Zingo! Game Review

The Basics:

  • Ages 4+
  • Players 2 – 8
  • 10 minutes

Geek Skills:

  • Reading & Writing
  • Memorization & Pattern Matching

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • None


  • Father Geek rejected!
  • Child Geek approved!


As the name suggests, Zingo! is an derivation of Bingo. Each player is given a card with a 3×3 grid of picture symbols with the word describing the symbol. Tiles are produced two at a time and players claim them in an effort to fill up their card. At which point, “zingo!” is proclaimed loudly.

What sets this game apart from regular Bingo is the tile dispensing mechanism. It contains 2 tile stacks and you move it forward and then back to dispense 2 tiles at the same time.

Unlike Bingo where you are examining one number at a time, in Zingo you must quickly evaluate 2 tiles and the first person to verbally claim a tile gets it. Unclaimed tiles are returned to the mechanism to cycle around. Also, unlike Bingo, the tile only goes to one player, so it solicits some competition. To cater to this, the cards have both a green side and a red side. The green side has fewer shared symbols in general and therefore less competition for tiles. This allows you to adjust the level of competition in a game.

Final Word

My kids love this game. They enjoy being the “zinger”, or “He Who Controls the Tile Dispensing Mechanism”. My oldest son does not really care about who wins. His sole objective is to fill every player’s card; mostly because he wants to keep zinging out tiles.

The game does teach pattern matching and incorporates pre-reading skills by labeling each symbol. Also, there is an element of memory involved because if you have to cross-reference your card each time tiles are spit out, you will be too slow if there is a competing player for the same tile.

Although my kids love this game, I find it mind-numbingly boring. Please pick another game!! Any game that uses a “who said it first” mechanism is just primed for fights.

“I said it first!”

“No! I said it fist!”

“That’s my fish!! Give it to me!”

There are also silly things, like putting 3 owl tiles in the hopper even though the owl appears only once on all the cards combined. So yeah — the game teaches a few things, but I think I would have more fun dunking my head in a dirty toilet.

Bookmark the permalink.

About Brian

Euro Board Game Aficionado, and Father of Two, Brian played many family board games while growing up, but launched a foray into real geek gaming in 4th grade with his exposure to Risk, and then many sessions of Axis & Allies. Gaming in all forms has always been woven into his life with different phases including: video games starting with the Atari 2600, role playing Marvel Super Heroes, launching massive Battletech scenarios, blowing his small amount of bank on Magic: The Gathering, and then finally strategy board games. Settlers of Catan (1997) was his first introduction to the Euro-style game, and he has since been forever hooked. He embarked on a new stage of life in late 2006 with the birth of his first of two boys, and now cherishes the opportunity to learn the game of parenting. His desire is to raise two respectable men who still want to play a game with daddy even when they are father geeks themselves. Brian goes by the handle Vree on Board Game Geek.

2 Responses to Zingo! Game Review

  1. I’m with you, Brian. My kids love this game, but I’d rather play Scrabble with the kid who only knows 3-letter words! LOL Thanks for the great review. It really is a great game for kids, and they truly love playing it. 🙂

  2. Pingback: » Father Geek’s Top 5 Games Played in 2011

Have an opinion? Like what you read? Thought it was rubbish? Leave a comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.