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Lotería: a Game Combining Art, Culture, and Chance

Mexico's Game of Chance

You may be surprised to know that the quintessential Mexican game Lotería has its origins in Europe and came to Mexico by way of Spain. Often referred to as "Mexican bingo", you may not have played it but will certainly recognize the game's colorful imagery, including an anatomically correct heart, el corazón, la calavera (the skull), el borracho (the drunk) and even la muerte (death).

How to Play Lotería

Each player receives a tabla with 16 images displayed 4 by 4. One person, el cantor calls out an image randomly selected from a deck of cards. Anyone who has the image called on his tabla marks it and works towards 4 images in a row. Once a player has 4 images in a row, he calls out "lotería".

Vocabulary and Culture

Lotería is a great game for Spanish learners because it provides some interesting everyday vocabulary and cultural insights. Many images involve religion, passion, color and perhaps a lack of political correctness.

Makers of Lotería Games: Don Clemente

The best known company that makes Lotería games is known in the US as Don Clemente. The images of their original game are known throughout Mexico and much of the US. Recently, they've created a more artistic nueva versión with some new and creative images.

Another version perhaps from the 60s has not become as widespread but has some incredible images.