David Lanphear

Birthday Bingo

This year, I wanted to give my wife more than a gift for her birthday. Being pent up inside for a while has led us to try to make the mundane a bit more magical. And with a birthday in the middle of winter, the options are somewhat limited. So instead of choosing between a gift or experience to use now – while many places have limited capacities – or a gift to use when her birthday is long over, I decided on a gamified series of gifts to use throughout the year.

What I created was Birthday Bingo. It’s a 5×5 matrix containing 25 potential gift offerings. She’s guaranteed to get some of her favorite things due to the repetition of some key squares. However most other items are one-offs.

In reality, there are 2 ways to play:

  1. Traditional Game-Style: Create a series of pieces of papers labeled B-I-N-G-O and a corresponding number, 1-5. In this way, you’ll have B1, B2 all the way through to O4 and O5. Put these pieces of paper in a bowl and have the gift recipient draw them one at a time, placing the piece of paper in the corresponding Bingo square. Once they have reached 5 in a row, the game is over and the prizes have been awarded.
  2. Choice: Have the recipient simply pick out 5 squares in a row. Those are the prizes they select. This sounds quick & easy – but often it’s riddled with tough choices and can take some time to figure out with row is most desired.

Prizes don’t have to be immediately given. In fact, that’s part of the fun. The lucky birthday person now has all year to use up their 5 gifts whenever and wherever they please.

So what do you think? Have you or will you ever play Birthday Bingo? Feel free to use my board as an example or update and make it your own!

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