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Mon, Sept. 16

From Golden Valley to Kingman, Bunco cliques have sprouted everywhere

Diane Glenn (right) and Eileen Daly (left) playing Bunco. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Daily Miner)

Diane Glenn (right) and Eileen Daly (left) playing Bunco. (Photo by Agata Popeda/Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – Once a month, several Kingman ladies gather to play Bunco, an obscure 19th century indoor game, which started in England. Imported to San Francisco, it spread across America. Presently, it celebrates its big comeback – it was estimated that in 2006 27 million American women played it on a regular basis.

Hanna and Diane Glenn recently started their own group in Kingman. Twelve people are needed to go through the whole Bunco ordeal, because even though there’s none easier and possibly no more fun game in the world, there’s a whole ritual involved. Chatting, group cheering, delicious food and wine of every color are certainly part of it. Maybe that’s why women seem to have monopoly here.

It was excellent chicken salad served with croissants and macaroni salad by Eileen Daly, who hosted Flamingood Bunco at her place June 4. I was invited as a sub and came early, nervous and excited because, as I said, Bunco looks complicated from the outside.

There are three tables and a constant movement of players, with a lot of moments of utter frenzy when the whole table screams “BUNCO!!!” as if nothing else in the world matters.

The ladies play Bunco once a month, which gives all members of the group a chance to host once a year. Eileen chose a Flamingo motif, which went perfectly with her magical garden and delicious German kuchnens (cakes with plums, cherries and apples) she served during an intermission.

In terms of the game itself, there’s nothing more to it than you and pure luck. Of course, you can lie to yourself while developing sophisticated techniques of rolling the dice, but at the end there’s nothing more than that to it: rolling ones, rolling twos, rolling Bunco!

That night first prize went to Jackie Timmerman for most “buncos,” and I actually, after some additional rolling, came in second. Bonnie Henshaw won the “door prize” and Sherlene Sammeli earned “most losses.” In fact, some players confess that they actually prefer to lose – that’s a good way to win, too.

According to the Washington Post, Bunco is sometimes referred to as the housewife's drinking game. But for local women, it’s a way of staying in touch and meeting other ladies in the community and across generations.

It’s not easy to permanently land a membership in a Bunco clique. But after you try it, you might like to start your own.

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