There are many questions about this popular game: When was bingo invented? Who invented bingo? How does bingo work? In this guide on how to play bingo, we’re answering them all and also teaching you how to make a bingo game yourself.
- When Was Bingo Invented: A Brief History
- How to Play Bingo: Rules and Variations
- How to Make a Bingo Game: Tips and Tricks
- How Does Bingo Work? FAQs
When was Bingo Invented: A Brief History
The game appeared in Italy around the middle of the 16th century – at least, this is the most widely accepted theory. The game is basically a lottery, which was so popular and loved in Italy that it caught the attention of the French who, in their turn, brought it to Britain. There, the lottery continued developing, and in the 18th century, it moved to the US and other countries too.
The original appearance of the bingo cards and the rules on how to play bingo game were actually developed by the French. They loved the game so much that at the end of the 18th century Le Lotto (the name that was used at the time) was far more popular among gamblers than any other game.
The name ‘bingo’ started to be used in the US after the game and its rules were copyrighted by Edwin S. Lowe, a toy manufacturer, in the late 1920s.
How to Play Bingo: Rules and Variations
To play bingo, you need a number of things. First, it is a scorecard, which is a 5×5 grid with numbers and an additional row with the word “BINGO”. Each letter of the word defines the row, in which players will be looking for numbers. For example, if a caller (this person is chosen at the beginning, and if you are playing at home, they can join the game along with others) says “G-25”, the players will need to look for the number 25 in the column G. Each player needs at least one scorecard.
Next, everyone needs a set of chips, which will be used to cover the numbers. And finally, there must be a set of letter-number combinations that the caller will draw at random. They can be DIYed (printed or written on slips of paper) or special bingo balls.
- Every player places a chip onto the central square. This is a bonus square.
- The caller draws the balls or slips of paper and calls them out.
- The players cover the corresponding number.
- Once a line of 5 numbers is covered with chips, the player calls out “Bingo!” showing that he or she has one. This is the end of the game.
There are quite a few variants of Bingo. Here are some examples:
- U-Pick’Em bingo – in this game, the players can choose the numbers they want to win with and mark them (similar to Keno);
- Bonanza Bingo – when only 43 numbers play in the game while the rest of the rules are the same.
- Death Bingo – the winner is the last person without a complete line.
The traditional scorecard can also be changed. One of the examples is using pictures or words instead of numbers. This way, you can play the game with smaller children or turn it into Charades or Pictionary.
Another option is to create Bingo cards to go with the Oscars ceremony or a TV-series. The square on the grid will contain names of objects, people, or even describe some actions, for example, “Somebody thanks their parents” for the Oscars Bingo. These will add a fun competitive edge to watching shows with your friends.
How to Make a Bingo Game: Tips and Tricks
If you are looking for where to buy bingo cards or where to buy bingo bags, you can simply DIY both! Here are three possible ways of how to make bingo cards.
Use your own hands (the most time-consuming method)
All you need are a piece of paper, a ruler, and a pen or pencil. Draw a 6×5 grid, write BINGO in the first row, fill all the other squares (with the exception of the middle one) with random numbers from 1 to 75. Repeat for every player. As for the letter-number combinations that are going to be called out, write them on small slips of paper, fold them, and put in some kind of bag or container.
Use Excel or similar software
For this method, you need Microsoft Excel or something similar (Google Sheets will also work great). You will need to use the random picker function: =RANDBETWEEN(1,75) (the second number is how many numbers in bingo you will have altogether). Simply copy it into all the cells in a 5×5 grid except for the middle one. And don’t forget the row with BINGO at the top. Now, each time you open the file, the numbers in the cells will change. Format the grid to look like a Bingo scorecard and print.
Use a website that generates (the least time-consuming)
Just google a bingo card generator, find a style you like, change the settings (usually it is how many scorecards you need, the size of the grid, the number of cards per page, etc.), and hit the “Create” button.