Wednesday, November 12, 2014

How to Host a Bunco Party

I love a good theme party.
I'm also really big on parties that get people to interact and mingle. So naturally I was thrilled when my friend Amanda asked me to join her quarterly Bunco group!
The group consists of 12 ladies who get together four times a year for dinner, drinks, and an evening of energetic dice tossing. Each quarter three ladies from the group team up to host Bunco Night, and this time around it was my turn to co-host, along with Amanda and Alissa.
The night was a wild success!

Continue reading to learn how you can host your own super duper fun Bunco Party...

Make sure you have a full team roster by sending out your invite well in advance (we just use Evite).
The invite should contain all of the important event information like date, time and location. It should also include the dinner menu and a reminder to bring cash if your group has a buy-in requirement (ours is $10).
Send out your invite at least a few weeks in advance so you can track responses, follow up on late RSVPs, and track down substitute players as needed. It's important to have a full roster! Playing with a "ghost" is possible, but not ideal...

A few days before Bunco Night, finalize your menu, divvy things up between your co-hosts, and shop for ingredients. Our list included:
Red and white wine
Non-alcoholic beverage options
Light appetizers
Ingredients for a taco bar including a variety of toppings
Snacks for Bunco tables -- two per table (one candy and one "healthier" option)
Lucky for us, we were hosting shortly after Halloween, so we had lots of leftover fun-sized candy for the tables!

Don't forget to find yourself some super awesome co-hosts!

Some yummy light appetizers are great to have out while you're waiting for all the players to arrive.

And it wouldn't be Bunco Night without some vino...

A taco bar is a nice healthy, light meal that easily accommodates most dietary restrictions.

// PRIZES //
You also need to plan for prizes. Of course winning part of the cash pot is the ultimate goal, but there's also the opportunity to win other prizes, which the hosts supply:
Bunco Prize -- A $25 gift card to Nordstrom, Starbucks, or similar
Funco Prize -- A joke/White Elephant prize (can be a re-gift, or something from around the house)
Make sure you have the rest of your supplies ready before your guests arrive. Our group rotates a "Bunco Bag" from host to host, and it includes everything needed to actually play the game:
9 dice (three for each table)
Table signs (with directions for each round)
Note pads & pens (2 each per table for keeping score)
Score cards
Bell for head table
Necklaces for Bunco winners
Directions for determining winners
As far as setting up for the party, if you're playing with 12 people you'll need to have three tables with seating for four people at each table. Each table gets snack bowls, three dice, two note pads, two pens, and a sign that has directions for what happens at the end of each round.
Greet your guests at the door and make introductions. Because subs are common, it's likely that not everyone will know each other. Offer drinks and invite everyone to help themselves to dinner. Then try to make sure the game starts on time so the evening doesn't drag on too long (it's a fun evening, but usually done on a weeknight and we've all got to work!)

Bunco is an extremely fast-paced, high energy game. There are six rounds, progressing in order from one to six, where the number of the round serves as the target for that round's rolls. Teaming with a partner, during each round players alternate turns rolling three dice, aiming to obtain the target number. Players gain one point for each die matching the target. If the player gets three-of-a-kind of the target number (a Bunco), they get 21 points and the luxury of wearing the Bunco necklace. If the player rolls a 1-2-3, all their points are erased and they must start from scratch. If the player rolls three of a kind but not the target number (a Funco) they get five extra points. The round stops when a player at the head table obtains 21 points. Whoever wins the most rounds is the overall winner.

In our group, several prize opportunities are available:
First Place -- $50 Cash
Second Place -- $30 Cash
Third Place -- $20 Cash
Last Place / "Biggest Loser" -- $10 Cash
Funco Winner -- Joke Gift
Bunco Winner -- $25 Gift Card
Most 1-2-3s Rolled -- $10 Cash
Unfortunately I didn't come out on top this time around, and only ended up taking home the tacky Funco prize (thanks again for that, Amanda). But it was a fantastic night nonetheless! Hosting this quarter's event with two of my favorite gals was also a blast, and I'm looking forward to next time!

May the odds be ever in my favor...
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  1. Oh my gosh this sounds like so much fun! I've always wanted to play Bunco! Put me on your sub list!!!!!!!

  2. I'm totally confused, but it sounds like fun! lol

  3. Bunco is fun-co! :) I thought that would be funnier, but it kinda flopped. Oh well. If you need another sub, be sure to let me know! I had a lot of fun.

  4. That looks like a lot of fun, even for folks who aren't good at Bunco! I mean, food, drinks, and prizes? Win all around!

  5. so much fun!! if only I had a good group to do this with.


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