Gambling-oriented games have been appearing on Facebook since its early years, and now a small app by the name of Bunco Blast has been holding itself steady for the past few months. Developed by QD Ideas, the game is a digital rendition of the analog dice game originally known as “8-Dice Cloth” from England, but was repopularized as a gambling game in the 1920s and again as a family game in the 1980s.
A game of pure luck, Bunco, is an easy game to get into and play just for fun. Likely not as appealing, for some, as more skill based gambling apps, such as Texas Hold’Em, the Facebook app of Bunco Blast has reached around 150,000 monthly active users for several months, with a lower, yet still fairly steady DAU total. Simple and luck-based though it may be, it’s a game that’s oddly hypnotic in its play, and while it may lack significant longevity, it is a pretty fun game to play with friends every once and a while.
The game is simple. Players pair up in teams of two (red versus blue) and roll a set of three dice for six rounds. In order to win a round, a cumulative score of 21 must be reached. In order to earn a point, players must roll the number that corresponds to the current round, with one point awarded for dice that lands on that number. Also, landing on said number will allow the player to roll again.
In addition to this scoring method, should players roll three of any number that is not the current round, they will score five points as a “Baby Bunco” (which also lets the player roll again). If they role three of the number that is the current round, they will automatically win the round for their team with a full “Bunco.” The team that wins a best out of six rounds, wins the game.
After winning a game, players are rewarded with an in-game currency called “chips” as well as experience. Though the later appears nothing more than a visual representation of how much a user has played, it does play a role in friend leaderboards. As for the chips, these also have a traditional use, although not all that much of one.
Chips are rewarded for logging in, using a daily lottery, inviting friends, rolling a Bunco or Baby Bunco, or winning Bunco games. Their primary purpose appears to be used for joining or creating games, but there doesn’t seem to be any control in actually betting them. It would be fantastic if it were possible to bet specified amounts or require a certain buy-in level of sorts.
The reason for this is because chips can also be used to purchase more unique dice cups and dice for the player. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to actually buy, but it does help a little bit with the game’s longevity by creating a short term goal. In fact, the items that do exist look pretty nice and it would be great if more items were available for purchase. Nothing gaudy, but perhaps table logos, backgrounds, or some such for when users create their own games.
In fact, that is another element worth noting. Players can log in and join most of the games already in progress, but can always create their own private games for their friends. Furthermore, there is never a need for all four players, as the game will automatically roll for slots that are unfilled. In fact, players can even “pause” the game from their end and the AI will roll for them until they come back.
Joining games does lead to a minor complaint though. There’s a good number of games to choose from in Bunco’s lobby area, yet they are all clumped together with new ones popping up every couple of seconds. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the constantly updating list makes it somewhat obnoxious to find a game that a friend has created. It’s not too much of a challenge to find it, but it would be nice to have a search function, or some means to join a specific game (since friends will probably know the name before hand).
As for anything else worth noting, players can chat with each other during game play and also earn little achievements (e.g. rolling the most Buncos in a game) at the end. Unfortunately, the actual segment of the game slated for “Awards” is not yet available.
Overall, Bunco Blast is a pretty simple nice game, that misses out on the ability to truly “gamble” one’s chips. Even so, it’s bizarrely alluring and fun to play for short periods of time; especially with a group of friends. In addition to this, the ability to purchase unique cups and dice is a nice plus, but only makes us wish there were more to buy. This lack of expenditure eventually causes the game to lose some of it’s appeal in the long haul, making it a title many may only return to play now and again.