We all know how hard it is to carve out time for just you and your girlfriends when you have kids. However, my friends and I started a monthly Bunco group last year and let me tell you—2022 was a year full of frequent, FUN Moms’ Nights Out!
It’s super easy to start and once you get in the rhythm, you’ll never want to skip a month! This regular outing for just me to connect with my crew has been so cup-filling and I so wish this precious time for every mom out there! Here’s how to do it.
Bunco is totally a “the more the merrier” type of game. I do suggest you have at least 12 people to start a group. You could get by with 10, but any number divisible by 4 is ideal.
We know making mom friends can be tough, but I promise you know at least 10 or 11 people to get a Bunco group going. Think of moms you know in your neighborhood, on your street, in your kids’ sports/activities, at church, at work, or even put out an ask on our East Valley Moms Neighborhood Group on Facebook!
Bunco is also an amazing way to merge your different groups of friends into one. With how much you switch tables and partners in Bunco, all your friends will get a chance to mix and mingle and get to know each other better. It’s literally the perfect recipe for making a strong group of Mom Buddies!
Commit to the same day and time every month!
My group decided that we would meet on the second Friday of every month, 7-9pm. Do whatever night and time works best for you.
However, I highly suggest that you meet the same night and time every month. This way it’s easy to pencil into your calendar for all 12 months ahead and hopefully you can schedule other things around it as best you can to miss as few months as possible.
The consistency and commitment from everyone in your group is really what makes this fun! The more you see each other, the more you get to know each other and the more you look forward to your game every month.
You can be as strict or as lenient about regular attendance as you like. If the number of moms in your group is not a multiple of 4, some tables will always be down a player and have to play with a “ghost.”
If you want to avoid this, have some other ladies in mind that you can invite to be subs whenever someone is unavailable. Your subs may be someone who, for whatever reason, doesn’t want to commit to a game every month but still wants to be included every once in a while. Inviting someone to be a sub is also a great way to introduce a new friend into the group!
Learn how to play Bunco!
The rules of Bunco are super simple! You can easily learn or explain the game in 5 minutes before you start playing. The supplies you need are:
- 3 dice for every 4 people in your group
- 1 table or area of play for every 4 people in your group
- 1 pad of paper for every table
- 1 pen or pencil for everyone in your group
- 1 chair for everyone in your group
- 1 Bunco scorecard (HERE is a free printable) for everyone in your group
- A bell, buzzer, or some other way to signal the beginning and ending of each round
- OPTIONAL: some fun trinket or object to be your “Traveling Bunco Icon”
The supplies are compact enough that you can keep them all in one small bag or box and rotate that amongst the hosts each month.
You can determine winners in several ways. Traditionally, the winners are:
- 1st Place is whoever has the Most Buncos
- 2nd Place is whoever had the Most Wins
- 3rd place is whoever had the Most Losses
Depending on how many ladies you have, you can also add winners for:
- Most Mini-Buncos (we call them FUNcos!)
- Even Stevens (whoever was closest to winning and losing the same number of rounds),
- Traveling Bunco (make a rule that whenever you roll three 2’s, you get custody of the Traveling Bunco Icon; whoever has it at the end of the game wins this category)
- Most Points in a Single Roll
- Second Most Wins
- Second Most Losses
Assign a host each month!
The host provides the food and beverages and buys the prizes (more on that later). If you meet later in the evening like we do, you don’t have to provide a whole meal. Just some light snacks or dessert is perfect! The food can be themed or not, elaborate or simple. Whatever works best for your host!
You can rotate houses between hosts each month or play at the same place every time. We have one gal in our group that graciously offers to open her home each month just because her house is big enough to accommodate everyone.
The host home needs to be able to fit either a square card table for every 4 people, or you can play 4 people at both ends of a long dining room or folding table. See who has extra tables and chairs in your group that can commit to bringing them if a host home doesn’t have enough.
But no matter where your group plays, the monthly host is still responsible for snacks and prizes!
We’ve really enjoyed Scout & Cellar wines for Bunco nights for a few reasons: They provide the highest-quality, most delicious wine possible, in accordance with their clean-crafted commitment (no added sugar, no pesticides, nothing artificial).
The door delivery of Scout & Cellar makes it easy as an Amazon order, so we don’t have to settle for whatever pretty label of wine we see at the end cap of our latest Target run that ends up making us feel less than ideal after drinking it.
Plus, if you don’t really know much about wines, Shivan Carter, a local rep and local mom for the company, acts as your personal wine concierge helping you select wines for every flavor profile. It makes shopping for wine prior to hosting Bunco an opportunity to learn a little something about wine, honing in on what your wine preferences are, beyond ‘sweet whites.’ I’ve learned I prefer white wines with less oak, preferably ‘old world’ whites from France/Italy/etc., things that through basic chats are so fun to discover and grow in knowledge.
Truly, the most fun part of Bunco is the prizes! Everyone in your group contributes some amount of money each month. We do $15 per person per month. (Do whatever amount feels best for your group.) We Venmo the host who then gets enough prizes for each attendee so that everyone goes home with something.
The top prize is always valued higher than $15 and the last few prizes are valued less than $15. For example, for a group of 12 with everyone contributing $15, the prize breakdown would look like this:
- First prize: $30
- Second prize: $21
- Third prize: $18
- Fourth prize: $17
- Fifth prize: $15
- Sixth prize: $13
- Booby Prizes: $11 x 6 (If you don’t win one of the main prizes, we call the 6 leftover prizes “Booby Prizes” because everyone who has boobies gets one! All 6 are usually the same thing.)
Just figure out a reasonable spread for however many people you have in your group and the total money contributed.
The host can theme the prizes, not theme the prizes, or you can just Venmo cold hard cash to each winner! Again, do whatever works best for your group!
Our group has had so much fun coming up with themed prizes each month! Some themes that hosts have done are:
- Valentine’s Day
- Camo for Veteran’s Day
- Favorite Things of the host
- Charcuterie board items
- Mom gear
Or just be super low-key and get Starbucks gift cards in differing amounts. Get creative and let your personality shine while you have fun picking items out!
Don’t get too bogged down in all the details of hosting or the rules of the game. At its heart, this is meant to serve one sole purpose: provide a regular and ongoing time for moms to get together to build and grow friendships!
It’s no secret that motherhood is best lived in community with others. If you’re struggling to find a core group for yourself, take that brave first step to form your own Bunco group. Have fun learning the game together, getting competitive, and creating memories that will last a lifetime!
If you start your own Bunco group, share about it online! Tag us at @EastValley.Moms or hashtag #EVMbunco. If you’d like to get to know Shivan and learn more about Scout & Cellar, follow her at @shivaun.carter