You’re starving, you’ve been sitting too long, you’re overtired, and the baby won’t stop screaming.
Sound like a familiar Passover seder scene to you?
Tamara Pester thought so. So she invented Passover Bingo, which will allow seder-goers to become more engaged in the meal. Pester’s game engages both kids and adults during the Haggadah reading — or anytime — for what she hopes is a fun, educational, and anti-boring experience. Players learn about the events and personalities of Passover.
“I have a niece and nephew who are 9 and 12 years old,” Pester told JTNews. “They would get really restless during the seder and I wanted to create a game that would keep them engaged. Passover Bingo seemed to do the trick.”
The game has been in the works for a while.
“I originally made it out of construction paper,” she said regarding its genesis. “Over the past few years I’ve been thinking about how to make this into something bigger. I hired a graphic designer and a manufacturer and it all came together.”
Pester, who lives in Denver, works as an intellectual property lawyer registering trademarks — perfect for an inventor. Being on the creation side of the product showed that things don’t always go as smoothly as planned.
“It took about two years to develop — a little longer than I anticipated,” she said. “I wanted to have it by Passover 2012, but the transportation and communication of working with people across the globe didn’t come together by then.”
There are two ways to play Passover Bingo, which is patterned after the traditional game of bingo. To play during the seder, each player follows along with a bingo game board as the Haggadah is read. If a word from a square on the board is read during the story of Exodus, the square can be covered with a marker. The first person to yell out “bingo” as soon as the squares are covered in a winning pattern is declared the winner.
The other way to play is before or after the seder. The back of the instruction card lists all the words on the card in a scrambled order. Each participant can call out words one at a time, starting at the top, or give a clue rather than the word itself or even ask for an explanation. Whoever covers the squares in a winning pattern first wins. A detailed instruction sheet is included in each game.
The game can be played with as few as two people. The word list and explanations can also be used for independent study about the key players and events of the holiday.
Each Passover Bingo game includes six boards, 96 foam pieces to act as markers for the bingo squares, and an instruction and word list.
Passover Bingo costs $24.99 plus shipping and is available at passoverbingo.com. Discounts are available for bulk purchases or with a coupon from the distributor. Pester said she has a few boxes still in stock for this year’s holiday.
“We initially made a shipment of 1,000 games — we have a couple hundred more games to sell,” Pester said. “We’re hoping we’ll make our initial shipment.”
Pester said that while other holidays can lend themselves to similar games, Passover is unique for gaming.
“I can’t really think of another time we sit down to read a story, like with the Haggadah,” she said.
But she added that more games may be on the horizon.
“I want to see how this goes, first,” she said.