Bunco Theme Party
Hosting a Bunco Theme Party is one of the easiest parties I have ever had at my home for several reasons. First, the game is so easy to learn so you do not have to worry about the skill level of your guests. People of all ages can learn to play Bunco in about five minutes flat.
Second, most hosts already have the Bunco accessories needed to play the game, and what you do not have, you can easily make or purchase very inexpensively.
Bunco Invitations & Apparel
Bunco Party Set Up
Free Bunco Score Cards
How to Play Bunco
Prizes & Gifts
Another great thing about Bunco is that you can play it regularly with an organized group like we did in my neighborhood (12 ladies met once a month for over 2 years) or you can just organize a Bunco Theme Party which is what I am doing next weekend with some of my girlfriends.
I think what I love most about hosting a Bunco Theme Party is that you can invite friends from different circles, and because of how guests are partnered up during the game, you don't have to worry about that awkwardness that occurs when people don't know each other.
As a player, I love to play Bunco. You do not have to use a lot of brain power while playing which means it is a great game for socializing. You can eat, drink and chat without worrying too much about messing up your chances of winning (unlike a lot of other dice and card games that I know).
Besides, it is not about winning anyway. It is about spending quality time with great friends.
- Number of Players -- You will need multiples of 4 (12 is best but 8 or 16 will work too). If you are short a player or two, you can play with what is called "Dummy Players." Basically, each dummy player is represented by a Bunco Score Card that moves from table to table just as if it was a real person. Each round, somebody is partnered with the dummy player(s) and they roll for the dummy. This ensures that you always have 4 players at each table.
- Table Configuration -- When I host a Bunco Theme Party, I usually have 3 tables of 4 players (12 people). I use my kitchen table, my dining room table and I set up a card table in my living room. The important thing is that the tables are all within earshot of each other so that all players can hear when rounds begin and end.
- The Bell and Lei -- Have a bunco bell or other noise maker available that can be used to signify the beginning of each round. There will be a lot of socializing so you need a way to get everybody's attention. Also, it's fun to have the person who rolls a Natural Bunco (definition below) wear something special, like a hat or a Hawaiian Lei. Each time somebody gets a Natural Bunco, the hat or lei transfers to the new person.
- Bunco Accessories -- At each table, set out a Bunco Score Card for each person, 3 dice, a couple of pens and a scratch pad for the Scorekeeper.
- At the Bunco Theme Parties I have hosted or attended, $5.00 is collected from each player. I usually set out a basket somewhere by the door so people can pay as they arrive.
- Four players are seated at each table (usually 3 tables of
4 people). Whoever is sitting across from you is your
team partner for that round. Play must alternate from one team of partners to the next so partners should always sit across from each other. Designate a Scorekeeper just before the round begins.
- A game of Bunco consists of 6 Rounds. In Round 1, players take turns rolling 3 dice to see how many ones they can get. In Round 2, they roll for twos; in Round 3, they roll for threes and so on. Two or three games are usually played at each Bunco party.
- Play begins when the host of the Bunco Theme Party rings a bell. The Scorekeeper is always the first to roll. When it is your turn, continue rolling until you no longer roll the number for that round.
- The Scorekeeper tracks how many each team rolled in each round. Players are trying to achieve one of two things:
- A Team Bunco -- When team partners are the first among all tables to reach 21 and yell "Bunco!"
- A Natural Bunco -- When a single player rolls 3 dice that match the round currently being rolled. For example, if the group is currently rolling for ones, a player rolls 3 ones or if the group is currently rolling for fives, a player rolls 3 fives.
- At the end of each round, the Scorekeeper at each table announces the winning team. Your
team wins a round if:
- You were the first in the group to reach 21 and yelled "Bunco!"
- You did not quite make it to 21 but got the highest score at your table or
- One of you rolled a Natural Bunco
- On your scorecard, you will notice a line for each round within each game. After each round, record either a "W" or an "L" depending on whether your team won or lost. Keep your scorecard with you throughout the night recording a W or an L after each round. At the end of the night, Bunco Scorecards will be collected and winners will be determined.
- The winning team moves on to the next table and the losing team stays where they are. This movement makes Bunco so fun because you are only sitting in one spot for a short period of time. Players continue to rotate from Table 1 to Table 2 to Table 3 and then Table 1 again. By the end of the night, you will have spent time with everyone at the Bunco Theme Party and most likely will have made some new friends.
- After everyone is seated at their new table, Partners and Scorekeepers are determined and
the next round begins when the host rings the bell.
- The first game is completed when 6 rounds are played. At most Bunco Theme Parties
3 games are played, back to back, which usually takes about 3 hours, depending on how much socializing is going on.
- When the games are finished, scorecards are collected and the host determines
how the pot will be divided. There are several different ways to do it, but I prefer:
- The person with the Most Natural Buncos gets 40%
- The person with the Most Wins gets 40%
- The person with the Most Losses gets 20% (this keeps people from giving up half way through)
12 People x $5.00 = $60.00
Most Naturals gets $24.00
Most Wins gets $24.00
Most Losses gets $12.00
If you want to give the winners something other than money, visit our Bunco Prizes & Gifts page for some alternatives including Bunco shirts, jewelry and mugs.
If you are part of an organized group, a good way to split up the responsibilities is to rotate who is hosting every month. The host provides drinks and paper goods, while the food is brought by designated players.
In my group, we created a schedule at the beginning of the year with Bunco Party dates, the names of the hosts and the people who needed to bring either an appetizer or a dessert. For 12 people, I suggest 3 appetizers and 2 desserts.
Spreading out the responsibilities makes it a lot easier on the host especially if you meet in the middle of the week like we did.
Whether you are part of an organized group or are hosting a Bunco Theme Party periodically, you will need some great appetizer and dessert recipes. Over the years, I have perfected my list of recipes and now I share them with you.
Also, share your ideas and find more recipes here for Bunco Theme Food.
Goat Cheese Pesto with Red Peppers
Avocado Corn Salsa
Green Chili Dip
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Sweet Corn Dip
Black Bottom Banana Pie
Pear Custard Dessert Bars
Raspberry White Chocolate Dream Bars
Chocolate Toffee Ice Cream Squares
Mystic Mint Cookies
For more Party Recipes, click here.
I have had trouble finding Bunco-specific decorations so I use a more general Dice theme. My suggestion is to buy some
decorative napkins then choose plain colored cups and plates to go with them. Red, black or white would be perfect.
Also, decorate your food and drink areas with some confetti and if you want to add additional spark at your Bunco Theme Party, put up some crepe paper to match your color choice.
Other Women Parties
Hosting a Bunco Theme Party is really fun because the game is easy to play, it is great for socializing and pretty inexpensive. Try organizing a Bunco party with some friends from different circles. I guarantee that by the end of the evening you will see all of your friends chatting and laughing as if they have known each other for years.
Visit my Women Parties page
For more Ladies Night In and Ladies Night Out party ideas as well as my Top picks for Women Songs and T-Shirts.