Get your neighbors, coworkers, husband’s coworker’s wives, or your church ladies together and start a monthly Bunco group. April Fools Bunco would be a great way to kick off the start of any group and here are my ideas for a zany night of fun.
I got some girly little purse invitations at the party store, because I thought they were adorable, and then just wrote in all my party information on the insides. I added some “Texas” blingy crosses to some of them and got them in the mail about two weeks before my party. I didn’t give away any information about my party having April Fools pranks.
There are lots of other invitations out there that have dice on them, and perhaps that’s the way you would prefer to go. If you want to give a small preview to your party, you can add a prank to yours…perhaps a paper spider that pops out when you pull the flap open on the invitation, or a funky scent spritzed on the paper. Or you could encrypt the invitation information into a secret code puzzle that they have to solve in order to find out the details, or cut it into puzzle pieces that they have to put together.
I made two snacks for each of the three tables: “puppy chow” served in dog bowls, purchased from the dollar store (and totally sterilized in the dishwasher), and multicolored Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers, served in actual fish bowls that I picked up at Wal-Mart in the aquarium department (and also sterilized in the dishwasher).
The recipe for the “puppy chow” (Chex® Muddy Buddies®) is usually featured somewhere on the box of Corn or Rice Chex cereal boxes. I hope it is okay for me to share it here with you.
Now, moving on to SWAG BAGS
I filled little brown paper bags with inexpensive gag gifts (bubba teeth, stick-on mustaches, packets of Doughnut Seeds, which were cheerios – the flavored kind. It was an idea I saw in a Family Fun magazine I believe click here for instructions). I gave these bags as prizes after each round of play, so that my guests would act up and be silly if they wanted to while we nibbled on refreshments (featured below). I hoped that by the end of the evening everyone would win something even if they didn’t win a Bunco money prize.
Here is the SET-UP for an April Fool’s Bunco
Set up the three tables as usual, but make table #3 a “loser” loser table, if you know what I mean – L-sign to the forehead, L-O-S-E-R table! Find a table that wobbles (taping a small stack of washers to a leg of the table will do the trick). Set 4 mismatched chairs around it (like an ottoman, a bar stool, an office chair, and a bean bag chair). Place a whoopee cushion under the seat pillows of one chair. Give them 3 different size dice, a big toddler pencil or a teeny tiny pencil or a crayon to keep score with, a random stack of scrap papers stapled together for a score pad, and even nasty tasting snacks like wasabi nuts, or anything bland and tasteless from the health food store in ugly bowls.
You could replace the bell on table-one with a squeaking rubber duck toy, or a train whistle, or a bicycle horn, just to be weird.
I usually like to have some kind of music going in the background of all my parties to put everyone in the “party” mood as they walk through the door. So…what kind of music shouts “April Fools” to you? This is probably going to totally BUST my “Christian” image to admit that I own one, but I thought a Bob Rivers CD would be the perfect touch (to lend that sort of “Jack Ass” element to the party). Oh dear. Yeah, Bob’s CDs are undeniably the anti-type to Philippians 4:8. (Feel free to substitute your own music selection here if that is just too embarrassing for you. It actually might be too embarrassing for me too with certain of my friends ). At any rate Bob’s songs are ones that you think you know. They sound just like the originals of hits from the 80’s/90’s. His songs, however, if you are not familiar, are parodies, spoofs of the songs from a couple decades ago, with twisted (altered) lyrics – “fool” you music that is super funny in a tacky, crude, gross, ill-mannered, irreverent, vulgar, unashamed sort of way. I have, dare I admit, his Twisted Tunes Volume 1 and 2. I wonder if I turn the volume way down if anyone will notice the lyrics??? You know what might make a great alternative is Anita Renfroe (Christian comedian), except that all of her awesome parody songs are in video format and scattered between several DVDs. Oh Anita, you need to do something about that!
What about PARTY FOODS?
I’m so glad you asked. Here was the line up for my party… but there are a million great ideas out there! (Pinterest)
For this you make up a batch of biscuit dough, spread half of it in the bottom and up the sides of a non-stick Bundt pan. Then you make a pizza filling of pizza sauce, pepperoni, cooked sausage, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. and carefully spoon this sauce in the valley of the biscuit dough that you placed in the pan. Carefully layer the remaining biscuit dough on top and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the bread part comes out clean. Remove from oven and invert onto a pretty cake plate. Use the finest quality Mozzarella cheese slices you can buy and arrange them on top of the “cake.” Return cake to oven just until the cheese has melted to look like icing. You can see I left mine in a little too long and the icing kind of disappeared. You can do better! Remove from oven and serve.
