I was chatting down my local with my assorted Bingo chums, and one of them, a caller like me for nigh on 10 years, started complaining about the quality of software for bingo games. He said that this wasn't the software that's used for online Bingo sites, like Tombola and BingoCafe UK, he meant software that can be used for playing at home, and in pubs/social clubs etc. He said that he had "retired" from big calling at the larger Bingo Halls such as Mecca and Gala, and now called at old people's homes, village fete gatherings, church hall do's etc., mostly free of charge, for charity. But he said that there was no decent Bingo Game software application that could be used from a lap-top and provide all you wanted to run a game.
He said that it seemed as though that all the bingo software available had been created by people who were experts at software progamming, but knew nothing about Bingo.
This was new territory for me, so I did some nosing around!
First of all I wound him up by telling him that I'd found a great programme for Bingo on a dvd format: Unfortunately it was a kiddies thing featuring Thomas the Tank Engine!
"Just match the numbers on the board - The first one to fill in the pattern and shout BINGO wins!
Great for play dates and parties, Thomas & Friends Bingo is small enough to take anywhere and even comes in its own carrying case
DVD includes on-screen demonstration of game play
Keep the fun on track with real TV show clips featuring Thomas & Friends!"
So it was a sort of Bingo... and it was educational: There are also short video clips shown during the game. It does take longer to play than a traditional bingo game but it is entertaining for the Thomas fan while practicing number identification.
My Caller friend was not amused, and the quest continued!
I then found something called "Bingoware". The good news is that it's free, because it's "open source" (ask your IT mate what that means!) It creates
randomly generated Bingo cards and provides a game play mode, which draws random bingo number and lists all winning cards. Bingoware is not intended for online gaming, but rather to ease the administration of a live Bingo online. Typical use consists of generating bingo cards and then using the web based software to draw numbers and inform you of winning cards.
The programme is quite versatile. It lets you view or print any card and you can choose from many patterns from normal, full card, square, T, X, N, Z, and User-defined. All winning patterns are customizable from an interactive web page.
It also has the Bingo game rules that can be printed on the back of the card Possibility to print the rules on the back of each card.
I found the installation easy and it had a number of with optional configuration options. The next uprated version of the software is going to have a number of improvements including a computerized voice reading the numbers drawn.
But the one that best seemed to fit the bill for my friend is called the Bingo Caller software package. It seems to have been created specifically to be used in place of an expensive electronic bingo machine in clubs, or a tumbler/spinner/lucky dip in home/club games. I think that the software would be ideal for small clubs, pubs, parties, home games, etc.
Also there's a demo version to download and try, and it is current and still supported: version 1.38 was released 16th October 2011. –
In fact I was so sure that my Bingo Caller friend would like it, that I bought a full version. It seemed that that was £12.50 well spent, because my mate said it was exactly the thing he had been looking for! Bingo!