Last month's Stump the Net featured a request by Kim Allen for the rules to a dice game called Bunko. I received a flood of responses. You'll find the best of these below.

Thanks to everyone who responded!


Index of Responses

Selfridge Military Community
Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, & Coast Guard Wives


Setup materials

How to Play

The group decides how many games are to be played (generally 3-5).

A game consists of 5 rounds (2's thru 6's). First round you roll for 2's,second round 3's, etc. The OBJECTIVE is for you & your partner (this is the person sitting across from you) to roll more of that round's number than the other team before the Head Table rings the bell.

The Head Table controls the game. To begin, someone at the Head Table rings the bell. All tables begin rolling for that rounds number. Play rotates from player to player clockwise after a player does not roll that rounds number on any of the 3 die.

As soon as a team from the head table gets 21 points, they ring the bell signaling the end of the round. The LOSING team from the HEAD TABLE then leave & go to the #4 table (this is bottom table). The WINNERS stay. Where as, the LOSING teams from tables #2, #3, #4, etc., STAY at there tables & the WINNERS move up to the next table. The goal is to get to the Head Table & stay as long as possible.

You cannot have the same partner twice in a row. So switch @ the new table.

Ghosts - if an individual cannot make it & could not find a sub then whoever has the ghost for a partner rolls for the ghost & gets any of the ghost's bunkos, Monte Carlos (see scoring below), etc. If there are two ghosts they cannot be partners, so just switch at the table. Bunko is over after the designated number of games are played.


Each table has a notepad to keep score. Draw a line down the center & label each column Us & Them. Each table will decide who will be scorekeeper - it can change each round. The scorekeeper keeps track of how many of that round's number is rolled by each team. The scorekeeper can use hash marks or add on the total number rolled after each individual.

After each round you put a W(win) or L(loss) by the appropriate place on the scorecard. Every time you get a bunko, Monte Carlo or snake eyes you make a hash mark on your scorecard. In the end each person totals up their wins, losses, bunkos, Monte Carlos, & wipeouts.


If you are a regular player and you CAN NOT make it, it is your responsibility to FIND a substitute. (A list of regular players & substitutes w/phone numbers is given to every individual) If you CAN NOT FIND A SUB then you still MUST PAY YOUR $5.00!

In practice, the group plays 3 games & then take a break & EAT & then play the remaining games. Snacks like popcorn &/or peanuts, etc. are generally set at each table (M&M's ARE A MUST) so that people can munch throughout the night.

From: Heath Haley (hhaley@datatimes.com)
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 14:14:00 -0600
Subject: Re: Bunko / Bonko


I said it was a easy game but it turns out it is complicated to explain.

The girls play with 3 tables of 4 players. The tables are High, Middle and Low. Players sit across from their partner. Three types of score sheets will be needed. One for each player to keep track of games won. One for each table to keep an us/them score for each game. And, the host will need to keep track of the number of bonkos for each person. When anyone gets a bonko they yell it out and the host records it.

Each table decides who is going first and all tables start at the same time. The first MARK is ONES. On a players turn they roll the 3 dice and count the number of ONES rolled. Each ONE rolled counts as a point. Record them on your table score sheet and roll all 3 again. A players turn continues until they roll the 3 dice and don't get any ONES. Now it is the next players turn. Rolling 3 ONES when ONES is the mark is a Bonko. Bonko scores 21 points. Rolling all 3 dice the same but not the right number for a bonko scores 5 points.

Play continues in round until a partnership at the High table gets 21 points or more. Then the High table rings a bell or shouts stop! The current roller at each table finishes their turn and the next player does not roll. The exception to this is that each player must have had at least one roll. The score is added up and the partnership with the most points advances from Low table to Middle table or Middle table to High table. At the High table the losing partnership moves down to the Low table. If the score is tied then each player get one more turn then add them up again. Now each partnership must change. Everyone gets a new partner. You may have the same partner more than once but not twice in a row.

On the next round the MARK is TWOS. Marks advance each round through SIXES and then back to ONES. These ladies play through SIXES 3 times in about one and a half hours. Each player brings 3 dollars to the game to pay for the prizes. Prizes are bought ahead of time by the host. A 15$ prize goes to the player with the most games. A 12$ prize goes to the player with the must bonkos. A 6$prize goes to the player who bonko'ed last. A 3$ prize goes to the player winning the least amount of games.

