Before I proceed any further, I’ll admit that this post (and Part 2) are a bit of a mash-up. Some of you may read this content and think “Duh Jessica!” whereas others may learn something new (hooray!). Either way, everyone will finish reading this series with a wonderful bridal/baby shower game in their mind and free downloads at the ready. Now, how fun is that?
This post and its title are the result of a bridal shower I recently co-hosted for a dear friend. As you may recall, I love shower games. The bride’s mother (and a featured guest for that matter)? Not so much. We met in the middle with a promise on my behalf that the game would be fun and classy. Given the venue of the shower (Seattle’s Purple) and the physical set up of our party, I knew that one of my favorite games (a shower version of Apple to Apples of which a rendition is here) would not suffice. As such, I headed over to marthastewart.com and perused through its vast collection of unique shower games. While there were lots that grabbed my attention and interest, I literally thought “Bingo!” when I read about this game:
Not only did the game provide an opportunity to learn more about the bride and groom (one of my favorite features of any game!) but it was also original. Indeed, as I read the detailed instructions, I simply kept nodding my head as I imagined how easy it would be to prepare, assemble, transport, and set-up the game pieces.
It is here where I am going to take a slight detour and elaborate on one important thing. When I say that something regarding crafting is easy, I most likely find it to be so because I can figure out some way to incorporate a computer. I love computers (and color printers for that matter) because they provide clean and dependable results. As such, when I was reading the instructions for Martha Stewart Weddings’ Love Bingo, I naturally saw Microsoft Excel worksheets and Word documents coming into full force. Now, as I’ve said before, I realize that this may cause some people to roll their eyes out of boredom or scratch their head in confusion, so I’ll get back to the point… right now, in fact.
Following the steps at marthastewart.com, here’s what I did to “make Martha easy”. I’ve also included downloadable templates* for you to use too because not everyone is an Excel-loving-nerd like me:
Creating the Grids
While you could definitely do this in Word, I preferred to do it in Excel because I could get a little bit more control over the size of the boxes and the layout by formatting row heights and column widths. Since there is no easy to way to explain what I did, just click and enjoy:
Psst: After the shower I realized that this game can easily be modified for a baby shower. Hence, I’ve also included downloads for these as well:
Randomly Numbering the Cards
Perhaps it’s only me, but I have terribly frightening memories of creating Word Searches for elementary school book reports and coming up with random letters to fill out the puzzle. Remembering how many brain cells were burned to complete one word search, I was more than a little hesitant to randomly number 20 different cards. As such, I opted to use Excel’s random number formula (=RAND*# with a maximum of 16 for the 16 boxes comprising the grid) to create a list of random numbers so that all my crafting accomplice, Emily, and I would have to do was print the list and number the cards.
Now, here is where you’ll totally think I’m crazy for the following reasons:
- I’m unaware of a means to prevent Excel from duplicating numbers. As such, it was likely that upon the first round of random number generation, there would be some duplicated numbers (ie: three 1’s).
- As such, I had to go down the list for each card and regenerate some numbers until each card only had one of each number in the range of 1 through 16.
- For 20 cards, this took me about an hour. While some people may have no problems just coming up with numbers, I was happy with the time spent doing this because it ensured more randomness among each card and also prevented any errors (I used a check total of 136 [16! for math nerds] which you can see at the bottom).
The good thing though is that you can save yourself some of this high quality entertainment and simply access the file here to assist you with numbering your cards:
Hint: Make sure you consistently number your cards (ie: always going top to bottom, left to right) to ensure true randomness.
What’s that? You have more than 20 guests at your party? First, congratulations on your awesome hostess skills! Second, coming up with more random numbers will be a breeze (I realize this is relative) by doing the following:
- Add more columns to the worksheet numbering them in accordance with the number of cards needed.
- Copy and paste the formula in cell F1 (the light blue cell) in all the grid boxes.
- “Freeze” the randomly generated numbers (16 cells per card) by completing these next mini-steps: >Copy >Paste Special (by right clicking and selecting this term in the drop down menu) >Select ‘Values’ and click ‘OK’.
- Starting at the top of your first additional card (should be #21), format original numbers (except for zeros ) by either changing the cell color or text formatting (ie: bold).
- When you get to a duplicate number or a zero, skip the cell (don’t reformat it). An example is below:
- Copy and paste the formula in cell F1 in the cells that you ignored until a unique number is generated. Retype the unique number into the cell overriding the formula (otherwise it will keep generating a new number any time ‘Enter’ is keyed):
- Repeat this process until all sixteen numbers (1-16) are generated. You will have a check total of 136 at the bottom. Complete as necessary for each new card.
I’ll admit that as I write this I feel extremely self-conscious over my geekiness! However, I hope that you’ll enjoy the fruit of my “labor” via the downloads and won’t even have to use the random number generator (although it is useful for a lot of things)!
Stay tuned for Part 2 where things get a bit more creative as I take you through the next two steps in the directions and pass along some tips so that you and your shower guests can call out “Bingo!” in no time!
*Downloads provided by HBH are governed by the website’s terms and should not be used for commercial purposes. The unauthorized production and sale of products resulting from these downloads may violate copyrights held by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.