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Monday, August 15, 2005

Roadkill Bingo

Tired of playing Slug Bug on those long car trips? Roadkill Bingo is an irreverent, gruesome little game in which the car's riders compete to spot roadkill lying by or in the road. This game isn't for everyone, but those with a certain morbid bent (particularly goths or biology majors) can be entertained for hours. There are a couple of different versions of this game.

Free-Form Roadkill Bingo

The first version requires no special apparatus other than perhaps a piece of paper to record one's roadkill sightings. Roadkill values are weighted according to the condition of the carcass and the relative rarity of the animal in question. For instance, in Texas, a dead bald eagle would be worth much more than a dead armadillo or skunk. Likewise, an intact raccoon that has become so bloated with gas that it resembles a furry balloon would be worth more than a more-normal-appearing dead raccoon.

Suggested Scoring:

  • typical roadkill: 5 points
  • unusual roadkill: 10 points
  • rare roadkill: 20 points
  • unusual condition: +5 bonus
  • extraordinary condition: +10 bonus
  • observing roadkill in progress*: +20 bonus

Whoever spots the roadkill first gets the points for that animal. Scoring is by its nature subjective ("Are you crazy? Mule deer aren't rare!") and bonuses are generally determined by the degree of oohing and cringing that the carcass' condition elicits from observers.

A simpler version of this game -- which more closely resembles actual bingo -- involves people competing to see who will be first to see five instances of a particular type of roadkill (skunk, armadillo, deer, etc.). There is no scoring per se; first person to spot five of his or her assigned animal wins.

* Under no circumstances do roadkills caused by the car you're riding in count toward scoring. The object here isn't to kill anything.

Commercial Roadkill Bingo

The Roadkill Bingo Company sells plastic bingo sheets with static cling cover squares with different animals on the sheets instead of standard bingo numbers. The car's occupants then play the game much like a standard bingo game (five animals in a row wins the game). As always, if your car hits an animal, the game is over and nobody wins (particularly the critter you just crushed).

ObDisclaimer: I have a great love for wildlife, so I have mixed feelings about this game. However, one time when I was on a road trip with a bunch of goths in a Toyota, we had a fine old time playing this one.



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