Bâū Ća Tôm Cua

Main Piece:


The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as DD. I am marked as DG.


DD: So there’s this game that me and my cousins used to play on the Lunar New Year, and it’s called Bau Ca Tom Cua, and it basically means um Gourd Crab um…it means Fish but it’s referring to a Shrimp, or um and then a Rooster. It’s basically-it’s a simple game where you have a picture of um each of the four items I mentioned, well actually some of them have 6 it’s a fish-a shrimp-, a crab, a rooster, a gourd, and a stag. And you have this little dice where on each of the little sides there’s a picture and you…usually money or candy, usually small change because my cousins and I, you know, small kids you don’t want them gambling with you know, tons of money, and we would put the coins basically on the picture that we thought was going to get rolled. So we would put the dice in a bowl and there’s 3 of them and roll them in the bowl and remove that and the ones on top, if you were right, you got to split the money.


DG: Who did you learn it from?


DD: Um, I remember playing it with my…cousin, um it must have been something we learned from probably our parents. Yeah its just a pretty common game. And even when I went to the Vietnamese lunar new year festival here, there were a whole bunch of boards.


DG: What was the context?


DD: It was a game that was traditionally played on the New Year’s, I don’t know if there was a significance for why it was played on the New Year’s… but it makes sense to me that um that at least little kids would have money on the New Year because their relatives would have just given them money.




The conversation was recorded while sitting in a classroom during an assigned period to discuss folklore. However, the context that the game would be performed in would most often be on the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.




The student was born and raised in Northern California. She is a sophomore at the University of Southern California. Although she was born in Northern California, her entire family is from Vietnam, and she is one of the first generation to be born in the United States.




This game is good for cross-cultural teaching, as it is rather simple to teach and pick up. It can be adapted to bet on candy, coins, dice, or more. It is also easily taught to small children, meaning it is highly adaptable and good for bringing up through generations. It is also a quick game to teach, making it good for fairs, etc, where all the players may not be familiar with the game. It also has a specific history, being related to the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Due to this, this is not a game that the majority of the American population will likely know, or have heard of. I personally have learned this game in the past, at a Vietnamese Lunar New Year celebration at my university, and found it very fun to play.