Roadkill bingo is a game in which the pictures of 24 different animals are placed randomly in a grid, printed on paper or cardboard. The game is traditionally played in vehicles during long distance travel.
When a dead specimen of one of these animals is spotted by a player, that square in the grid is marked off with either a bingo blotter or some other writing instrument. Small poker like chips may be used to designate spotted dead animals, however the jarring due to bumps in the road make this a less viable option.
Traditionally, only the first person to spot the roadkill is entitled to mark off the corresponding picture. As in regular bingo, the object of the game is to spot a sequence of five dead animals which are in the same row or column on the bingo card. At the instant that five in a row is achieved, that player is obligated to yell "bingo", loudly and clearly, and the player is said to have "got a bingo." Prizes for bingos are typically decided upon before the commencement of play. Spotting five dead animals in a row whose pictures are along a diagonal of a card also counts as a bingo. Four corners may also count as a bingo. The center square is often free, meaning that no dead animal need be spotted to mark it. Controversy may arise when a dead animal is spotted which may not technically be classified as roadkill, and when two players simultaneously spot the roadkill. Players in the front seat have a clear advantage, however, the driver must have someone else mark his or her card.
To promote brevity of games, regional variations include animals more likely to be found dead in the particular locale.
- Gene Sloan, Kids in the car? Take these along USA Today 6/2/2005