Bunco is a social dice game,
traditionally played with 12 players who are divided into three
tables with 4 players at each table. But really, any number can
These are the Bunco basics:
- A game of Bunco is played
in two to four sets, with six rounds in each set.
- A player at the head table
rings a bell to signal the beginning and end of each
- During the game, players
at each table take turns rolling three dice to try and
earn points. All tables play simultaneously.
- During each round, players
attempt to roll the same number as the number of the
round (for example, rolling three 3's
Round 3 would earn the player points).
- For every number rolled
that matches the round number, one point is awarded to
- A player keeps rolling
until they score no points. The scorekeeper then records
the score they earned onto the table
tally as the temporary team score. Then the dice are
passed to the player on the left.
- When the head table has
earned 21 points, the round is over. The head table
rings a bell to signal that the round has ended.
- At the end of every round,
players change partners and/or tables.
- At the end of a game,
there are typically multiple "winners." The
player(s) with the most Buncos, wins, losses, etc, may
earn prizes for their successes.
Bunco Supplies and Equipment
Bunco requires the following
dice for every table
Bunco score sheet for every player
Bunco table tally for every table
bell for the head table
- One pencil for every
Optional components include:
- Table direction signs to
indicate which tables the winners and losers of each
round should move to
- A plush
dice or other soft object that can be used as a
Preparing for a Bunco Game
- Number the tables as #1,
#2, #3, etc. Players switch tables and seats between
each round, and this will help indicate which table they
will be moving to.
- Place the following items
on each table: three dice, a pad of Bunco
table tallies or scratch paper, and pencils. Place
on the head table (also known as table #1).
- Four players should sit at
each table. The players who sit opposite of each other
are partners for the first round.
- Designate one player as
scorekeeper at each table. The scorekeeper uses the
table tally to track each team's points.
- Each player gets one Bunco
score card. At the end of each round, each
individual player's score is recorded on the score
Rolling and Scoring in Bunco
Players score points when any of
the dice they roll match the number of the round. Each
matching number rolled scores 1 point. For example, if
a player rolls two 2's in round 2, the player receives two
points and rolls again.
The numbers on the dice are not
added together, nor does the number on the dice indicate point
value. A 1 rolled in round 1 is worth 1 point, a 3 rolled in
round 3 is worth 1 point, and a 6 rolled in round 6 is also
worth 1 point.
However, if a player's
dice all show the same number, they will earn more points.
- If the three dice match
the number of the round being played, it's called a
Bunco and the player earns 21 points. The player must
call out "Bunco!" in order to receive the
points. (For example, if a player rolls three 4's in
round 4, they would call out "Bunco!" and earn
- If a player rolls three of
another number that doesn't match the number of the
current round (for example, rolling three 6's in
round 4), the player earns 5 points instead.
How to Play Bunco: Beginning the
Each round is begun by the head
table ringing the bell. When that happens, the scorekeeper
at each table picks up the three dice and begins rolling them.
Each time the dice are rolled,
each die is read separately (they aren't added together).
- In round 1, each 1 rolled
is worth 1 point.
- In round 2, each 2 rolled
is worth 1 point.
- In round 3, each 3 rolled
is worth 1 point.
- In round 4, each 4 rolled
is worth 1 point.
- In round 5, each 5 rolled
is worth 1 point.
- In round 6, each 6 rolled
is worth 1 point.
three-of-a-kind of the same number of the round you're
on is a Bunco. The player must call out
"Bunco!" to receive 21 points, and then must
keep rolling (unless the player is sitting at the head
table in which case she rings the bell to signal the end
of that round).
three-of-a-kind of any number other than the round
you're on is worth five points for the
temporary team score on the table tally.
For example, rolling three 5's in
Round 3 is worth five points.
Each player continues rolling
until they score no points. The scorekeeper then records the
points the player earned onto the table tally as the temporary
team score. Then the dice are passed to the player on the left.
The round ends when the head
table accumulates at least 21 points. The player at the
head table who earned the 21 or more points rings the bell to
signal the end of the round.
However all players who are
taking their turn when the round ends, including the player who
rang the bell, continue rolling until one of their rolls earns
them no points, even though the round is officially over.
This means that a player may possibly earn several points or
even roll one or more Buncos after the bell has been rung!
It's possible for a team to win a
round without rolling any Buncos.
How to Play Bunco: Example of
A game of Bunco has just begun.
At the head table, the bell is rung to signify the start of the
In this first round, each 1 rolled
by any player is worth 1 point.
At every table, the scorekeepers
pick up their dice and begin rolling. At the head table, Stacy,
who is the scorekeeper for that table, rolls the following:
Since two 1's were rolled, she
earns 2 points and continues rolling.
This time she rolled a single 1.
She earns 1 more point and she rolls again.
This time she didn't roll any
1's. Stacy stops rolling and passes the dice clockwise to the
next player, Carol.
Stacy is the scorekeeper, and
since she earned 3 points during her turn, she puts a 3 in the
"Us" column on her table tally.
