How to Play Bunco the Dice Game (Rules and Instructions)

A dice game that began in England’s gambling parlors and shot to popularity as one of the handfuls of dice games with an international tournament in its name, Bunco sure does rise to every occasion.

It came to be widely known by its alternative names bunko, and bonco. However, the official name was declared as Bunco with the first World Bunco Championship in 2006.

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The World Bunco Association has listed internationally accepted bunco rules. But the game continues to be famous for being dictated as per local rules and regulations in different states and countries.

With this comprehensive guide, we aim to quickly take you through the rules of this super fun dice game. Let’s begin!

What Is Bunco Dice Game?

A dice gambling game with similarities to three-card monte, bunco dice game is centered around several players attempting to score buncos (a triple combination of the round number on dice) in order to win.

Number Of Players: 2 or more players (preferably 12; 3 teams of 4 players each)

Number Of Rounds: 6

Ages: 4 years and above

Difficulty: Medium

Main Objective: To score the fastest 21 in a round, and a maximum number of buncos in a game.

Why We Love It: It’s one of the few dice games that we can enjoy among large and diverse groups. It’s easy, fun, and elaborate so you can go on for hours at stretch with friends and family, without getting bored.

Official Game
Bunco Game Kit with Crystal Bunco Tote Bag
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Origin And Popularity Of Bunco Dice Game

Bunco dice game is relatively recent when compared to other dice games that are traced back to centuries ago. It is believed to have originated in Europe, in the 19th century and reached the United States soon after.

In the 1850s San Francisco, Bunco became popular enough to have gambling parlors dedicated and designated to the dice game. It has since then evolved into a popular game for parties as well as sophisticated social settings like charity functions.

Equipment and Set-Up For Bunco Dice Game

Bunco dice game is easier to play with a complete kit that allows you to keep track of scores through the series of six rounds. When played among large groups of 12, the first thing you need is a large enough room followed by three tables with four chairs each. The rest of the required equipment that you’ll need is listed below.

Dice

– 3 regular dice for each table, 9 in total.

– To add personality to each table, you can choose to have dice of different colors for each table.

– You may also want to keep extra in case a table is added or a team loses dice. The pack of 18 dice by Super Z Outlet comes in three colors and serves all purposes.

Assorted Colorful Dice in White, Red, Green for Board Games (18 Pack)
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11/18/2022 06:20 am GMT

Scoresheets and Table Tally

– Scoresheets are to keep a record of the individual player scores, so 12 scoresheets are needed in total.

– Table Tally is a sheet that compares the scores of two teams playing on a table. Table tallies change with every round, so set aside at least 18 sheets for the same.

– You can also save yourself the hassle and get a complete bunko dice game kit like this one by Bunco Game Shop that provides you with all you need, even a ringing bell!

Official Game
Bunco Game Kit with Crystal Bunco Tote Bag
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Teams and Tables Arrangement

– According to classic bunco rules, the game is distributed into 6 rounds and is played between 3 teams of 4 players each.

– These teams are seated on three different tables with 3 table tallies placed in the center, and individual scorecards handed over to every team player.

– Players sitting facing each other are a team.

– The rightmost table is often called the head table.

Bunco Rules And Guidelines

Starting The Game

Each table decides a scorekeeper who records the points and adds up the scores. The scorekeeper on the head table rings the bell or declares the start of the game and the rolling begins.

Scoring Rules

Before we get on to the rolling part, let’s clear the basics of the scoring. A player can score points only in any of the three conditions:

1 point: The round number appears on the face of one of the three dice.

5 points / Mini Bunco: Any number appears on all three dice.

21 points / Bunco: The round number appears on all three dice.

The number of pips on the dice is insignificant in counting the scores.

Rolling In A Round

The player that is responsible for the scorecard starts rolling first. All the three dice are rolled with an intention to get one of the above-mentioned combinations. If a player manages to score points, the turn continues until the player fails to score.

For any dice roll that yields a combination other than those stated in the scoring part, the player cannot score a point, in which case the turn ends and the dice are passed on to the next player. The rotation generally takes place in an anti-clockwise direction and the dice keeps passing until the head table scores 21 points.

Few points that you must keep in mind:

– Any table can score 21 without having to score a Bunco and still win the round.

– Bunco is the fastest way to win a round and helps to break the tie among winning teams or players.

– Once the head table declares the end of the round, the players can still continue their turns and keep rolling until none of the three scoring combinations are achieved, and the turn ends.

Winning A Round And Shifting Tables

After a round ends, each table has a winning team with higher scores and a losing team. Generally, the winning team moves to the table on the right, i.e the winning pair on table 3 will move to table 2, and that of table 2 will move to the head table.

The losing team on tables 2 and 3 stays put while the losing team on the head table moves to the left-most table 3.

This way, after every round, only winning teams play on the head table, a winning team plays with a losing team on table 2 and two losing teams play on table 3.

Winning The Game

The shuffled teams keep rolling, scoring, and playing for six consecutive rounds. Every team keeps a record of the wins, losses, buncos, and mini buncos in each round. After six rounds, the team that has the most winning rounds wins the game. Winning players can also be declared according to the number of mini buncos and buncos scored.

Bunco Dice Game: Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Play Bunco Between Two Players?

Bunco can be played between two players with the same rules with six rounds as in traditional bunco, the only difference is that there are no teams or tables competing against each other. A round ends when one of the player’s score reaches 21 and that player wins the round. The winner of the game is the player with most wins.

How To Break A Tie In Bunco Dice Game?

There are generally multiple winners in a bunco dice game because the probability of multiple teams winning the same number of times is high. However, if you want to decide one winning team, the number of buncos are compared. In the rare case of the number of buncos being the same, a rematch round happens between the winning teams, and whoever scores a bunco first, wins.

Is Travel Dice Game A Variant Of Bunco?

Travel dice game’s framework of rules is similar to Bunco but the main concept of bunco doesn’t exist, and therefore, you cannot call it a variant. The game revolves around traveling — the condition of rolling a predecided number on all three dice.

Other Dice Games Worth Playing

All set or not yet?

In case you’re looking for more similar games, we have cool suggestions for you to add life to your parties.

Have you tried the Qwixx dice game yet? If you loved Bunco, this one’s a close competition with numbers, boards, and simple arithmetics to keep you entertained. You could also try Shut The Box to calm your nerves after a hyped-up game of Qwixx.

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