Diversity Bingo follows the rules of standard bingo except players are expected to talk to other players about their culture or experiences to fill the bingo card, rather than wait for random numbers to be drawn. Generally, each person is only allowed to sign off on one or two squares in order to foster discussion between as many different people as possible. For example, if a square says "a woman" only a woman may cover it for a player.
Sample squares in Diversity Bingo include Latina heritage, the ability to name three prominent women in politics, experience outside of the United States, knowledge of Native American culture and understanding of various world religions. The purpose behind the game is to encourage a group to discuss culture in a way that goes beyond merely food and language, fostering true understanding and camaraderie in the college classroom or workplace. A group discussion about what was learned through gameplay is common after the game to reinforce this goal.
Diversity Bingo balance fostering discussion and competitiveness, as the game tries to get a group to understand and appreciate its cultural diversity while players generally want to win. Encouraging all players to complete their cards in a given time allotment removes competitiveness completely, allowing the desired discussion to dominate the game. A game with no winner may not engage some players, however. Alternatively, a prize may be offered to whoever finishes first. This format tends to sacrifice discussion, as players are encouraged to talk to somebody else as soon they have signatures from the last conversation.
The same format can be applied to practically anything, such as math problems or trivia questions, to adapt the game to a number of different purposes.