Utter Nonsense

Accents are one of those things that have been intrinsically funny forever.  In doing a funny accent, we are simultaneously poking fun at, and celebrating, the culture of origin. The French are a much-loved target - think of Peter Sellers' character Clouseau, or the French knights in Monthy Python and the Holy Grail.  But almost any accent can be exaggerated and made funny.

Utter Nonsense is a card game in the vein of Cards Against Humanity, combining two disparate elements in a humorous way, and the person whose turn it is judges which combination is most amusing.  Here the two types of cards are 40 Accent Cards and 460 Phrase cards.  Each player gets a hand of seven Phrase cards and gets to choose the one most appropriate (or hilariously inappropriate) for the accent the Judge chose.

For me, Utter Nonsense generates more laughs than CAH because it involves a performance aspect - recalling seminal party game Curses.  The Phrases are edgy and funny but not outright horrible as in some CAH cards.  The fun comes from not only the card but from the incongruous combination of the cards and the person reading.  I find myself laughing hard pretty much the whole game. I like that the edgy humor is more understated than in CAH.  It's all fine and good to play a card that reads "Two midgets shitting into a bucket," but it's much funnier to see someone reading a phrase about sexting - in a Grandma voice.  Utter Nonsense gives everyone a chance to perform every turn, unlike CAH which has one person reading all the cards.  It's much more dynamic and inclusive to have everyone act each turn.

Players might be concerned that they "aren't good at accents" or can't do a particular accent. There's no need to worry - if you need a reminder about how a certain accent sounds, just let someone else go first.  As the game rolls along and people get warmed up, you'll find even more most reserved friends get into it if they let themselves.  The judge is supposed to award a point each time, but for my players the score didn't matter.  You might find it very hard to choose a best performance if you're in a group of very talented people.  As a variation, try giving multiple points out, or you could not bother with score at all. We also mixed things up by varying which direction the turns went in (clockwise or counter-clockwise from the judge).

Taking our turn as Nonsense Judge, we loved giving people an accent to do so much we let each judge choose from the accent deck.  One other variant could be to give each player three Accent cards at random and then on their turn let them choose which one to give everyone.

Utter Nonsense is a game that will not appeal to everyone, but it is exactly my kind of game.  I love the subtle pun in the title, I love how well-written the Phrases are, I love to see my friends doing hilarious accents.  If you like this kind of game, please pick it up. This is a game that deserves to be played by as many people as possible.

As a final note, I like how the accents in the game are regional or cultural, not racial.  They're all fun to do (some are challenging, some easy) and it's all in good fun.

You can find the game on Amazon.com or learn more at: www.utternonsensegame.com


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