Bunco 101

I know some of you are like me and have never played bunco before, so I thought I would post the rules as they are being played this weekend:

Bunco is played using three dice in multiple groups of four people each. Each game is made up of several sets of six rounds, and each round represents a different numbered “pip” on the die, starting with one and continuing sequentially to six. At the finish of the six rounds, a set is complete. Most groups play three or four sets to one game (that’s basically one full night of Bunco).

Setup

Divide your overall Bunco group into groups of four for each table. To do this, take 12 score sheets and secretly draw a star on four of them. After each person has chosen a score sheet, those with the stars sit at the head table. Decide randomly how players will sit at each table. Your partner for that round is the individual sitting across from you.

If you only have three players at a table, you can use a “ghost” player. The person without a live partner will roll for that “ghost” player and count their score as if they were an actual player. The “ghost” player moves from chair to chair like any player would. We recommend using a stuffed animal or other marker to keep track of the “ghost” player.

The table designated as the “Head” table will control the pace of the game, as explained below. While players track their cumulative team scores on their personal score sheets, each table will also need score sheets or blank sheets of paper to track team scores at that table for each round.

Game Play and Scoring

When the game begins, the key number is “one.” After each round, that key number increases by one, until “six” is reached, representing the final round. In other words, the number you’re trying to roll is the number of that round.

For each round, determine who will play first by rolling a single die. The highest roll goes first. Reroll all ties.

The beginning player at each table starts the round by trying to roll the key number with the three dice. Always take your roll using three dice. If one of the die shows the current key number, record one point for your score. If two of the dice show the current key number, record two points. If you roll three of a kind of a number that is not the current number, you score five points. When all three dice rolled are the current key number, you have rolled a BUNCO (worth 21 points). Immediately shout “BUNCO,” so everyone can hear. That’s part of the fun. In addition to recording points for any BUNCOs scored, make sure you record the number of BUNCOs rolled as well.

As long as you score on your roll, you get to keep rolling and collecting points. Once none of the dice you roll are the current number, and at least two of the dice are different, pass the turn to the player on your left.

Once a team at the head table scores 21 points (which can be reached by a BUNCO roll or other means), the round is over. Once the head table declares the end of the round, the other players currently rolling finish their turn and continue collecting points.

Between Rounds

Your individual points are added to those of your partner’s to determine the winning team at your table. Make sure to write this team total down on your own individual score sheet. Each person should mark a W or L on their score sheet to indicate whether they won or lost that round. Note: If the two teams are tied, break the tie by rolling a single die. Reroll all ties.

Head Table: The winning team stays at the table. One teammate rotates a chair to her left so the winners will separate and play on different teams for the next round. The losing team rotates down one table.

Low Table: The losing team stays at the table. One teammate rotates a chair to her left so the winners will separate and play on different teams for the next round. The winning team rotates up one table.

Middle Tables: The winning team rotates up one table, and the losing team rotates down one table. Anytime players arrive at a new middle table, one player will rotate a chair to the left to ensure that no one plays with the same team member.

Once the round advances, the key number now becomes the next sequential number (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc.).

Finale

The game ends when all sets of Bunco have been completed (usually three or four, determined beforehand). Each person then adds up his or her total wins, losses and BUNCOs from each round and writes the totals at the bottom of his/her score sheet. Prizes are awarded at this time.

Whew…

So who is going to Vegas with me next year?? 🙂

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3 Comments

  1. Some girlfriends and I have played Bunco routinely at each other’s houses. It is fun and doesn’t take any skill, and the thrill of yelling Bunco never gets old!

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