Today we review Utter Nonsense, a party game of accents and silliness. Designed for 4-20 players (hellooo party game) and played out in about 30 minutes (or more, if you have, like, 20 players), Utter Nonsense is as much a game of improv acting as it is anything else, bringing together straightforward gameplay, ridiculous phrases, and random accents.
The rules for Utter Nonsense are sublimely simple (this is a natural prerequisite for a good party game, since you are likely to be playing with non-gamers and/or intoxicated relatives). One player per round is the Nonsense Judge and will draw an Accent card for the round. Every other player will then select a card from their hand of Phrases to be read in that round’s accent.
After everyone has read, it is up to the Nonsense Judge to decide who embraced the accent best (or funniest, or whatever) and awards that player a point. First player to five points wins!
Utter Nonsense boasts 500 cards between the Accent and Phrase cards, which is a solid little brick of absurdity. The 45 Accent cards run the gamut, from chuckle-worthy (Whisper, Pirate) to the hilarious (Mime, Giving Birth), as well as the perfectly predictable array of ethnicities.
On the downside, even though 45 is a big number, it won’t be long before you feel like you’ve heard most of them before, and once you see your friends stumble through their best Drag Queen accent for the third time, you’ll start to wish there were twice as many Accents to choose from.
Your level of political correctness may be tested as your friends try to do their best Jewish or Asian accent, but hey, it’s on you to be as offensive/inoffensive as you care to be in how you go about speaking your Phrases.
Speaking of speaking –
Ahem. Speaking of speaking, the other 455 cards in Utter Nonsense are the phrases which we will be saying in the accent chosen by the Nonsense Judge at the start of the round. Much like the Accents themselves, the Phrases are all over the place, humor-wise.
Some of them made us chuckle, in the eye-roll, dad-joke way…
Some of them were on the offensive side…
And some of them put us right on the floor.
And that, right there, is at the heart of your Utter Nonsense experience. What the game provides you is a vehicle for humor, but it is up to you and your crew to bring it to life. The game absolutely shines when everyone is into it and enthusiastically acting out their Accent/Phrase combinations, but it predictably dims when people aren’t excited or emotive. That’s pretty typical of ‘party’ style games, and Utter Nonsense is no exception to the rule.
However, unlike Cards Against Humanity or (ugh) Never Have I Ever, what Utter Nonsense brings to the table is more of a sense of playfulness. Some of the legitimate criticism that can be thrown at Cards Against Humanity (aside from its frequently offensive subject-matter) is that it is sort of ‘Lego humor’; Cards gives you bits and pieces of jokes, and you cobble them together as best you can (not that it stops us from loving that game, mind you).
Utter Nonsense delivers a unique experience by making delivery and performance into the mix. Sure, some of the Accents and Phrases are funny, but what really brings them to life is watching your friends struggle to stay in character as they deliver absurd combinations beyond their acting abilities.
Assuming you aren’t easily offended by some racism/sexism/absurdism, a lot of the Phrase cards will be funny, especially when paired with the right (or incredibly wrong) Accent. And since it really is a game about goofing around together, the more fun you have reading your Phrases, the more funny you are likely to be and the better the game will be for all involved.
Granted, Utter Nonsense won’t be for everyone. It is frequently downright juvenile in its humor, with tons of sex jokes and insults, but since they aren’t particularly directed at any of the players, they simply aren’t as demeaning as they could be (with a few exceptions, but not enough to swing the game into a negative light). It’s very adult (18+, please) and chock full of references that will have you reaching for Urban Dictionary to try and parse, though that affords you the chance to play the unofficial game of ‘making fun of your friends for not getting obtuse sexual references’, which is always a good time.
As party games go, Utter Nonsense will be the absolute perfect fit for a roomful of extroverts. But it also has the potential to bring out a little silliness in more up-tight folks, just so long as they aren’t offended by the source material. It’s silly, it’s light, and its perfectly accessible for groups big and small.
If you think Utter Nonsense’s brand of humor would be a good fit for your group, then you can snag a copy right here!
(Utter Nonsense was sent to us for review by the good folks at Utter Nonsense, who had the extremely good foresight to name their game after their company. To insinuate that their generosity affected our review would be Utter Nonse-you know what, you deserve better than that, I’m not even finishing that sentence.)