Business Buzzword Bingo Help and Tips

Below are some guidelines for playing Business Buzzword Bingo and tips for making your own Custom Bingo Cards and mashups.

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Playing the Game

Click a Bingo square to mark it. On smart phones and Android tablets, tapping a square activates it. When a square is marked, a round yellow piece appears beneath the buzzword. The middle square ("FREE") cannot be marked; it is always "active".

Tapping or clicking a second time unmarks and deactivates a square. Squares can be marked or unmarked as many times as desired.

A winning row is any five squares: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal (upper-left corner to lower-right, and lower-left corner to upper-right). Because the FREE square is always active, rows that cross it need only four buzzwords to complete.

When a winning row is complete, the Bingo card flashes three times and lights up the FREE square with BINGO!! BINGO!! BINGO!!. The game makes no noise so it is privately playable during long speeches, lectures, or presentations.

Unmarking/deactivating any square in a row of five returns the FREE square.

Starting a New Game

Reload the web page to generate a new bingo card and start a new game. The page changes and scrambles the buzzwords.

Making a Custom Bingo Card

Open the Custom Buzzword Bingo page. Enter a title, and then type-in (or cut/paste) twenty-five or more buzzwords or phrases. Separate the words or phrases with commas. Then click the "Create" button below the buzzword entry area.

If the entry area has too few comma-separated buzzwords and phrases, the Custom Buzzword application asks. It retains what was already written so no work is lost.

Once enough buzzwords are entered, the buzzword game card appears.

To save the custom buzzword bingo game permanently, bookmark the completed card or copy/paste the card's link (URL) somewhere to save it. The link contains the card's title and all the buzzwords/phrases. Re-opening the link re-makes the card. Reloading or re-opening the link scrambles the buzzwords to make a new card, too.

Custom Bingo Card Mashups

You can build a Custom Bingo Card without opening the page and manually entering (or pasteing) terms.

The page's API expects two parameters encoded in a GET URL. These parameters are:

  1. title
  2. buzzwords

Parameters are case-sensitive, that is TITLE, Title, etc. won't work.

To generate a Custom Buzzword Bingo card, embed the desired title and buzzwords as part of a URL that links to the page: Title)&buzzwords=(Your Buzzword List)

A question mark, ?, must precede the first parameter. Also note that an ampersand, &, separates the title= and the buzzwords= parts of the URL. The ampersand must appear as it delimits the two parameters. See Matt Cutts's parts of a URL for details.

(Your Title) may be any character string. It should be short enough to fit in the bingo card's header, which depends on the width of the page. Keep the title to 30 or fewer characters. Example:

  Pirates of the Caribbean

pirate flag (Your Buzzword List) must be a comma-delimited list of at least 25 words or phrases. If the list has fewer than 25 terms, the custom bingo card generator asks for more buzzwords instead of showing the finished card. Example list of words:

  yarr,rum,yo ho ho,Spanish Main, ...,buccaneer,Sir Francis Drake

You must URL-encode your title and buzzword list. The easiest way to do that is to run them through a web URL encoder, then paste the text into your URL. The final result should look like this example (mouse over to see the code; click the link to see the buzzword bingo card).

Last, remember that URLs have a length limit. The length should not exceed 2,000 characters. If you have a very long list of buzzwords, consider making two Custom Buzzword Bingo cards.

The Custom card's interface is stable, idempotent, and all logic resides within the page. Once the mashup URL is made, it made be used indefinitely.

Bugs and Support

Buzzword Bingo is written in HTML5 with Javascript. If the bingo cards display only "..." instead of buzzwords, enable Javascript. The game's software is embedded in the web page and it cannot run without Javascript.

Buzzword Bingo has been tested under Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 on Ubuntu Linux 11, Microsoft Windows 7, and Apple OS X. It has also been played on Android's default browser on Samsung phones and Kindle Fire tablets.


Suggestions for other features, buzzword topic areas, buzzword sites and applications, etc. are welcome. Please contact us at engineering (at) We'd like to hear from you. Thanks for playing.

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Karl Geiger
Last update: 2012-12-06