December is BINGO month and, as the resident BINGO-enthused Variant, I cannot let this special time of year pass by without sharing some fun tidbits about this classic gambling game.

The stigma around BINGO is that it is an old person’s game, but I would like to challenge that stereotype. I believe that BINGO is fun and can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages.

Kids love BINGO

My affinity for the game BINGO started when I was about 6 years old. I was vacationing with my parents at a campground and was very excited to play Candy Bar BINGO, which was put on by the recreation department. The cost of entry was 1 candy bar and there were several games played, meaning there were several winners. I won the cover-all, which was like 6 candy bars and I. Was. Hooked.

Candy Bar BINGO is one example of a way to make the game more exciting for kids (although I would still totally play as an adult, just saying).  BINGO involves numbers, listening and patterns, so it is both fun and educational. Prizes do not need to. be food-related either; stickers make a wonderful and inexpensive BINGO prize!

Playing BINGO as a kid also does not need to be so formal. The game ZINGO brings all the fun or BINGO into a fun and easy board game as well.

Elements of BINGO

There are various elements. of BINGO that can be mixed-and-matched depending on what kind of game you want to play. This can apply to a backyard game, to a community BINGO hall or even a casino. (I have been known to frequent the BINGO games at Foxwoods Casino in CT and recommend giving it a shot if you are in that area.)

The basics of BINGO are all you need for a casual or quick game. You need some type of cards and/or markers for participants to keep track on, some way of randomly drawing the numbers to announce. Whether you are having a fundraiser, playing a party game or betting for high-stakes at the casino, these are the building blocks for BINGO.

There are also various patterns that can be leveraged for games. The standard is a straight-lined BINGO, where your winner would bet he first person to get five boxes in a row in any direction on the card. To kick it up. a notch, there are lots of other patterns that can be used; four-corners, larger picture frame, small picture frame, an X, an N, and coverall to name a few. 

Speed of the game is another way to increase the fun or intensity level. When I played at the casino, there was an option to buy small BINGO cards for the intermissions in between the games. These were mini games with no letters called, just numbers, in rapid succession. Focus and concentration was required and it got my adrenaline pumping. The speed at which you call or repeat the numbers can drastically alter the game play.

The Fun of BINGO Calling

BINGO calling, in my opinion, is an art form. The caller is what makes the difference between a fun, frustrating, or boring game. 

I have participated in BINGO games where the caller is difficult to understand or monotone that seem to drag on forever. I have also participated in games on cruise ships where the callers have been witty MCs of the event and enjoyed myself immensely. If you are considering being a caller for an event and want a little inspiration, I highly recommend looking up BINGO call rhymes on the internet. There are lots of variations to choose from and it is sure to keep your audience entertained. 

At this point you may or may not be a BINGO enthusiast like myself, but I hope that. you at least have a little more appreciation for this versatile game. Happy BINGO month!

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