Unless you’ve been living in South Dakota for the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard of a card game known as “Cards Against Humanity.”
On second thought, even if you have been living in South Dakota, you still should have heard about the game, because it’s literally everywhere on the internet.
But to catch you up, it is – in its rudimentary form – a corrupted version of the children’s game “Apples to Apples,” a pairing of random noun cards with adjective cards in the most ridiculous way possible. Make the judge laugh, and you win.
But we’re not here to talk about Cards Against Humanity (CAH)—that’s old news. We’re here to talk about its newest and greatest competitor.
“Utter Nonsense” is the creation of two Chicagoans and University of Illinois graduates Tim Swindle and Dave Mazurek. With their friendship dating back to 1998, the two were contemplating grad school when they instead decided to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and go into business together.
Their business idea didn’t come in the form of a mobile app or digital startup, but instead from a game of their own devising – one they had been playing with friends and family at parties and lake houses for years. Seeing how contagiously fun the game was, they decided to take their concept to the masses and put up an account on Kickstarter.
The internet responded and in August of 2014, their Kickstarter campaign successfully launched the product into the market. Thus, Chicago Magazine’s “next mega-hit party game” was born.
So what is the game exactly, besides something involving cards?
In a similar format to CAH, the game involves players taking turns being the judge while other players compete to be chosen by said judge. However, instead of the cards being nouns and phrases being played to answer questions or complete statements, “Utter Nonsense” adds a complete new element to the card game spectrum: accents.
The game consists of 40 Accent Cards and 460 Phrase Cards.
In every given round, the judge draws an accent card from the deck, accents ranging from “redneck” to “robot.” Players then choose one of the Phrase Cards from their hand that they feel pairs well with the accent of the round—or doesn’t pair well.
See that’s where the Utter Nonsense part comes in; playing ridiculous combinations of phrases to accents. Sure, when the Judge draws a Grandma accent it might make sense to play the phrase card starting with, “Back in my day…” but it also might be funnier if Grandma were to say, “Hey Tommy, your girlfriend is wicked hot but she smells like the Green Line.”
The accents are what make the game more dimensional, adding a whole new element to the format of play. But it’s more than just the accents that make it fun, it’s the ability to elaborate on them.
Even if you’re not a trained thespian or really great at accents, adding gestures, personal touches, and an overall character to the accent makes the game take on a life of its own. Plus, a few libations during this game can turn the most mild-mannered players into hilarious improv masters.
The game stays true to its Chicago roots as well—referencing Wrigley Field, the Green Line, and even featuring a Chicago accent card that almost always results in Bears Superfan antics that verge on the hysterical. The creators/founders even paired up with Chicago’s resident comedy source, the Second City, to do a few live play-throughs of the game, meaning that if professional comedians find this game hilarious, you will too.
In addition to encouraging players to go off cue-card with their phrases, the game includes another element of customizability with blank phrase and accent cards, allowing you to get creative with the game on your own terms.
While the phrases are completely up to you, some of our favorite custom accents so far include Kim Kardashian, Christopher Walken, and Bane (try to keep your shit together when you hear Tom Hardy’s Bane proclaim, “I’m super jelly Trish found out she has Celiac’s disease. Like, Hello Medical Diet!”).
So if you’re looking to find a new way to survive the last few dismal weeks of winter in Chiberia, look no further than Utter Nonsense – available at www.utternonsensegame.com or at select retailers including Amazon and Marbles: The Brain Store.