There’s been a major language and cultural barrier between the UK and the US. That’s why if you told the average Brit that you had a transmission problem on your auto and it’s sitting by the sidewalk with its hood up they might give you a blank stare. But tell them that your gearbox was broken so you’re by the pavement with your bonnet open and they might get the picture.
Bingo is no different
So it’s no big surprise that there are also some pretty major differences in the ways that the two countries play bingo and, if you’re searching for the best bingo site online, it could pay to be aware of some of these differences. Because, although you’ll find sites with a good choice of familiar-looking games, there are going to be some unexpected features and cultural quirks that it’s good to know about in advance. That way you’ll be prepared for them and if they do pop up you won’t be taken by surprise.
75 ball v 90 ball
If you’re used to playing bingo US-style then the chances are that the game you’ve come across most often is the 75-ball version of the game. In this, numbers between 1 and 75 are drawn out at random and you have to see if they feature on your five-column bingo card, crossing them off as they come up. The objective is to create a particular shape on the grid from crossed-out numbers and the first player who gets there wins the prize.
UK bingo, on the other hand, tends to be played with 90 balls, so with numbers 1 to 90 instead. The bingo cards themselves have a 3 x 9 grid with 15 numbers on and 12 blank squares and players may have a number of cards on the go at once. Just like in US bingo, players cross off the numbers as they are called but in this case, the aim is to fill in one, two, or all three of the lines on a card and there are prizes of ascending value for each.
It’s thought that the 90 ball game was brought back to the UK by soldiers returning after the Second World War and it stuck. The extra complications of the game might have appealed more to the British – you just have to look at the comparison between baseball and cricket to see that they like complex more than simple.
The social aspect
The other major difference between the two countries’ approach to bingo is that in the UK it has always been a more social and less competitive activity. At its peak in the 1950s and 60s, millions of mainly women players used to head out for a night with friends at their local bingo hall, with the bingo being a side attraction. This is something that still lives on in some parts of the UK.
So if you’re playing bingo with a Brit, remember to keep your competitive impulses in check and, as they say over in the UK, you’ll soon be getting on famously.