Organising Your Own At-Home Live Bingo Night
Few games inspire the same shared fun and competition as the game of bingo. A traditional favourite around the world, we also can't forget the fun that's possible from throwing your own live bingo night at home. Yes, it’s possible. Yes, it’s easier than you think. Yes, it’s still just as fun to rub luck-based victories in your friends' faces. Not that we’d ever do such a thing ourselves…
So, what do you need to know about live bingo to get started, and how does one cater to exactly what a bingo night needs? Read on, and you'll soon be hosting a bingo night to remember, and maybe even one you can make a regular occurrence.
The Right Equipment
The name of the game is live bingo, which is a little different (and a lot less stressful) than doing things the entirely manual way. Live bingo means players are relying on the host from a bingo website service, rather than having to run their bingo ball system. This is a lot less of a hassle to set up, but it does require a couple of minutes of prep time.
In terms of equipment, you're good to go as long as you have a modern smartphone or laptop that can hook into your home Wi-Fi or has its own connection. You don’t need the fastest device ever to run live bingo, but having something developed in the last five years is a good start.
Choose Your Players
One of the best things about bingo is the players. Anyone can join a game of live bingo, you don't need a secret passcode or VIP invite, live bingo is open to everyone. For many players, this playing style is a huge draw as it fosters a community of like-minded bingo lovers.
While bingo games online are very easy to run, some people can have trouble with even basic digital tasks, so for a smooth practice run, consider inviting over people with a solid understanding of how mobiles and websites work.
Once you have a group in mind, it's time to create your invites. You can do this in person with a personalised invite if you prefer, or online via a messaging system. Facebook events can be a streamlined way to get everyone involved, and also let you know who's available and who's not.
Get Everyone Up to Speed
Before everyone arrives, you need to ensure everyone at least has some understanding of what they’ll be in for. Everyone should have a smartphone or laptop ready to go, but you’ll also need to remind them that you’re still playing for real prizes, so they’ll need a means of paying, too.
Players also need to be familiar with the registration process, so they know their account is accepted and working as intended. The players should be encouraged to do this before they arrive, if possible, to cut down on wasted time.
This way anyone who has any difficulties has time to troubleshoot them before the big day. You don’t want players turning up only to have to miss out, so having them run a single test game might also be a good idea. If anybody has a spare laptop to cover for a player with a particularly stubborn phone, that can be good too.
Prepare the Prizes
Live bingo has its own payouts, but you can take wins a step further by preparing special prizes for your game’s best performers. These can be as simple as chocolate to as complicated as a specially designed in-joke prize that only you and your friends understand.
If you want to make bingo a running event, you can also create special prizes that only pay off after multiple events. For example, the best player on each day could be given a special crown or sash to wear the next. You could also create a special prize pool for the first player to win three games in a night, which could be added to after each time nobody claims the prize.
Food, Drink, and Ambience
With the technical stuff out of the way, it's time to move on to the drinks, the ambience, and most importantly (let's be honest), the food. If you've ever catered for friends before you should have some idea of where to start. Depending on how long you want the night to last, you might want to start with a big meal or keep the food light and snack-based if it's more of a time to chill out.
With food, you’ll want to be sure to keep any dietary concerns in mind and remember that you’re going to be playing with screens most of the time. This means you should avoid greasy snacks, maybe even adopting the fun chopsticks approach to chips and dips. You might even want to try a potluck kind of deal, to give everyone a chance to show off.
Drinks are another place where people's tastes can vary widely, from water to juice and smoothies, or whatever else your gang likes to get into. As always, be sure to keep everything in moderation, to keep the mood exactly where it needs to be.
Speaking of mood, we round out this guide with the final aspects of ambience. This means decoration, music and even fragrance. While you will want to be able to keep the music down at least a little so you can hear the live dealers, the other parts of this equation are up to you.
From the quiet and classy to the loud and funny, the best bingo room is the one that makes you and your friends the happiest. Whether going for one-off events to a continual bingo night theme, remember to get everything you need well in advance to avoid last-minute stress.
One last note – you'll need to be double sure that everyone has a nice and comfortable place to relax and play. Even if you have only one super-comfortable chair, remember that can also be a tool for the game. After all, only the king or queen of bingo gets to sit on the official bingo throne!