Carol rolls the dice:
A single 1 is rolled. Carol earns
1 point and rolls again.
Again she rolls a single 1. She
earns 1 more point and continues rolling.
Since Carol didn't roll any 1's
this time, she earns no points and she passes the dice clockwise
to the next player, Wanda.
Stacy, the scorekeeper, writes
down Carol's score. Carol is not Stacy's partner (they are not
sitting across from each other) so Stacy puts a 2 in the
"Them" column of her table tally.
Wanda rolls the dice:
She rolls 3-of-a-kind! However,
since it is currently round 1 and not round 3, it is not a
Bunco. Wanda earns 5 points instead and continues rolling.
Wanda rolls no 1's, so she earns
no further points and she passes the dice to the player on her
Wanda is Stacy's partner, so
Stacy writes down a 5 in the "Us" column of her table
Hannah rolls the dice:
She rolls a Bunco! She calls out
"Bunco!" and, since she is sitting at the head table
and has earned 21 points, she rings the bell to signal that the
round is over.
However, players who are still
rolling may continue rolling as long as they continue to earn
points. (This includes Hannah, even though she is the one who
rang the bell.) Players can continue to earn points and roll
Buncos until they roll no points, then their round is over.
Since she just earned points and
still has a chance of earning more, Hannah rolls again.
She earns no further points, her
turn is over, and the round ends.
At the end of the first round,
Stacy's table tally looks like this:
Stacy and Wanda earned a total of
5 points, and Carol and Hannah earned 23 points and win this
How to Play Bunco: Individual
Each player should have their own
score card and keep track of their rounds on it.
- When a player wins a round,
they should write a "W" on the line for that
- When a player loses a round,
they should write an "L" on the line for that
- When a player rolls a Bunco,
they should place a tally mark for each occurrence in the
space marked "Buncos_______"
(NOTE: Only the player who rolled the Bunco
will write down that they rolled a Bunco in that round. The
player's partner will not!)
For example, in the game
described above, each player on the winning team, Carol and
Hannah, will record a "W" on the first " ________
" line on their scorecards. Since Hannah rolled a Bunco,
she will also place a tally mark in the line provided.
Hannah's Bunco score card looks
How to Play Bunco: Additional
At the beginning of each new
round, all players should change seats and/or partners.
- The winning team at the head
table (table #1) stays at the head table, but one of the
players should move over a chair so they will have a
different partner for the next round.
- The losing team from the head
table should move to the middle table (table #2).
- The winning team from table #2
moves to the head table.
- The winning team from table #3
(sometimes humorously called the "Losing" table)
moves to table #2.
- The losing team from table #2
goes to table #3.
- The losing team at table #3
stays at the table but one player should moves over a chair
so they will have a different partner for the next round.
At the beginning of each round,
someone at each table must volunteer to keep score.
Rounds 2 through 6 are played
exactly as round 1 except that in each round points are awarded
for the number of the dice that are the same as the number of
that particular round. So for example, in round 2 the object is
to roll , and
a Bunco will be .
Continue with each round until
all the rounds are completed (or you decide to wrap things up).
How to Play Bunco: Finalizing
When all the rounds are
completed, each player should count up all the occurrences of
Wins ("W"), and Losses ("L") on their score
sheet and then write the totals in the lines marked
Wins_________ and Losses_________.
Tiebreakers During a Round
If both teams at a table have a
tied score at the end of a round, they participate in a
roll-off. Each player is allowed to roll the dice again for one
session to accumulate additional points. The scorekeeper begins
rolling first. This player will continue to roll and accumulate
points as long as they are successfully rolling the number of
that round. Each player is given a session to roll and
accumulate points for their team to end the tie.
at the end of round 2, a table's teams are tied. Player 1 rolls
accumulates 1 point. Player 1 rolls again but does not roll any dice.
The dice are then passed to players 2, then 3, and then 4, all
who receive chances to accumulate points.
If at the end of this session one
team is now in the lead, the roll-off ends. The team with the
highest score is deemed the winner.
If at the end of this first
session the teams are still tied, additional roll-off session(s)
are repeated until the tie is broken.
Optional Rule: Traveling
If you choose to add Traveling to
your game, a soft fuzzy dice or small bean bag or other tossable
object is used.
Traveling occurs whenever a
specific set of numbers are rolled. The exact numbers that must
be rolled are determined by the hostess or players and announced
at the beginning of the game or round.
For example, rolling in
ANY round, or three-of-a-kind of any
non-Bunco trio in
ANY round (except round 5).
Then, when the specified trio of
numbers is rolled, the player shouts out "TRAVELING!"
and the bag or object is tossed to the lucky player. The player
holds it until another player rolls Traveling.
The player holding the bag or
object at the end of the game wins a prize!
Optional Rule: Prize Categories
The hostess may choose to create
award categories and offer prizes to the players. Here are some
- Most Buncos
- Most Wins
- Half Wins and Half Losses
(Player with an even split of wins and losses)
- Last Bunco
- Most Losses
- Traveling (Last person
holding the traveling item)