HCPA members enjoy game of Bunco
Historic Catasauqua Preservation Association (HCPA) held a unique fundraiser at the Biery House, Catasauqua, March 9. Although HCPA boasts a varied member list, this event was for women only.
The event centered around Bunco, a game that Google and at least one attendee confirmed requires no skill.
Bunco originally started as a confidence game in the 18th century and moved to a parlor game after the Civil War. The game’s popularity peaked in the ’80s, but it is still played frequently by women.
Bunco groups in the area were represented by the Bunco Babes, who added a level of expertise to the affair.
The game consists of six games, with six rounds each. There are four people per table who play in pairs. The head table controls the pace of the game. As soon as one pair at the head table scores 21, the round is over and everyone switches places.
You score points by rolling three dice. A one in round one gets one point. Roll three ones, and its 21 points. Roll three of any number, except threes, and get five points. Roll three threes, and all your points are wiped, except in round three. Got it?
Change tables and go to round two. Roll a two and get a point.
Your partner is always varying, so everyone gets to meet everyone invited.
Prizes went to the highest point total, most Buncos and most travelers (that is the person rolling three threes).
The enjoyable part of the task is to drink and eat. No matter where Bunco is played, drink and eat are high on the list.
During the Prohibition era, drink and food were still high on the list making the games targets for the local Eliot Ness types. The raids by the select anti-drink crowd gave rise to the term “Bunco Squad.”
Unfortunately for HCPA, one of the invited failed to show. The group drafted this reporter to fill in the vacant seat. He did not win a prize, but he owed $10 to HCPA.