One of the great joys of bingo is how easily you can make your own version to play at home, during journeys, or at parties. Making bingo cards is easy enough, but we’ll go through the full process below with some tips on how to make your game cards the best they can be.
We’ll also give you a couple of specific ideas of things to plan your bingo game around, if you want something different than just a set of numbers.
Making a Good Bingo Card
Before you start working on your bingo cards, think about how many players you’re making them for – you’ll need enough variety to make sure that only one person wins, or at least that only a small number of players share the prize.
It’s likely that you’re making a fairly small bingo game for your friends or family to play, so if this is the case, the next thing you need is enough card or paper to produce the right number of bingo tickets, at the right size.
Draw a grid on each card, and fill it in with numbers, pictures, or whatever words and symbols you need to use for your chosen type of bingo (more ideas below).
You might also want to cover your finished cards with sticky-back plastic, giving them a wipe-clean surface so you can mark the squares off with pen, then wipe the board and use it again.
Bingo for Journeys
Bingo is a great way to keep kids entertained during a journey – create game boards with I Spy-style items on them.
In order to win, your kids might need to spot a lorry, a bird, an aeroplane, a blue car and a horse, for instance; and you can change what they’re looking for, and how many things they need to spot, depending on the length and destination of your journey.
To keep them interested, have a prize ready for the winner, such as a small bag of sweets or other treat, but make sure you’ve got a consolation prize that’s just as good to avoid any tears from the loser!
Bingo for Grown-Ups
Playing bingo for money is a grown-up pastime anyway, but there are some other popular versions of bingo that are less formal, and can be fun for parties.
We’ll gloss over bingo as a drinking game, as most people probably prefer to tweak the rules slightly depending on how many people are at their party, and on your preferred drinks.
Alternatives, though, are often based on looking out for cliches and predictable phrases in speeches – a Best Man’s speech, the Budget speech, or the football commentary on a particular match, for instance.
These bingo cards could have spaces labelled ‘thank the bridesmaids’, ‘cutting the deficit’ or ‘a game of two halves’, and as soon as the speaker mentions them, you tick them off.
It’s a fun alternative to running a formal sweepstake, if you’re in a group of friends or colleagues who like to do that, and it keeps everyone paying attention to what’s being said.
Bingo for Education
Back to the youngsters again, and bingo doesn’t have to just be a way of keeping them quiet in the car – you can also make it a fun way to learn.
Most toy shops have some kind of toddler-aged bingo game available to help your little ones learn colours, or numbers, or shapes.
By making your own game cards, though, you can concentrate on the things your child needs to learn better, and balance them with the things they already know.
In this way, there might only be one or two squares on their bingo card that they really need to think about, which should make sure the learning element doesn’t stop the game from being fun.
Real Bingo Tickets
Finally, if you need to make some genuine bingo tickets for a game you’re hosting – perhaps as a fundraiser, or for some similar purpose – then you’ll probably want to make them as professional as possible.
Use a PC and some desktop publishing software to lay out your tickets – it’s often easiest to insert a table into a word processor document, or to use a spreadsheet program to effortlessly create a grid layout.
Give your tickets the right ranges of numbers in the right rows or columns (look up the rules of 75-ball and 90-ball bingo if you’re not sure) so nobody can complain that they had less chance of winning than anybody else.
Make sure all of the tickets are different from one another, and that the numbers they contain within each specified range are chosen at random – again, this just makes it fair for everybody who is taking part.
And last of all, print them out, check that all of the numbers are clearly visible, and if they’re printed on large sheets of paper, trim them down into individual tickets ready for your game.
Remember that it’s customary to let people buy a strip of tickets with all of the numbers from 1 to 90 on it if they want to do so – so if you’re really going for the best possible level of professionalism, you’ll want to design your cards in strips, and make sure every ball is on at least one ticket.