Updated: Dec 4, 2019
Designed by Graeme Fraser-Bell, Accentuate is a charades-style party game. The rules suggest the game is for 4–12 players but numbers really are completely flexible: you can play with no set upper limit on numbers and, with a minor tweak to the rules, you can have fun playing a version of the game with three or even just two players.
Sticking to the official rules, players divvy themselves into teams. The idea is that players will draw a movie quote card and an accent card. The player drawing the card has to deliver the quote in the assigned accent; his team members have to guess the accent, the movie and, for a bonus point, the date of the film.
A custom six-sided die is rolled. This determines whether guesses are limited to the player’s own team, opened up to all players or whether the player gets to swap accent cards or pass his cards onto another member of his team. The game comes down, however, to putting on a funny accent to deliver a movie quote.
It doesn’t sound like much but it turns out to be a fun and lively party game. Most of us think we recognise regional and national accents when we hear them but few of us can replicate them competently, especially against the pressure of a 30-second sand timer. No-one hearing a native of Wales would for a moment confuse them with the accent of someone hailing from Pakistan but you’ll find people’s attempts to perform these accents make them surprisingly indistinguishable.
Any game involving replicating accents is bound to walk a delicate line between entertainment and offence. Happily, this edition of Accentuate avoids most of the pitfalls. It helps that it throws in some non-national non-regional accents; for example, ‘Terminator’. The movie element also adds to the fun, although the scoring seemed to some of us to be disproportionate: players only get 2 points for correctly identifying the movie and a mere 1 point for getting the year of the movie’s release. These points are dwarfed by the rewards for correctly guessing the accent. That reflects, of course, the name of the game, but if you want to play up the movie content it would be no sweat to house rule a doubling of the rewards for getting the movie and year.
We had a bigger gripe over the seemingly arbitrary points values given to some of the accent cards. Each of these cards specifies the number of points it’s worth but we found it hard to justify these relative values. For example, the game awards 5 points for identifiably carrying off a New Zealand accent; 8 points for a (to us rather more recognisable) South African accent and an incredibly bountiful 9 points for a Schwarzenegger 'Terminator' or a 'Dracula' accent. Awarding 6 points for a 'Pirate' accent seemed exceptionally generous.
If you're from outside the UK, you may even struggle to discern what accents some of the cards are referring to. Non-Brits who have learnt that 'Brummie' means from Birmingham and that 'Scouse' means from Liverpool will be disappointed to find these accents are worth only 3 and 2 points respectively. If you find the accent points allocation as arbitrary or perverse as we did, you may prefer to house rule that all the accents are worth the same amount. At Board's Eye View, we enjoyed the game most when we chose to allocate a standard 4 points to all accent cards, 2 points for a correctly identified movie and 2 points for getting the year right.