How To Keep Score in Bunco

Have you ever heard of the game Bunco? If you are a social person, you must have played this game several times already at parties and events that involved big groups. For those who do not know, Bunco has been around the social scene for it is fun and a great way to break the ice among complete strangers.

Traditionally, 12 people play Bunco. It is a game of luck played using three dice. Its main objective is to earn the most ‘buncos’ within the four sets played during the game.

The mechanics of the game are as follows.

  • Before anything else, randomly divide 12 players into 6 groups of two. Assign two pairs to one table and have the teammates sit across each other.
  • With 12 players and 3 tables, you end up with six teams with two teams for every table. Name the tables as the bottom, the middle and the head. Imagine this, at the end of every round, the leading team moves forward to the higher-ranked table, while the losers are demoted to the bottom table.
  • Once you have your tables and teams ready, delegate a set of three dice for each table, score sheets and pencils in every table. Additionally, place a bell on the head table and assign a scorekeeper.
  • To signify the start of the game, the scorekeeper rings the bell to start the 1st round. Then a member from each team rolls the three dice till he no longer earns points. He then switches turns with the person on his left.
  • The rolling of the dice continues until a member from the head table scores 21 points that would call for the scorekeeper to ring the bell again to call for a rotation or change of partners.
  • After each round, participants change partners. Transferring to the seat to your right before another team arrives to your table does this.
  • Expected rounds per set are around six per set and two sets per game. The winners are the ones with the highest tally of points.

Now that you have an idea of the mechanics of the game, you should then know how to keep score. The concepts are pretty basic, so read on.

  • The determinant of the number to be rolled depends on which round of the game you are playing. Say, the intended number for round 1 is 1, and round 2 is 2 while the intended number for round 3 is subsequently 3.
  • Rolling a Bunco simply means that a player was able to get a perfect 25 points by rolling three of the same kind of the intended number. On the other hand, a team also gets five points if they manage to roll a three of a kind number even if it isn’t the intended number to be rolled.
  • The team with the most points by the 2nd bell of the scorekeeper is dubbed as the winner for that particular round. As for the overall winner, this is awarded to the players with the highest tally of points by the end of the four sets of the game.

So if you’re thinking of inviting friends from different groups over for drinks and cocktails, what better way to warm up the crowd with a game of Bunco.


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