This is 'Try something new...', a series of articles encouraging you to get out there and, as you may have guessed, try something new. What that thing is may vary wildly, sometimes we will be well experienced and other times we will be a beginner trying it for the first time just like you! Today I want to talk to you about a feature you can access right here on Love Our Adventures, it is something that will encourage you to get outdoors and explore, or keep the little ones occupied and entertained for a while. It is something I personally enjoy playing from time to time and hope you can get in a game or two yourself...
You may love the outdoors and taking long walks in nature, but we all know that sometimes you just lack the inspiration and motivation to get the fresh air and exercise we all need. Maybe you are sick of all of the local walks and need a new reason to get out there, want an excuse to venture down new routes or are just looking for something to keep the little ones entertained during the long summer holidays. Let me introduce Adventurer's Bingo - a simple game in principle that can really add some extra fun to pretty much any day out. It can be a reason to get out of your front door and explore, a supplement to a planned day out to add a little challenge or even a fun bit of competition to your day. If you know your way around bingo and understand the concept of a scavenger hunt then you are more than ready to begin, but if you want to know how it works, the rules that need to be agreed and some variants you could play then read on.
How Bingo Works and how Adventurer's Bingo differs
Bingo is a simple game to understand, traditionally the game is played with a grid of numbers, typically 5 wide and 5 tall, with a caller hollering out randomly selected numbers; you cross numbers off of your bingo card until you complete a line - that line can be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Your completed line is a 'Bingo', which means you have won the game - the game is a race to finish first between all players. Traditionally the card has a 'free' space in the middle, this is a space that is ticked off by default so you can mark this one off at the start of the game. If you are curious, the reason for this is because the middle space is the most valuable, most squares contribute to 2 or 3 lines but the middle square contributes to 4 lines (vertical, horizontal and both diagonals). So, when competing against other players if one player gets the middle square earlier it makes their win much more straightforward.
Think of Adventurer's Bingo as a scavenger hunt on a bingo card. Instead of numbers, the card has a collection of random items you are likely to find out there in the world and your job is to find them. As soon you find one of the items on your grid, cross it off and once you have a completed line you have won the game. If the game is over quicker than you would like you can either re-roll a new grid or continue playing until you manage to tick off the entire grid. That's it - you know how to play, so let us get you into a game...
Setting up a game of Adventurer's Bingo
Getting started is easy, just head over to the bingo page here and a card will be automatically generated. You can generate a new card or a card without the 'free' square using the controls at the bottom of the page, if playing against someone its best to keep the free square, but if you are playing alone you can remove that square to make the game last a little longer. Give the card a skim over and make sure everything is possible - we always play with a little leeway, so if something would be difficult to find depending on where you are then agree to the next closest approximation or regenerate the card until you get a viable one. For example, 'driftwood' would be easiest to find by the coast, but if I am playing inland then any piece of wood floating on a body of water can count for the same. Likewise, if you roll a farm animal but are playing a game in the city then you may want to allow pictures of the animal to count as well. Alternatively, don't agree to these rules beforehand, it can be a fun addition to negotiate what counts and what doesn't while the game is going to add an extra layer of distraction and strategy! You can be strict in your implementation of these rules, but remember your competitors will do the same too...
Once you have your ruleset agreed, next is a timeframe - obviously, you can just play until someone wins but you can also play to clear as many tiles as possible, get as many lines as possible or even try to clear the entire grid within a certain time set. There is no reason why games cannot span multiple days (just be sure to save the URL to your game somewhere safe when you take a break, the URL will update to link to your current card and which tiles you have ticked off already). You should also agree to rules on what area the game will cover, whether it will span multiple journeys or just one and whether you are limited to a certain area or free-reign. For example, I played recently where I had a maximum of 2 hours, I was on a bike (but could also walk) and could ride as far as I wanted - in the past, I have played games with no restrictions and had just as much fun either way! You could absolutely use this as a fun way to make long car journeys more interesting, just make sure the driver isn't too distracted by it...
If you are playing over a set timeframe and draw something only viewable at a specific time, such as sunset or sunrise, you could re-roll the card, come up with a suitable solution or (as I often do) just call it bad luck and try to play around it - it is all up to you. One general rule I always play by is the players themselves cannot count towards the results, for example, if I am out riding a bike I cannot use myself as a 'cyclist', likewise if you are out driving in a blue car you must find another one to count for the 'Car - Blue' item.
All that is left to do is decide what your goal is, you can play to the first bingo line completed, whoever gets the most bingo lines in the game, whoever gets the most overall tiles or whoever can clear the whole grid first. My personal preference is a combination of all of the above, where I play to clear the entire grid if possible (to make the game as long as possible), but most bingo lines would take the win at the end of the time limit unless there is a draw, in which case most tiles wins it - if no one achieved a bingo once time had run out, we extend the game until first bingo or go by most tiles if we can't keep playing longer. The crucial thing here is to make sure you tailor the game's rules to suit your location, duration and players to make it as fun as possible.
Extra game modes & rulesets
There are plenty of ways to extend the challenge further too, here are some ideas that can change the game in fun ways:
- Evidence Required: You must get a photo or video of each item you wish to tick off - makes certain objects (such as wildlife and cars) a little more difficult to capture
- Teamwork: Each player has a unique grid but instead of competing you are working together to score the highest score possible (a good way to keep the little ones from fighting is by encouraging them to help one another)
- Matching Grids: Instead of generating a grid each, take the same grid and compete to clear it fastest. You could split up and race to see who clears it first, or travel together while crossing items off as you find them (all the while hoping the other player doesn't spot what you saw!)
- No Maps: A rule I often play by is I am not allowed to check maps, meaning not only can I not search for things nearby that I can tick off but I also cannot navigate generally using any map, which adds to the fun and results in me exploring areas I wouldn't otherwise. Feel free to break out the paper maps or go full-on old school and get around using only roadsigns and path markers. If you are someone who struggles with navigation and a natural sense of direction, this can be a good way to practice
- Reversi Bingo: This can be played with matching or unique grids, but now you have the opportunity to 'untick' your opponent's items. When someone calls an item they tick it off as normal, but if another player spots that item again (note: it cannot be the exact same instance of that item, for example, if someone sees a horse and ticks it off, the next player must find a different horse) they can call it out and that removes it from the other player's card. Then, if that player finds yet another instance of that item that they need, they can tick it off their card. Keep ticking off and unticking items until time runs out or someone calls bingo! If you use this rule and attempt to clear a whole grid it can make games last ages!
Seriously - don't forget to save...
If you are playing a game that spans multiple days, or simply don't want to risk accidentally closing your tab and losing it then don't worry - there is a simple solution. The page URL contains the important details including your current card and any squares you have ticked off, simply copy it and store it somewhere safe (or bookmark the page) and when you come back to that URL your card will be waiting for you. You can also copy it from the field just above the bingo card here:
The last step to get underway is to decide how you want to keep a track of your game, obviously, the bingo card is set up to work on desktops and phones, so you can just keep it open in a browser and tap each item to tick them off, but you can also print your bingo card if you prefer - if you are venturing far from civilisation then this might be a good idea, the last thing you want to do is find yourself lost with little battery left on your phone. If you chose to play on your screen then the card will track your progress by tapping on a tile to mark it as 'found', once a line is complete it will automatically update to 'bingo'.
Now you are ready to set off and see how well you can do, best of luck! For a more visual example, here is a quick summary of a game I played recently: