Let Me Hear You Say, 'Bingo!'

Bingo is really a simple but fun game to play. Numbers are drawn randomly and players match these numbers to those in the matrix of the cards that they are playing. One can win the game by forming a specified pattern from the numbers drawn and calling out the word "Bingo!" The card is then checked for accuracy before the winner is conferred his prize. After which, a new game is begun and a new set of numbers is randomly drawn and specified patterns are set.

Bingo can be traced to a lottery game call Lo Giuoco Code del Lotto from Italy back in 1530. In eighth century France, the game matured and it included playing cards, tokens and the reading of numbers. Edwin Lowe is acknowledged to have the concept of the bingo game that we are now familiar with. He based this in a carnival game called Beano which was played with dried beans, a rubber stamp and cardboard sheets.

In order to play Bingo, a player must have cards, not the regular playing cards though. Bingo cards are traditionally flat pieces of cardboard with 5x5 matrices. Number from 1-75 are printed in each grid with a specific distribution. The letters B, I, N, G, O are printed above the five columns, with one letter per column. For B, numbers 1-15 are distributed; I may contain numbers 16-30; N may contain 31-45; G may contain 46-60 and O, 61-75. The center square is marked FREE. This means that this particular grid is considered as filled. Players often play multiple cards for more chances of winning the prize.

Players use chips in order to mark the numbers that have drawn and are present in a player's card. However, this has proven to be inefficient and inconvenient when playing multiple cards. As of late, special markers have been introduced to the game in order to mark their cards. These special markers are called daubers.

Traditional bingo entailed manual drawing of numbers from a bag or certain containers. However, most modern bingo games have bingo blowers and flashboards. Bingo blowers contains a chamber to blow the numbered balls from, a tube to permit one ball at a time to drop, a master board and a way for the numbered balls to return from the boar back to the chamber.

The simple idea of a bingo game has been used in other games and activities as well. Presently, primary schools use the concept of the bingo game as an instructional tool. During the nineteenth century, the bingo game was used in Germany to teach spelling, animal names and even multiplication tables to children.

There are variations of the bingo game already. Buzzword bingo is a bingo- style game where participants have their own bingo cards but instead of numbers, they have buzzwords. These buzzwords are ticked off when they are mentioned during an event, such as a meeting or speech. In order to win the game, a player must be able to tick off a predetermined number of words in a row. The winner is also expected to yell "Bingo!" Another bingo-derived game is Bovine Bingo which is a traditional rural find raising game that is often played at country fetes and summer fairs for fundraising purposes. Road kill is a game in which the pictures of 24 different animals are placed randomly in a grid, printed on paper or cardboard. The game is traditionally played in vehicles during long distance travel.

Currently, bingo games are organized by churches, charitable institutions, casinos, and are even available online.