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Tabletop Game / Bingo

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B-I-N-G-O is its name-o and it's one of the more continually popular board games in North America. Weekly gatherings for it are still found in many churches and community centers.

Overall, Bingo is a game of chance. Each Bingo player gets one or more cards, each with a 5×5 grid marked with various numbers. The center cell of each card is often designated "free" and may be covered first. While a "caller" draws numbers, the players mark off the numbers on their cards. The first person to accurately mark off a certain pattern of called numbers on his card (usually five in a row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally), and shout BINGO! is declared the winner.


Stereotypically, it's known as a game that old people like to play. Because bingo is a game of chance with prizes offered, how gambling regulation would affect it tends to be a talking point for politicians looking toward the older demographic.

Bingo is a common theme for state lottery tickets. Various attempts have also been made to turn it into a televised game show, as it has a natural "play at home" component, including 1953's Bingo at Home, as well as the more modern National Bingo Night and Bingo America.

A number of related games have popped up, including Lingo, a word game show that uses a bingo board mechanic, and Slingo, an online game that uses a slot machine mechanic to call the numbers.

"Travel bingo" sets also exist, for use by children on long family road trips. They typically consist of thick "cards" marked with pictures of traffic signs, farm animals or other common outdoor sights.


Another common variation is "Buzzword Bingo", which was invented in 1993 and popularized in a Dilbert comic strip the next year. In this case, each square has a largely meaningless "buzzword" (Paradigm, user-centric, proactive etc.), and players attending a meeting mark off which ones are used in its course. From there, it spread to other Cliché Storms, such as political speeches and certain types of TV shows. Bonus points for using a particularly over-used cliché as the center "free" space.

This has given rise to its online variation of "argument bingo" where the board contains overused arguments or trolling statements, and the erstwhile message-board participant is to mark them off. Of course, the mere fact that you're able to shout BINGO! at a post doesn't act as proof against points raised in and of itself. But man, it can be fun to play at home.



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