Do you have a good meatball or meatloaf recipe? Mix your ingredients together and use a large ice cream scoop to shape your meatballs about the size of a poolball. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place meatballs in each of the cups of a muffin pan. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes until meat is brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan (internal temp 165*F). Invert onto a paper towel lined rack to absorb grease. In the meantime set up a new muffin pan with foil cupcake wrappers. Transfer each meatball into a foil cupcake wrapper in the new pan and set aside.
Make enough instant potatoes for 8 servings, following directions on the box of instant butter flavored potatoes, substituting the water for beet juice. Use the juice of 2 cans of beets, being sure to add enough water to the juice to equal the amount called for. The more beet juice, the stronger the color your potatoes will be. If you want them to look really red, use only the juice of the beets and no water. Transfer the mashed potatoes into a frosting piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the “frosting” onto the meat cakes. These can be kept warm in the oven until ready to serve (up to 30 minutes). Sprinkle with a grind or two of peppercorn mélange just before serving. You could also sprinkle some grated Parmesan and bacon crumbles on top.
Ham & Cheese “cinnamon” Rolls
Unroll a tube of Pillsbury Pizza dough and roll it with a rolling pin to thin it just slightly. Spread with a thin smear of honey mustard (or dijon, as you prefer), and then lay slices of thin sliced ham over the entire top, and then a layer of thin sliced baby swiss over the ham. Roll up, jelly-roll style and slice as you would cinnamon rolls. Lay on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden on top.
Use a box of any favorite Duncan Hines cake mix (or your favorite homemade) and bake in a non see-thru 2 X 9″ pan as directed on the box. Cool on rack. Refrigerate several hours. Place one can of cream cheese frosting in a piping bag fitted with the small hole tip. Pipe the frosting back and forth all over the top of the cake until it is covered in what looks like spaghetti noodles. This will take forever, but it is worth the effort. You may need to use another can of frosting to achieve the effect and completely cover the cake. Place about 12 Ferrero Rocher chocolates randomly on top of the frosting. Warm a jar of plum or strawberry jam in the microwave for about 15 seconds, stir and then drizzle over the “meatballs” and slightly onto the frosting. Cake may be kept in the refrigerator the remainder of the day until ready to serve.
Have a jar of nuts-in-a-tin on the kitchen counter or serving table (the kind with a spring-snake inside), so that when a guest opens it to get a snack the snake will pop out.
Place a roll of some kind of gag toilet paper in the bathroom. (Mine was printed with “Oh Crap!” all over it)
Put a fake spider in the bathroom sink, or beside the toilet.
A Little pre-party prank…
Before my guests arrived I turned off all the lights in the house except for one lamp near the front door. I had on a pair of pajamas, smeared a green mud mask on my face, and put some pink hair rollers in my hair. When my guests arrived I answered the door reluctantly, like I had no idea who could be at my house, and stood there for a moment before them with a befuddled look on my face. After a moment I opened my eyes wide, as if I’d just had an epiphany and said, “OMGosh, is that TONIGHT?” As my guests hemmed and hawed about what to do, I broke out with a smile and blurted, “April Fools!”
Okay, April Fools, no I didn’t. I wanted to, but I didn’t have the nerve. I just answered the door like it was any other party. But please, if you are a courageous cuckoo, will you please do it for me?
At the end of each set of six rounds I gave out SWAG BAGS to the Highest Score, 2nd Place, Most Buncos, Last Bunco, and Booby. Then we took a snack break. We finished the evening giving out the money prizes and then gathered around my table, laughing, telling stories, and staying up way past our bed times.
In preparation for any themed or un-themed BUNCO party you will need:
Appetizers, snacks, dessert
3 tables with four chairs for each
3 dice for each table (total of 9 dice)
Personal Score cards and Vis-a-Vie markers (12 total cards, 2 markers per table – 6 total markers)
Score pads and pencils for each table (3 total pads, and 3 total pencils)
5 Envelopes for prize monies:
Mark one envelope “High Score”
Mark one envelope “2nd High Score”
Mark one envelope “Most Buncos”
Mark one envelope “Last Bunco”
Mark one envelope “Booby”
Bell: You can have a bell, like those at a motel that you tap the knob on top of and it rings, or you can have a clangy old school teacher’s bell. If you purchase a Bunco game it will have some sort of bell included in it. Or as I mentioned before you could have a squeaky rubber duck, a huge baby rattle, a whistle, a train whistle, or a bicycle horn, or basically anything that makes an obnoxious noise.
