You wouldn’t play chess without a board and pieces, would you? Well then you can’t just turn up at a venue with dozens of attendees and start playing bingo, you need equipment!
To play a game of bingo you only really need 3 key things - Bingo tickets, daubers and numbers. Because there’s so few things to gather, you might as well do them all right.
Of course, you can’t play bingo if you don’t have any numbers to call. When it comes to generating numbers, you have three options - a bingo ball machine, an electronic number generator or an online number generator.
A bingo ball machine is the most traditional way of generating bingo numbers. It consists of a round cage, filled with numbered balls, which is turned with a handle until it releases a random number.
You will have to buy or hire a bingo ball machine for your event, but they are very affordable due to how simple they are and are easy to find online. Plus, the traditional sound of the balls, the turning of the handle and the suspense as the ball is drawn will make the event feel more fun!
An electronic number generator is a simple device that you can place on a table in view of all your players. When prompted, the device randomly generates a number (you can choose between 90 and 75 ball bingo) and displays it on the screen.
This is the easiest way to generate numbers for your bingo game as all you need to do is plug it in and press a few buttons, with very little set up and no external devices needed.
However, this is also the most expensive method of generating numbers to buy. You can get cheaper devices that run off of batteries, or cut the cost by hiring one from a party/events company instead of buying one, but you’re paying extra for the convenience with one of these machines.
Unlike the other options, an online number generator is completely free. These websites or apps let you choose a type of bingo and then generates numbers for you, with no set up.
The only thing you’ll need is a computer, laptop or tablet to run the site/app on and an internet connection. If your venue has a TV or a projector, you may be able to display the numbers on there as they are called too.
An easy option for a smaller event may be to run the generator on a tablet or laptop with the screen facing towards the players.
To find the right generator for you, simply search for “bingo number generator” on google or in the app store and try out some options.
To mark off the numbers on their tickets, players will need to have some kind of marker or bingo dauber to play. Bingo daubers are the most traditional tool for this, but it can be difficult to find someone who sells bingo daubers in supermarkets or your average store.
If you want to be prepared, the best place to buy bingo daubers from is from a specialist bingo supplier. You can find many bingo tool websites online, from marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, or in stores like Wilko.
You can buy daubers in bulk and hand them out at your bingo night, but if you request that your players bring their own daubers then you’ll be able to reduce your equipment budget by quite a lot.
If you decide to go this route, be sure to make sure everyone knows to bring a marker/dauber well in advance of the date and tell them where they can buy one from.
You could also buy a few yourself to keep as spares, just in case someone doesn’t bring one.
Unlike the other equipment, the bingo cards can only be used once. This means you’re going to need to make enough to cater for everyone you’ve invited to play all the games you have planned for the night. So what are your options?
Remember that people may want to buy more than one ticket to give themselves a better shot at winning the top prize. You should decide on the maximum tickets you want to sell before the day, to avoid disappointment.
You can buy books of 90 ball bingo tickets in post offices, bookshops, newsagents, office suppliers and online. These books give you a large quantity of tickets for an affordable price, with a book of 600 tickets available for under £5.
Having such a large number of tickets is a great idea, as it means people can buy multiple tickets and you can run many games with just a small investment.
You can buy 75 ball bingo tickets online too, though they might be a bit harder to track down. Your best bet might be to generate them yourself online.
A good way to create more personalised bingo tickets is to use an online generator like My Free Bingo Cards. Sites like this allow you to choose between 90 and 75 ball bingo, then let you customise the design of the ticket and write your own custom headers too.
Once you’ve customised them to your liking, you can generate up to 30 printable tickets completely free. If you are hosting a larger bingo night, you can pay to generate up to 500 cards for under 10p per card.
This is not the most cost effective way of ensuring you have enough tickets, but it does allow you to have a lot of control over what they look like! If an interesting design is important to you, then this might be the answer.
To make things easy for you, we have created a series of themed bingo tickets that you can download over on our bingo night resources page. Here you can choose between a number of fun themes and we have and choose between 90 or 75 ball bingo. We even have matching posters too!
Our downloadable posters are a good start, but you'll need to send your players somewhere on the night. So where should you host your bingo night?