Believe it or not, bingo isn’t just the pastime of the old and bored. Whilst it certainly might have that reputation in the UK, it’s actually perfectly possible to shoehorn it into basically any activity you want. Game of Thrones bingo (if you’re obsessed with reliving disappointing moments of your life), pub bingo (if you want to chronicle every time someone spills their pint or gets rejected). The sky is really the limit as long as you’ve got a bit of card and an even smaller bit of imagination.
If you’re looking to add a bit more fun to your game nights, you can go ahead and make up a custom bingo card using an easy online tool like this. It has tons of potential uses! You can meta-game in party titles like Jackbox Party Pack if you play with the same bunch of people every time. Make a list of all the in-jokes and repeated references and turn them into a bingo card, or try and call out predictions for a Dark Souls/Binding of Isaac run. Roguelike games are full of potential for bingo – the recurring items, enemies and random nature gives you lots of ways to fill out a card.
If you’re just using the gameto spice up Discord game nights, you’re going to have to expect a fair bit of integrity from your players. I’d recommend against offering any significantly valuable rewards unless you’re absolutely sure you can verify a victory properly!
If you’re looking to set yourself new challenges or just enjoy your favourite game in a new light, bingo cards can do that too. If you want to play the real thing instead, check out this smart bingo guide. But you can make use of the same calling/ticket system to add a new layer of fun and intensity to game nights. There’s a surprisingly active bingo community on the internet who’ve provided basically everything you need to set it up for free.
Bingo supposedly has its origins in 16th century Italy, believe it or not. From there, the game spread to other parts of Europe, but the main spirit of the game – marking off called numbers on a ticket – survived to this very day. It was a pretty significant part of British culture for a long time, however, the activity is in a bit of a decline these days. The first blow dealt with the indoor smoking ban (we can’t expect the pensioners to smoke outside, after all).
The second was the rise of online gambling. The high street’s not the only thing that’s suffered from the ever-expanding power of the internet, after all. The third – and probably the final wound – to bingo halls is probably going to be the effects of the COVID pandemic, which has essentially eliminated the pastime’s primary audience. Large gatherings of elderly people were basically illegal for quite a long time!
Whether you want to play for fun or money, you can adapt bingo to suit your needs. There’s plenty of resources available freely online, and all you need is the tiniest bit of imagination to come up with a fun night for everyone involved!
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