Bingo appeals to people of all ages and from every walk of life so it makes a really great icebreaker. An exciting, more personal version of bingo that is an even better icebreaker is called People Bingo. People Bingo is the latest fad for getting to know people in a variety of situations – including parties, meetings and corporate functions, and children’s first day of school, among many others.
What makes this game so great for getting to know new people is that People Bingo cards contain information about the various players, which other players need to find out in order to succeed.
Because we are crazy about all things “bingo” (and we know you are too), we thought it would be fun to introduce you to this getting-to-know-you-game. Here are the basics of People Bingo and some useful tips and tricks for making the most of it:
Draw Up your Bingo Board Layout
Before you can play People Bingo, you need to put together your game. The great thing about this icebreaker is that it is incredibly inexpensive to set up. All you need is a bingo card – with a 5 x 5 square grid – for each of your participants and you can create these cards yourself.
People Bingo cards really don’t have to look fancy. It’s totally fine to draw a grid on a piece of paper and fill it with the info we’re going to describe next. Of course, for a corporate event, you might want to go with something with a more professional finish. There are plenty of great-looking People Bingo layouts for you to download for free online – then just print out as many as you need. (It’s a good idea to make a few extras, just in case.)
Get your People Bingo Facts
Instead of numbers, the squares on a People Bingo card contain information about the various players. If you know your players well – as would be the case at, say, a bachelorette party – you can make up a list based on what you know about each of your guests. Facts on these more personal lists might include some of the following:
- Has a cat called Skippy
- Is obsessed with Reggae music,
- Is a professional basketball player
- Loves art by Van Gogh
- Is an aspiring novelist
- Once ate 10 burgers in an all you can eat contest
Alternatively, in situations like corporate events, where you may be meeting the players for the first time yourself, you can create a more generic list of facts. The quickest and easiest way to generate this kind of list is by downloading one from the Internet. Again, there are loads of sites that offer free lists of generic People Bingo facts. These might include some of the following:
- Is left-handed
- Has two kids
- Is married
- Is single
You can then write these facts on pieces of paper and place them in a hat or other container to be drawn at random during the game. You must also write these facts onto the People Bingo cards that you have created. Remember to write the most facts on more than one board.
Decide on the Rules
As in standard bingo, there are various ways in which People Bingo players can fill their cards. You can decide which of these you want to include in your game beforehand. The various standard options include the following:
- Blackout – the entire card completed.
- Five in a row – five boxes in a row, either across, down or diagonally.
- X – two intersecting diagonal lines from corner to corner through the middle of the card.
- Picture frame – all the outside boxes on the card.
You can offer a different prize for each combination, with a blackout obviously winning the biggest prize of all.
When you’re ready to start your icebreaker, gather your guests and explain the rules. The guests will then have 30 minutes to mingle and get to know one another. During this time, they will gather as much information as possible about their fellow guests to get an edge in the game.
Play People Bingo
Once the mingling session is over, assemble your guests again and hand each of them a People Bingo card and a pencil.
As each fact is drawn from the hat and read out, players with that fact on their cards must rush to reach the person to whom it applies. The first player to get to the correct person will get his or her box signed by that person. Only one signature per fact may be given. It doesn’t matter where each fact appears on the player’s card, if it’s there they can try to get it signed by the relevant person. Obviously, the more you know about the other players, the better your game will be. Having a good memory doesn’t hurt either.