How to Have a Virtual Bingo Night with Your Friends

The world has traded coffee dates for Skype dates, and we’re trading the local hall for online bingo. The best part? You get to stay in your favourite pyjamas while playing your favourite game of bingo with your besties! Here’s how to host the purrfect virtual bingo night.

1. Gather your kittens
And by kittens, we mean friends, of course! A games night is only as good as the people we spend it with. Whether you want to bring your mates from the hall together again for a much-needed reunion or reconnect with your all-time favourites in a new and playful way, online bingo offers a night of fun for everyone. Remember to nominate someone to be the official caller, and avoid any catfights! Now gather your clowder and get ready to pick what to play.

2. Choose your game
Is it to be 90-ball, 75-ball, or 30-ball? What do you choose when they all sound so fluffing good? Let’s take a look at each game to see which is the best online bingo game for you.

Informally known as “housey-housey”, this is the classic UK game with 90 balls. For this game, bingo cards feature 27 spaces, 9 columns, and 3 rows. Each row has 5 numbers and 4 blank spots, and each column has up to 3 numbers. Numbers in column 1 are 1 to 10, numbers in column 2 are 11 to 20, numbers in column 3 – well, you get the drift! The best thing about this version is that there are 3 winners! And as you know, sharing is caring. Win by getting 1 line, 2 lines, all 4 corners, or a full house – meowzers!

The traditional American version played on a square 5x5 card, with “BINGO” displayed at the top, each letter labelling a column. Columns have 5 numbers, each ranging:
B – 1 to 15
I – 16 to 30
N – 31 to 45
G – 46 to 60
O – 61 to 75.
There’s a predetermined winning pattern to each game, and the first to get it is crowned “The One, The Ultimate – Kitty Queen (or King)”! With more than 300 patterns to get your paws on, things are kept super-interesting.

Or, in a way, speed bingo! Cards are 3x3 with 9 numbers and 30 balls. Race your way to a full house with one or multiple cards. If fast and fun is the way you like to live your life, this is the game for you!

3. Get online

Now that you and your friends have decided on a game, you’ll need to choose a platform to connect on. There are so many options, but here are a few we recommend:

Easy to access via laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones either on Chrome, via call or on the app, Zoom is a popular choice – and for good reason! Video calls with up to 100 people are available (you set them up as “meetings”, and invite people via email), so if you're looking for a virtual party, this is your go-to app. The only disadvantage is that the free version of the app allows only for 40-minute calls – which is great for speed bingo, but not for long catch-ups. (Secret tip: you can always go back into the original “meeting” by clicking the link you were emailed… but don’t say we told you!)

Most people already have or at least know of Skype, so we’re off to a good start, here. This is a completely free option for connecting remotely with your friends. And because Skype provides its services across a large range of devices (you can download the app on your phone, for example), it should work for what you need. You can even call up Skype on your TV if you have a USB webcam (how cool is that?)! With a 50-person limit for video calls that do not carry a time limit, this is a great choice – and it’s easy to use, too!

Facebook Messenger rooms
Remember the days before Facebook? Neither do we! Well, we have some great news for you! Facebook Messenger has a new feature where you can host up to 50 people in a video chat room! And what’s really awesome about this is that this is even available to Gran, who’s never heard of Facebook and doesn't have a profile (but is still the best bingo player you know).

For a smaller, more intimate vibe, Discord allows you to set up a video-call room and invite up to 10 of your best buddies. It’s got a free and easy UI (user interface), which makes it approachable even for the technophobes in your group!
Our only recommendation, here, is to officially invite all your friends’ cats to the party too, because we all know how much our beloved feline friends love to involve themselves in our video calls. You could even take some cute screengrabs during the video call if you wanna be a top cat!
Just make sure you have a fast and reliable internet connection to avoid any awkward miscommunication or technical glitches.

4. What’s on the cards?
This is where you put your thinking cat on and get creative! You can either download card templates straight off the internet or make your own using a random number generator online. If you’re feeling extra creative, you could even replace the numbers with pictures of different breeds of cats and test everyone’s knowledge and skills! You’ll probably have to do a bit of planning beforehand, and contact everyone who’s going to play to make sure they’ve got what they need ahead of the video call – and remember someone will have to be the bingo caller!

5. Snacks, snacks, snacks
Don’t forget the most important part… snacks! The three cardinal rules of games-night snacks are: 1) no mess; 2) quick and easy to prepare, and 3) easy to eat! Spicy chicken wings may be tasty, but your keyboard or smartphone won’t be happy about it the next morning. Homemade lasagne may hit the spot, literally every time, but you’ll want to spend your time with your friends and not in the kitchen. So think popcorn in a paper cone; spring rolls and samosas with dips; mini doughnuts on a stick; and flatbreads with guacamole and salsa. Have your favourite drinks and snacks on hand – whatever they may be – so you’re ready for action. Of course, if you’re feeling generous, you could go a step further and send all the friends you’ll be playing with a little goody pack so that everyone can share in the delight on the night!

6. ‘Did someone say prizes?’

Everyone loves playing bingo and spending time with each other, but the best games nights always involve prizes, too – nothing big, just a little something to end the night off on a sweet note. You could have a grand prize for the winner(s), or give everyone something small to thank them for playing. Homemade cupcakes, bubble bath bombs, a bottle of wine or even a cool voucher (you can buy a lot of different ones online) are all thoughtful gifts that your friends are going to love. Or you could ask everyone to make a small contribution into a kitty, which would contribute to the grand prize. Alternatively, if you're planning to have a few game nights, take it in turns to “host the party” – so each week someone different can be in charge of gifts and prizes.

It’s play time!
You’ve got your friends primed for the virtual party, and you’ve sorted your bingo cards, and your snacks. Poised and ready to play? There’s just one teeny-tiny, little secret we’ve been keeping from you, though. To avoid any technological glitches, you can also make playing the game super-simple and sleek – and have everyone join an online bingo site. All you have to do is get everyone to show up at the same time, join a game, have a natter (to whoever’s in the chat room), nibble your snacks, and have a right blast without any of the fuss.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place: Kitty Bingo offers some of the best online bingo and chat rooms out there. And if you’ve out-bingoed yourself, have no fear, Kitties! Because we have a mewsive range of online slots and other fun online casino games for you to enjoy! To become a member of Kitty Bingo, register here.

/ 19 March 2021