By Rachel Hoeing
What if you made a goal to connect more with others in 2020? Strengthen your family by having more family time? Schedule date nights to connect with your partner? Build your friendships by having get-togethers?
Today’s blog focuses on building those friendships by connecting with friends once a month for the whole year. What’s an easier way to do that than to start a Bunco group?
What’s Bunco? Well, first off … you can spell it Bunko or Bunco, but it’s basically a fast-moving dice game that involves usually 12 players. “A Bunco” is when you roll three dice and they all have the same number as your target number. There are many variations and many ways to play. I started a Bunco group in Charlotte shortly after I was married and then another after I moved to Winston- Salem almost 17 years ago! They proved to be a lot of fun, and a fabulous way for people to meet new friends and connect at least once per month.
There is no right or wrong way to get a group going, but here are the steps that worked for me:
1. Decide if you would like to have couples or just gal-pals in your group.
2. Decide when is the best day of the week for you. I would suggest something along the lines of the “first Monday of each month” or the “third Friday of each month.” 7-9pm has always been a good time frame, but do what works for you. Although you want to be considerate of others’ schedules, it usually turns into a cluster when you try to ask people what days and times work for them. Pick what works for you and roll with it. (pun intended)
3. Decide if you want your group to host a dinner, just apps, or just drinks each month.
4. Make a list of either 5 other couples or 11 individuals you would like to invite. (You will make 12 people total.) If you can only think of a few, ask each person to invite a friend. In both groups I started, I chose a mix of people: a few friends from work, a few from church, a few from the neighborhood, a few of my husbands’s friend’s wives, etc. It was a great way to introduce new people to each other.
5. Send out an email or text to the people you have on your list. (Would you believe that the first group I started I actually TYPED a letter and MAILED it to everyone??? No technology at that time! Good Lord, I’m old.) In the email or text, explain that you will be meeting once per month on the day and time you have chosen. Explain that each person in the group will only host once throughout the year. (If you choose to have couples in your group, they will need to host twice.) Let them know that on the month they host, they will be in charge of providing the dinner, apps, or drinks, depending on what you decided. Although it may seem like a lot for one night, it is so nice to only have to worry about it once per year! The other times you just show up! Also let them know that it will cost $10 per person each month to play, but they might win their money back at the end of the night!
6. You may have to ask other people if your original 12 don’t all accept the invite. Bunco isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so don’t get your feelings hurt if they decline!
7. Once you’ve got your 12, send out a Sign-Up Genius and ask each person to sign up for a month to host.
What the host will need each month:
– Dinner/drinks/apps depending on what you decide
– Three tables to sit and play. Each table will have four people sitting at a time. You can use card tables, or even ottomans and sit on the floor if needed.
– The “Bunco Bag.” If you have a tote bag to keep all of the supplies in, that works well, as it is passed to the next month’s host at the end of each Bunco night. You can also purchase a Bunco Kit online and just keep everything in the box. The bag/kit should include: 12 dice, pencils, at least three pads of paper for scoring, stickers or score cards, table markers (to note tables 1, 2 and 3), and a bell (or you can use a loud chime from your phone).
The first night might end up being a trial run as everyone learns how to play. If you know someone with a group already established, ask them if you can sub one night to get the feel of it! For our group, we served a full dinner each month, so we would usually eat and socialize for the first hour and then play Bunco for the second hour. If your Bunco night ends up being on a weekend, you can always stretch the time longer!
As I mentioned, there are many variations for play, but I liked how this website explained the rules and directions. You can use score cards to keep track of each person’s points, or use stickers by having people place a sticker on their shirt for each of their wins.
At the end of the game, tally up the points. Again, many variations as to how you can choose winners, but we liked to do this:
$110 was collected at the beginning of the night (hostess doesn’t have to pay)
$10 went to the loser (least points)
$70 went to first place (most points)
$30 went to second place
Ties can split the winnings or have a “roll off!”
You can change things up and collect only $5 per person. Or you can play for gifts instead of money. Or you can do no money at all!
Best words of advice, “Have fun!” Yes, it’s great to win the money, but it’s also so much fun to connect and build friendships. Do you have a Bunco group? Share your tips or ideas in the comments below!
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