The Global Games Project: Vietnam

We love games of all shapes and sizes, and guess what? So does the rest the world. This is part of a larger project to document a homegrown game from every country in the world.

The best part of Super Mario Galaxy, according to a former roommate of mine, is wielding the second Wii Remote. I don’t know that he ever played as Mario proper. Why would he, since his true passion was pissing away all my star bits and interrupting my perfectly timed jumps?

For this roommate, my torment was his reward. Conversely, when I was able to overcome his roadblocks, my triumph was suddenly a little sweeter.

Trolling isn’t exactly new, but it is provocative addition to the Vietnamese version of the cross-cultural pastime “Blind Man’s Buff.” Known in Vietnam as “Catching a Goat While Blindfolded,” this classic kids game has been played for millennia, with ancient paintings depicting children and adults chasing actual goats. For a mostly agrarian country that was thrust upon the world stage in the mid-twentieth century, the continuing popularity of “Bit Mat Bat Be” indicates the resolve of Vietnam to retain a sense of history while emerging into the chaos of modernity. 

NAME: Bit Mat Bat De (Catching a Goat While Blindfolded)
PLAYERS: 3+ (the larger the group the better)
ITEMS NEEDED: 2 blindfolds (or 1 blindfold and a goat)


1. Two players volunteer to play the Goat and the Catcher. Everyone else forms a circle with the Goat and the Catcher in the middle.

2. Both the Goat and the Catcher are blindfolded. The Catcher, as the name implies, is tasked with apprehending the Goat, while the Goat tries to escape. 

3. As in the swimming pool game “Marco Polo,” the Goat is required to make a goat-like bleating sound every few seconds to bait the Catcher.

4. The Vietnamese variation of this game comes in the circle of onlookers who are the arena around the Goat and the Catcher. One extra player would suffice in distracting the catcher, but a large audience makes for a more raucous time. 

The extra players surround the Goat and the Catcher and are encouraged to gently push them both in the wrong direction as well as generally distracting them. This adds to the confusion and hilarity inherent to watching your friends bumble around and bray like wild, blinded animals. 

Photograph by? MIchael Chr