If you’re not familiar with Bunco, this is my experience with it from wikipedia:
As it is played today, Bunco is a social dice game involving 100% luck and no skill (there are no decisions to be made), scoring and a simple set of rules. Women who are part of a Bunco club take turns as the Bunco hostess, providing snacks, refreshments and the tables to set up the games. The hostess may also provide a door prize. Small amounts of money can be involved as well. The object of the game is to accumulate points and to roll certain combinations. The winners get prizes (provided by the hostess or pooled from the club resources) for accomplishments such as the highest score, the lowest score, or the most buncos. Prizes frequently center on themes associated with the game such as fancy dice, dice embedded in soap, t-shirts featuring illustrations of dice, etc.
Going to a bunco meet isn’t my deal. However, quite a few women I know do host or go to these things. I see the value of it, but it’s just not my deal.
The thing that’s great about bunco though, is that it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re still in the game. Even in just going through the motions of the game, you can’t make a non-competitive move.
You can’t really make a competitive move either, but lets ignore that for the time being. You basically do stuff, and converse. There’s a game going on if you want to pay attention, but the participation in the game itself is largely up to you.
Throughout my boardgame travels, I’ve ran across an interesting situation that happens often as I play with certain couples. Usually it’s my wife and I, and another couple...
1 Myself - I’m here, I do like games.
2 My wife - pretty decently into games
3 Husband/wife of the other couple - pretty well into real games.
4 Wife/husband of the other couple - not so much into games, but it’s something.
Gamer #4 has always been an issue and usually who will decide the night with gamer #3. Games aren’t terrible, but they’re more of something to do while socializing. The first step is trying a party game or two. The next step is having some easy to grasp and explain strategy games.
The final step though? Games with a bunco-factor. Games where you can converse more if you want to, or pay attention to the game if you want to...and everyone has a good time.
I’ve found a couple games where you can almost be random, and still be a reasonable competitor. Now, not that I’m saying you’re going to win doing random things, or that you’re even going to come in as a contender... I’m saying you can pay almost no attention to what you’re doing, and fool people into thinking you’re paying attention.
* Bohnanza - Rip. Plant. Rip. Plant. Answer ‘yes’ to “have you got...” occasionally.
* Finca - Take fruit. Claim something. Cash-in a special chip. Whatever. Who am I to call your moves as stupid?
* (to a lesser extent) Ticket to Ride. Grab two tickets of a color. Try and connect a line or two.
And this comes up after this last weekend finding a game that, for all its simplicity... doesn’t have a bunco factor...
* Manhattan - It’s cool. No one is going to take your building with 7 more levels on it than the 0 owned by anyone else on that building. No need to add two more. Oh, you’re adding two more anyway? Well, I hope you’re having fun, but you have a ways to go before you get the tallest.
I was curious at what games you know of, where you can behave randomly, and still serve as some level of an opponent?