It’s the timeless game that welcomes everyone, young and old, to partake in some exciting, suspenseful fun: Bingo! Whether playing in a large group or hosting an intimate game with a few close friends, bingo offers enjoyment for all those involved. And all you need to generate countless hours of fun is a bingo set.
Though the game is relatively simple and hasn’t changed much in almost 100 years, there are some important things to keep in mind when choosing a bingo set. Our buying guide details the options and variations and provides reviews of specific products at the end, including our top pick from Front Porch, which comes with attractive wood game pieces.
In bingo games, the caller calls numbers by reading numbered balls that are randomly drawn or ejected from a cage. This way isn’t just the most common — it’s also the most fun. A crank is turned, and a lone bingo ball emerges. However, those looking for something a little more convenient and travel-sized can find options where the caller draws from a shuffled deck of bingo cards.
Once the number is called, you’ll need to mark it off on your player card in the manner of your choosing. Here are the most common variations:
The most common and inexpensive way to identify called numbers is to use plastic tokens or markers, which may be color-coded. They are cheap, lightweight, and transparent.
Some craft-oriented gamers will use laminated or plastic cards and daub the called numbers with paint. Once the game is over, you can easily wipe the markings off with a paper towel or cloth, so the sheets are ready for next time.
More elaborate and expensive cards may have shutters or flaps that you can use to cover called numbers. This option requires thicker, more durable cards, and you’ll likely get fewer per set than you would cheaper, paper options.
Consider the physical size of the set you’re buying and whether that works with the storage space you plan to use and/or any potential travel. Cages can be big or small. If you want to take the game with you on the road, larger options may become tedious to haul around.
Bingo is a relatively accessible game, but you should still make sure that everyone who may play can clearly read their card. Some sets boast a larger font size to make it easier to identify the numbers.
Inexpensive bingo sets will be made of plastic, including the cage, but spending a little more money may get you something durable and even elegant. There are games with metal cages on the market, as well as sets with wooden boards and balls.
You’ll have many choices of color when it comes to cards, balls, and markers. While color options serve an aesthetic purpose, they can also help players differentiate between rows and columns.
Most comprehensive, quality bingo sets cost between $20-$40. These will include everything you need for a game. Some, on the higher end, may be made of a more durable material than plastic.
A. Bingo sets may include as few as eight player cards or as many as 50 or 100. Those with fewer will likely be of higher quality. Consider whether you’ll be playing bingo at home with friends and family or at events with big groups. Also, remember that there is always the option to buy (or make) additional cards in the future.
A. The longest game of bingo calls for players to try to cover their whole board, but there are other variations. You can opt to play for the corners, create a line, or be the first to cover an ‘X’ on the board. One version has players guess ahead of time which numbers will be called. In another, the winner is the last person who achieves bingo. Try as many as you can think of to find your favorite.
Front Porch Classics State Fair Bingo
Our take: Elegant, nostalgic set features wooden player cards, calling board, and bingo balls.
What we like: Classic bingo set that’s durable and beautiful. Cage moves easily and without much noise. Player cards feature shutters.
What we dislike: Expensive option. Limited player cards.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
Pressman Toy’s Deluxe Cage Bingo
Our take: Compact, portable bingo set for small or medium-size groups.
What we like: Great set for taking on trips. Includes 21 cards and 100 plastic markers.
What we dislike: Plastic construction is fairly flimsy. Some durability concerns.
Where to buy: Sold by Kohl's
Regal Games Deluxe Bingo Game Set
Our take: Easy to assemble bingo game set.
What we like: Includes everything you need to jumpstart bingo game nights.
What we dislike: Numbers are hard to read.
Where to buy: Sold at Amazon
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Anthony Marcusa writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.