I’d been in Colorado just a few months before I was invited to sub for a bunco group. I had no idea what bunco was but since I was new to the area and looking to make friends, I went along. It was so much fun – some wine, laughter, friendship, chatter. Now I’m a regular player – usually the only reason why I have to miss a bunco night is that one of my children has a school concert or sports event.
Nancy – since she formed our group – is our leader. She was introduced to the game in Bedford, New Hampshire. “I really enjoyed having the opportunity for just the ladies night out,” she said during a break at our last bunco evening. “It gave us a great opportunity to get together and swap stories.”
“We talk about our kids, we talk about our husbands, yes we talk about husbands,” Lorri, another member of our group, laughed. “That’s the best time to talk about your husbands because everybody’s pissed at them once in a while.”
The conversation is wide and varied – sometimes fun, sometimes more serious. Just the other month, another member of our group shared with me how she had handled alcohol use when her son was in high school. That was a very valuable dialogue – I haven’t had to deal with that yet but I’m sure I will and the more I can talk to parents who have been through it, the better prepared I’ll be.
If I’m keeping score then I do find it hard to talk and play at the same time – that’s a little strange really since I always describe bunco to newcomers as a game that requires no skill. Lorri says it even better.
“The beautiful thing about bunco is that you don’t have to think. It’s the easiest game ever to play because you don’t really need to learn. You just sit down and your friends will help you. Easy.”
The rules do vary a little from group to group and it’s always fun to hear what other groups are doing. I think pretty much everyone gives prizes. In my group we each contribute $5 a night to the prizes and we give a prize for the most buncos, the most wins, the most naturals, middle of the road and then there is the biggest loser prize but that isn’t as bad as it sounds.
“It means they’re a winner,” Lorri said. “They had the most losses but they still win something which is fabulous. It never happens. Go to Las Vegas, doesn’t happen.”
Since there are 12 players and we only give out five prizes it does mean there are some nights when you don’t get a prize but that’s not we’re there for. At our last evening, Amanda threw a bunco and to wild screams and yells announced it was a second bunco in three years of playing.
“I’ve never had a bad bunco night, even going home and not winning a prize,” Amanda said. “Just paying five dollars to be there – it is so much fun.”
Our group is in its third year and we’ve seen a few changes – a lot around the transitions that children go through as they grow up – moving from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school and we’ve had a few divorces, mine being one of them. And when I graduated college with my masters, they surprised me with a huge bouquet of flowers.
Bunco has a reputation for creating community, neighborhood and friendships and with that reputation it was no surprise to discover a novel due to be published in May by Berkley Publishing: Bunco Babes Tell All by Maria Geraci. She even has a sequel due out in November – Bunco Babes Gone Wild. Sounds like a fun read but I’ll say this now, in case my bunco buddies are reading this …. my lips are sealed.
If I’ve got you curious about this intriguing dice game, you can leave me a comment – I’m happy to share our rules, scorecard and prizes with you. You could get the “official rules” from the World Bunco Association They’re looking for volunteers for state and regional directors.
Already playing bunco? Tell us about your group? Where are you? How long have you been playing? What makes your bunco group special?