This format can work for more or less tables/players. If the have a player not show up then they have someone partner with a Ghost player. Same player rolls for self and then the Ghost on its turn. The Ghost advances or stays according to the table rules and is partnered with someone else the next round.

They always plan a pot luck dinner before the game.

I hope this helps. I love the magazine. Let me know if there are questions. I'm sure I can drum up an expert player to quiz.


From: Stan P Vespie (svespie@juno.com)
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 15:36:23 PST
Subject: bunko

You may be overloaded with bunko responses requested in November by Kim Allen, but I remember playing the dice game "bunko" several years ago.

Here are the rules as I remember them:

1. There are a series of card tables set up in a room in a circle fashion.

2. One table is designated the "head table." The goal of the game is to advance to the head table and continue to win the rounds.

3. Four people set to a table. The two people sitting opposite each other are partners. Every table has a set of dice. (That is, four people, but only two dice at a table.)

4. A person at the head table rolls one dice to get a number for that particular round (i.e., four).

5. Everyone at all the tables then begin to take turns rolling a pair of dice. If the designated number given by the head table is rolled then that team scores points. Remember, the people sitting across from one another are partners trying to beat the other team. The first team to "21" yells, "BUNKO." Play at all the other tables stop immediately with who ever is ahead in score at that particular point advancing.

6. Scoring is as follows:

So if a person at a table rolls doubles, even if it isn't the designated number for that round, they roll again. If they roll doubles (of any combination) three times straight, that team wins the round, screams BUNKO, and advances to the next table. Of course, if they are at the head table, they stay where they are.

7. Every time a couple loses a round, one of them switches chairs at the same table. This way, the partners are never the same except at the head table. PARTNERS AT THE HEAD TABLE REMAIN PARTNERS UNTIL THEY LOSE A ROUND. This way, even the winners at one table - as they advance - are not partners two times straight. (Unless, of course, they finally make it to the head table.) The game is really every man for himself (or herself).

8. Finally, after every round. Someone with a whole puncher, punches every winners card. (At the beginning of the game, you distribute a 3x5 index card to every participant.) The losers sulk, pout, or whatever else losers do.

9. You can either play a pre-determined number of rounds, or, for a twist, a designated amount of time.

Have fun!!

If anything needs clarifying, feel free to e-mail questions.

Stan Vespie

From: "Desiree' Turner" (dturner@revnet.com)
Date: Fri, 20 Dec 1996 13:23:31 -0600
Subject: Bunko

Hey Ken,

Give this a try. http://www.cris.com/~Dhathaw/bunko.sht
You were right about the spelling.


From: "Daniel U. Thibault" (selinur@io.com)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1997 10:52:37 -0700
Subject: Buck Dice

Could this be the game of Buck Dice? In R. C. Bell's "Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations", Volume 1, there are three paragraphs devoted to it:

Any number can play and each player throws the three dice to determine the order, highest leading and lowest having his turn last. The low man throws a single die to give the Point Number.

The opening player throws 3 dice and scores 1 point for each Point Number thrown, continuing to throw until he throws no instance of the Point Number. The dice then pass to the next player. Each player drops out upon reaching exactly 15 points. Last player left in is the loser.

If a player throws a total above 15 (e.g. he had 14 points and threw 2 or 3 instances of the Point Number), the throw is not counted and the dice are passed on. Any three of a kind except that of the Point Number is a Little Buck, worth 5 points. When a triple Point Number is thrown, it is a Big Buck and the player is immediately credited with 15 points, whatever his previous score may have been. The player shooting first has a slight advantage.

Daniel U. Thibault

From: Michael Keller (Wgreview@aol.com)
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 1996 05:11:01 -0500
Subject: Bunco Deluxe

I have the rules to a dice game called Bunco Deluxe. It's a rather silly game with NO decision-making whatsoever. It uses three dice. In Round 1 each player throws the dice, trying to throw as many 1's as possible. Each throw with at least one 1 earns another throw. In round 2, everyone tries to throw 2's, etc., through round 6. Threes of a kind earn a bonus of 21 points if they match the round number, 5 points otherwise.

The game was created by the Taak company and published by the Ungame Company in 1988, and retailed for $12. Undoubtedly it's out of print by now.

Best wishes,

The Game Cabinet - editor@gamecabinet.com - Ken Tidwell