Bunco Buddy (this can be anything from a little bean bag toy, to a special crazy hat, to a lei, or even a big fuzzy die). I had a flying monkey toy that screams when you shoot him.
SET UP YOUR TABLES
Here’s how to set up your three tables:
Score pad and pencil
Score pad and pencil
Score pad and pencil
Once all of your guests have arrived and each has paid their $5 to the prize fund ($5 X 12 players = $60), separate the monies into the envelopes as follows:
High Score – $20
2nd High Score – $15
Most Buncos – $10
Last Bunco – $10
Booby (lowest score) – $5
• Announce to the guests which table is Table One, Table Two, and Table Three (if they couldn’t already distinguish them).
• Players can snack and play and visit during the first set, then take an appetizer break between sets – use the restroom, take a smoke break, check cell phones, etc.
HOW TO PLAY
If you do not want to buy a pre-packaged game, you can use the templates I have pictured (and detailed) in this post, plus you will need nine dice, a bell of some kind, a Bunco Buddy, and pencils and scratch pads to keep score during play at the tables.
Variations to the Boxed Game
I’ve discovered that people play Bunco differently from group to group and state to state. In Wyoming all the groups I played with basically played the game as instructed in the box, but as a gambling game just did their payouts a little differently.
Here in Texas they do everything different. This is the crazy Texas version I’ve been introduced to:
TEXAS BUNCO: It is the same in that there are two teams at each table who work together to beat the other team at the table, and whenever the winners or losers move they can’t have the same partners at the next table. BUT…they don’t work their way through the numbers (1,2,3,4,5,6) as in the boxed game, but rather ALWAYS only roll for 6’s every set, every round, every game. If you roll three sixes that is a “Texas Bunco,” and whenever a TEXAS BUNCO is rolled, anyone at the table may grab the dice to steal the points. Since Buncos can be stolen, you can imagine how this results in a pretty physical game and riotous behavior. Dice and people often times end up on the floor in a wresting match. As you can imagine it is too wild for snacks to be on the tables. There might even need to be some ground rules about how long a woman’s fingernails can be (as they could be a lethal weapon – hahaha).
If you get only one or two sixes when you roll, they count as one point each, but you get to keep rolling. You must roll at least one six to keep rolling, otherwise you pass the dice. If you happen to roll three ones that is called “snake eyes” and your team loses all your points acumulated during that roll. If you roll three of any other number, it counts as five points total and you get to keep rolling. If no scoring dice are rolled, play passes. The first team to reach 21 is the winner of that round. You can play six rounds and then take a snack break, and then come back and play another six rounds. You can play as many rounds as you want, as long as it is decided ahead of time so that nobody feels cheated out of the prize monies at the end.
Winners move up a table (unless they are already at table one), and losers move down a table (unless they are already at table 3). My neighbor’s group plays with men and women and everybody pays $5 to play. They give prizes for MOST WINS, MOST BUNCOES, and MOST LOSSES. They play with at least 12 people, but the more the merrier (multiples of 4). Her group usually does a carry-in pot luck supper, which is served in courses between rounds – six rounds played, then they serve appetizers or salads, six rounds played, then they serve the main course, six rounds played, then they serve dessert, and during dessert and coffee the prize monies are distributed.
The church ladies I played with in Wyoming paid their money to the host, who passed it on to whoever was hosting next. That next host used it to buy prizes to give in place of money prizes at her party. We always played at the church, but each took turns bringing the snacks. After a while we all just started bringing a wrapped, $5 gift instead of money. Another thing your church group may enjoy doing is chosing several charities in your church or community that you can play for. Like, for instance, you might create a fund for the nursery, the food pantry, women’s ministry, mission, child advocacy, etc. So Lucille may play for the nursery every week, and Maggie may play for women’s ministry. The money is paid out to the winners (as described below), but the winners donate it to the charity they are playing for.
My favorite is the way Karen’s group played it. We all paid $5 as we arrived. The money ($5 X 12 people = $60) was divvied up into prize envelopes: First Place ($20), Second Place ($15), Most Buncos ($10), Last Bunco ($10), and Boobie ($5).
