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Bunco: A Fun, Cheap, and Social Date Night
Date night. You know you should have one. Planning it can be daunting.
Let’s get a date night scheduled once a month that you host at your house only twice a year.
Couple’s Bunco is a great way to have a date night that is regularly scheduled, lots of fun, an opportunity to be social with friends and allow you to have a fabulous date night with very little expense!
How do you play Bunco?
Chances are good that you have heard of Bunco. However, if you have never played, you will need a quick rundown of the game.
- Bunco is a dice game of luck, absolutely no strategy or skill is needed.
- Bunco requires very little concentration. This allows for conversation and social interaction during game play.
- You need 12 players, or 6 couples.
- The ideal setting is 3 card tables. Partners sit across from each other.
- Each table has 3 dice, a score pad and a pen that stays at the table.
- Each player carries with them a tally sheet and pen/pencil.
- The head table rings a bell to announce the start of a round. Each round is marked by a number, starting with “one” and when the group is done with round six, that set is done.
- Determine before you create the score pads how many sets you will play, each and every Bunco. We play 4 sets.
- 6 Rounds
- Wins and loses
- Total Wins and loses
- Total Buncos
- Total Baby Buncos
- The “team” (partners) that lose at the head table move to the lowest table. The people who win at the head table stay at the head table HOWEVER, one of them needs to move seats, they cannot be partners next round. Everyone else, whoever wins they move up, whoever loses stays at their table. Again, they need to shuffle seats, so they are not partnered with the same partner as the last roll.
- How to determine the winning partner: The head table determines start and stop of the round. Let’s say we are on “two’s.” The bell is rung. One of the partner sets at the head table needs to get 21 points. When this happens, the bell is rung again and that round is over.
- If the head table gets a Bunco before everyone at the other tables has had a chance to roll, each person at every table gets a chance to roll, then the scores are tabulated.
Let’s go back to Round 2.
A person rolls all three dice. If no 2’s are rolled, the dice are given to the next person-no points.
If any 2’s are rolled, a point is given for each 2 and that person gets to roll all three dice again, until there are no points in the roll.
If a person rolls all three dice and they are all 2’s, this is a Bunco. At the head table, this is an automatic end of the round. Bunco’s are scored 21 points.
The other scoring roll is if a person rolls a “Bunco” but not on the number of that round. For example, we are on Round 2. You need to roll 2’s. If, however, you roll three 5’s, we call it a “Baby Bunco” and you get 5 points.
There is a scorekeeper at each table that keeps track of the points for each team.
At the end of the round, each person puts on their score sheet if they won or lost that round. Also, keep track of your own Bunco’s on your tally sheet.
Why should couples play Bunco?
You have heard of Bunco night, but it is always in reference to the gals getting together, right?
Why should you bring the guys to the game?
I was first introduced to Bunco as a substitute and then I organized a Couple’s Bunco.
It went on for five years! Many who played at our Couple’s Bunco had never played Bunco before, but they loved it.
- Bunco is easy to learn and no strategy is needed. No one has to be really smart, talented or skilled to play, this puts everyone on an “even” playing field.
- Bunco is very social. Players can talk and get connected with everyone.
- Bunco is fast moving. While players get to talk with everyone, if you have someone in your group who is not very good at small talk or does not enjoy these kind of interactions (husbands, I am throwing a lot of you under the bus), because of the way the game is structured, no one really notices if your honey is not a “talker.”
- Bunco is easy to prepare and set up. If you are hosting, you simply need to clear room for two card tables. We use our dining room table as the head table. If you do not have two card tables, someone in the group usually does, have people bring their tables and chairs.
- Bunco is fairly chill. You will always have those people who are really competitive. Bunco can meet the demands of a competitive person. However, there is no strategy. The game is entirely based on luck. It is a fairly relaxed game that allows couples to simply enjoy adult time with others.
Bunco can be (and usually is) played with a money “buy in.” This makes it more fun to be the person with the most Bunco’s at the end of the game or the one with the most wins. Many groups have altered the way they disperse the money. The easiest way to do this is to charge each person $5. So, you have $60 in the “pot.” At the end of the game, half goes to the person with the most wins and half goes to the person with the most Bunco’s.
Your group can determine overall how to handle ties: roll off or split. Or the winners can determine at the time of each game.
Our group was ready for some “heavy gambling” after a night of Couple’s Bunco. We introduced Left, Right, Center. We usually played 5 rounds, each round we put in one dollar. These felt like they were high stakes, yet each “pot” was only worth $12. The anticipation, elation, or agony if that LRC landed on you in a certain way was a lot of fun. Once we started LRC, our group thought this was a normal part of Couple’s Bunco night.
We also made the night a potluck. The host declares a theme for the night. Everyone then says what they will bring according to that theme. The host is responsible for the main dish, drinks, although many brought mini coolers filled with extra alcohol due to the expense, and utensils and plates.
- Create a substitute list. Have each couple think of people they may know who may not be able to commit to a monthly bunco night, but may be interested. Have those couples get in touch with their people, explain how the group works and see if these people would be interested in being on the substitute list.
- It is hard to get 12 people in one place every single month. Even when you all know the dates a year in advance. Kids get sick, work gets crazy, life just happens. It is the responsibility of the people who will not be able to attend to get a couple to take their place. Creating a substitute list, of people who know to show up, with food, if your group does this, and money, again if your group does this that the group knows is helpful. The host is never responsible for filling spots.
- Send out a group email. Couple’s Bunco will be a highlight of your month. You will all love it, talk about, and look forward to it. However, you may not remember it. The host needs to send out a group email, at least two weeks before the date, reminding everyone of the date and time. Also, the host will want to give directions to their home and any needed instructions. For example, I have a very small driveway. I recommended as many of them carpool as possible. If you are all having a potluck, the host will announce at this time what the theme is and ask that everyone do a “group reply” with what they will be bringing.
- Make a Bunco caddy. Get a plastic container that will house all of the dice, pens, the bell, the tally sheets, and the score sheets. Have this travel with whomever will host Bunco the following month. This makes preparation and setting up a breeze! All the host needs to do is set up the tables, open up the caddy, and put the supplies out on the tables.
True confessions, at first some of our husbands were hesitant. However, once we started Couple’s Bunco night, it was a date night we all looked forward to. We were able to have a monthly date scheduled, we had dinner with friends, we laughed and socialized, and it was very cheap. This date checked all of our proverbial “boxes” and we found that the six couples involved grew closer over those five years.