpent”. An easy way to act it out is to act like a snake. The card may seem a bit obscure, but you can find something that people can latch onto.

Why is Monikers Only for Adults?

Some of the cards are inappropriate. Here are a few examples: “A Coke Mule,” “Pedobear,” “Cocaine Bear,” and “A Basic B*tch.” Those are inappropriate in the title and description, but there are others that seem innocent, but reference peoples’ sexual escapades and fetishes, deaths, and crimes. You may be uncomfortable letting your children read those cards. However, I believe you could easily go through all of the cards and pick out the ones you deem inappropriate for your child. I don’t know exactly how many are inappropriate and how many are not, but I believe there are probably more cards that could be used in a family-friendly game than those could not. However, some of the cards are historical, some are based on classic works, and some are based on specific events, so your child may not be familiar with those cards. We have run into several that we didn’t know in our playthroughs (“Portnoy” and “Cesar Millan” are some examples).

What Type of Cards are There?

There is a huge variety of cards encompassing figures from history, characters from popular culture, internet memes, actors, books, and more. Here is a sampling from the deck: “A Furby,” “Honey Boo Boo,” “Yoshi,” “A Muggle,” “The Kraken,” “William Shatner,” “The lady who spilled coffee on herself at McDonald’s,” “Sneezing Baby Panda,” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
You can see there are a lot of different types of cards to choose from, and the people you are playing with will be the ones choosing the cards. Your friends will most likely choose cards that know and they find funny (or cards they just really want to see someone act out).


Monikers is a great party game. The experience will be different each time you play! Even if you have played a game with a card before, someone else will describe it and act it out differently. The charades portion is my favorite. It is especially funny seeing people try to act out historical events or animals. Having the players choose the cards helps ensure a good time by weeding out the cards that are too obscure. Monikers is definitely my favorite adult board game right now, with Scrawl at a close second. Check out Monikers and let me know what you think. Remember, have fun!

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