We had 12 laminated personal score cards with Table 1, 2, or 3 and Team 1 or 2 labeled on them which we drew upon arrival so we would know what table and team we were starting from. We used Vis-a-vie markers to mark our cards with our wins and losses, and then washed them off at the end of the night. At the end of this chapter are some Bunco cards that you can copy/print and cut apart. If you would like, you can laminate them and use Vis-a-Vie markers at each table to mark wins and Buncos, and tally totals on for your party. At the end of your evening these cards can simply be washed off and reused.
Starting with any set of numbers we marked a circle around the games we won and an X through the games we lost (as shown in the diagram here to the right). Notice there are three sets of numbers, a set for each game.
Notice the score card here shows Table 1 Team 1 at the top? If you drew this card you would start playing at Table 1 and you would be on Team 1. The starting position is no longer relevant after play has begun.
Choose who will be the scorekeeper. There is one person at each table who will keep score. This person will have the Table Tally Sheet (shown here to the left) and pencil, and will keep track of points for both teams at the table. The scorekeeper will draw a vertical line down the center of the Table Tally Sheet and label the first column “US” and the other column “THEM.”
At the sound of the bell (Table One rings the bell) someone at each table should pick up the dice and begin rolling. If the roller rolls a ONE they get to keep rolling. If no ONEs are rolled the player’s turn ends, at which point they will pass the dice to the next player. Each ONE rolled counts as one point. Three ONEs rolled at once is a Bunco (if you are on round one), at which time the person rolling will shout BUNCO! And earn a score of 21 added to whatever they earned up to that point, and then continue rolling until no more ONEs are rolled. Three of a kind of any other number also scores as 5 points no matter what number you are one, and the player gets to continue rolling.
Whomever is holding the Bunco Buddy is responsible for passing it along to the new Bunco roller and letting them know which Bunco they rolled (1st, 7th, 10th, etc.).
For example, if in round ONE the roller rolls a ONE with her first roll (everyone at the table would say “one” and the scorekeeper, if she was on the same team would make a tally under US), then if the roller rolled another ONE with the second roll (everyone would say “two” and the scorekeeper would mark another tally under US), and if she rolled another ONE with the third roll (“three” and the scorekeeper would mark another tally), then if she rolled 3 fives (everyone would say “eight” and the scorekeeper would mark the five more tallies), then if she rolled three ONES, that would be a BUNCO (and everyone would say “29” and the scorekeeper would mark the tallies), the roller would catch the Bunco Buddy as it sailed through the air toward her, pick up the dice and roll again. But if this time she rolled a 2, 4, and 5, with her dice her turn would be over and her total would be 29, recorded by the scorekeeper, and she’d pass the dice to the player on her left.
Now, if she was sitting at Table ONE, someone at that table would ring the bell marking that round ONE is over, because whenever a score of 25 is reached at Table ONE the round is over for everyone. If she was sitting at Table Two or Three and Table ONE has not rung the bell yet, play would continue until the bell has sounded.
A night of Bunco consists of three sets of play (notice the three sets of numbers 1-6 on the personal score cards). Each set consists of 6 rounds. The first round everyone rolls ONEs… the second TWOs… the third THREEs… etc. If your team ends the round with a higher score than the other team at the table you both get to draw a circle around that number on one of your sets of numbers on your score card, and the two of you get to move up a table (unless you are at Table ONE, in which case you get to STAY at Table ONE). If you were the losing team you must draw an X over that number on the set you are playing, and you stay at your current table (unless you were at Table ONE, and in that case you must move all the way down to Table THREE).
When you stay or move to your next Table you must also change partners, so you will have a new teammate for the next round.
Please consult the rules of play in your purchased Bunco Box, if mine are confusing.
At the end of the third set all players add up their circled games, plus their total of Buncos for a TOTAL SCORE, which they will write in the bottom space on their score cards. The score cards can then be lined up on Table ONE from highest score to lowest. In case of a tie for high score those players will roll off to determine who should take the prize. If the player that wins the roll off is also a winner of either first or last Bunco they forfeit that secondary prize and the person who rolled the second or next to last Bunco wins the prize instead.
Once all prizes are awarded, dessert is served.
Some Bunco groups that I have belonged to have served alcoholic beverages during play, and others, for various reasons did not. Use your best judgment in serving wine, frozen Margaritas, Sangria, or designer Martini’s considering that most of your guests are likely driving. Italian sodas, Iced tea (straight up or flavored), fruity lemonades, and designer coffees (regular or decaf) are good alternatives.
Would you like to start a monthly Bunco group with your neighbors, or just have a Bunco Party now and then? There’s no better time than the present to get started hosting one and see where it ends up.
