Bunko! Women gather for game
When someone yells “Bunko!” watch out.
Whoever grabs the dice after a player rolls three sixes, gets the points.
“I never ever get my own dice,” Crickett DeWall said.
She’s seen players tackled to the floor to get the points in the fast-paced game known as Bunko.
“You just never know what’s going to happen,” Brenda Lyons said.
Groups of women, divisible by four, gather once a month for dinner, drinks and some friendly competition.
“We just need an excuse to get out of the house,” player Julie Dempster said.
And Lyons said men aren’t invited.
“It’s just a night to get out with the girls and not get in trouble,” she said.
Members of the group take turns hosting the party by making dinner, providing alcohol if they wish and buying prizes for the winners with the $5 entry fee for each player.
Typically, groups include 12 players, so there are three tables of four in the game.
The head table dictates play, ringing a bell to signal a team at the table has earned 21 points. The other tables continue playing until the bell is rung.
Some groups roll just for sixes, gaining points for the number of sixes they roll, and extra points for Bunkos and wins. Other groups choose to roll for a different number (one to six) each round.
When a team at the head table reaches 21, the losers from that table move to the last table, and the winners from the other tables advance. Partners switch each round.
“You have to be able to socialize with everyone,” DeWall said.
Players usually tote home picture frames, scented lotions and garden decorations after a successful night. The hostess chooses the prizes for most Bunkos, most and least wins, and so on.
“You get some pretty cool stuff,” Lyons said.
But the best part of the game is the socializing, and Dempster said it’s not always with people you’d usually spend time with.
“There’s no norm,” she said. “There are single people, retired people, teachers, nurses. There’s no boundaries.”
And DeWall said that’s the interesting part of the game.
“It’s not just your regular friends,” she said. “Everyone asks a few more people. I didn’t know half of my group when we started.”
But now she’s become close with all of them, and she said that’s what makes the game fun.
As they are rolling, the women are talking and drinking, while trying to keep count of their points on their fingers. Then someone gets Bunko and the table erupts, leaving players laughing and unsure of what count they were on.
Dempster said that’s where the real challenge is.
“Part of the game is spent, ‘How many points do we have?'”
Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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