Sunday, January 04, 2009


My sister Inklings already posted about this, but I wanted to post about it to have a place to keep the rules so I wouldn't forget. :)

Every year in my parents' town, everyone comes together on New Year's Day to play Bunco. People even drive from other towns to come play. I took my children, who for the most part enjoyed it. My daughter thought it was "vacation hell" to have to play, and eventually dropped out of the game to just film the experience. But I enjoy it and had fun.

The game is played with teams of two. Each table has two teams. There is a "head table", that controls the game play. The head table rolls a die and tells everyone the number that comes up. That is the number that everyone is rolling for. Everyone begins rolling dice and adding up points. When one of the teams at the head table gets 21 points, they yell out "Bunco" and all play stops. Whichever team has more points when the head table calls Bunco, wins the round and advances to the next table. Winning players continue to advance and have the chance to rotate to the head table. Each time a round ends, players switch teams so that you don't have the same partner twice in a row.

Scoring is as follows:
one die of the target number gets 1 point
two dice of the target number get 5 points
all three dice of the target number get 15 points
all three dice of the same number (not the target number) get 5 points. For example, if we are rolling for threes, and I roll three 5's, I get 5 points.

Each person has a card. At the end of the round, the winning players get a punch on their card. At the end of the evening, the player with the most punches wins a prize. Sometimes they also give a prize to the player with the fewest punches. My oldest son won the "most wins by a male" prize. :)

Some other variations: Instead of having someone go around and punch cards, you can have each player keep record of their wins. You have to trust your players though. ;) Instead of having the head table roll for a target number, some friends of mine who play just start with 1 and work their way up to 6. Instead of punches, they have a chart on the card that has a box for each number of the dice, and you mark in the appropriate columnn when you win. They also have players record if they got three of the same target number, and give a prize to the person who got the most.

This is an exciting game, but I think it is more fun if you know your players well.

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