OTHER BUNCO THEMES TO TRY,
now that you’ve gotten the ball…or…umm…dice rolling. 🙂
Red Hat Ladies Bunco
Pajama Party Bunco
Come as you are Bunco:
Make your calls to your guests to see if they can all make it, do it at a time when you think they may be wearing something they wouldn’t want anyone to see them wearing, without makeup maybe, or dressed up super fancy. Maybe early Saturday morning, or at night just before bedtime. Maybe when you know they are gardening, or painting the back bedroom. Inform them that your Bunco party is a COME AS YOU ARE party and they must come exactly as they were at that moment.
Halloween Masquerade Bunco:
All players come in complete disguise. Spend the evening trying to keep your identity under wraps (by altering your voice to a Mickey Mouse voice, using a heavy made up accent, or whispering, etc.). See how long everyone can stay in character. At the end of round one give each person a number to wear around their neck, and give each player a sheet with the numbers 1-12 listed. While everyone is endulging in snacks, have each person write next to each number who they think that person is. At the end of round two do the big reveal. Then round three you can all relax and just play.
Strip Bunco (It’s actually a pool party – or hot tub party, but you can keep that a secret to the end if you wish):
Oooo, racy! Invite your fun girlfriends to this one, the playful ones with a sense of humor. Don’t tell your guests anything except the theme and that they will lose clothing for every loss. Let them think the worst (hopefully you have a group with a fun sense of humor).
All you are going to tell your guests is that they better wear lots of clothes, and just to be safe, that they should wear their swimming suits underneath. If someone loses all their clothes down to their bathing suit that’s all the farther they will have to go. No one loses past their swim suit. You can choose to tell everyone up front, or once they arrive at your house, or make them sweat to the end of the game, and spill the beans only when someone is having a panic attack.
The night should be a lot of laughs, but here’s the really fun part: Dessert will be served in the hot tub. Whatever you are wearing at the end of Bunco is what you’ll be wearing in the hot tub. Some people who thought themselves pretty sassy for not losing very much will think differently whilst they sit in a hot tub with 6 shirts, 3 pairs of socks, and 2 hats on their head. Ha! Okay, I’m not really that mean. They can shuck their duds to join us.
Monthly Holiday Theme’s:
SEPTEMBER-Grandparent’s Day- everyone brings photos, either of their grandkids or grandparents. These can be shown around and bragged about, or put on a bulletin board for everyone to guess whose people belong to whom.
DECEMBER-Christmas-white-elephant &/OR ornament exchange
JANUARY-I-Have-A-Dream (everyone shares a crazy dream they recently had, or something they are passionate about, from having a fast food restaurant that serves only fresh fruit and veggies, to making it mandatory that all kids learn to write with both hands in school, to health insurance for pets, or whatever they’d like to change about our world)
FEBRUARY-Valentines, Mardi-Gras, Super-Bowl-tailgate, Academy Awards
MARCH-Saint-Patty’s-Day, Easter Egg Hunt
APRIL Fools (encourage light-hearted pranks and Bubba Teeth silliness)
MAY-Mother’s-Day-garden-party or Memorial Day (honor a military member)
JUNE-Father’s Day BBQ
4th-of-JULY picnic, fireworks, and party poppers
AUGUST-Beach party, or Back-to-School
High School or College Alma Mater Theme
Beehive (hairdo) theme
Punk or Goth theme
AND SOMETHING ELSE…
You can decide if your group wants to do appetizers and dessert or a full meal, and who will bring what.
Usually the HOST provides beverages and table snacks (usually a bowl or two of something – something sweet and something salty, like chips, pretzels, cheese doodles, Chex mix, Cheez-its, flavored popcorns, mixed nuts, etc. and M&Ms, Hershey kisses, Nibs, jelly beans, Halloween candy, and such).
Or, if doing a meal the HOST provides beverages and the main dish.
Usually the GUESTS take turns providing carry in appetizers (ie. cheese and crackers, veggie tray, fruit platter, stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, cream cheese veggie pizza, etc.) and/or desserts (cake, pie, cookies, etc.).
Or, if doing a meal the GUESTS bring in the sides (salads, veggie sides, starchy sides, bread, and desserts).
Good luck with your party. If you think about it, would you please come back here and tell me how yours went? I’d love to hear. God bless you.
Here are the PRINTABLES: https://mrshlovesjesus.wordpress.com/bunco-printables/