Few Christmas traditions are as enduring as that of the family getting round the table together—sometime between the Queen’s speech and the James Bond movie—to play a game together. In fact, the only one that rivals it is probably the family getting round the table together and having massive rows while they play a game together. Of course, to do it properly you need some decent board or card games: standard edition Clue and Monopoly just won’t cut it in Saigon.
Darren and Tran, the creatives and owner behind Vietnam Themed Games, design the interactive tabletop games to reflect the beauty, history and fun side of Vietnam. “Our aim is to release a new game every few months, not only adapted versions of existing games, but original games too. So, whether you’re a local, expat or tourist, we hope you switch off your phones, sit down with your friends and family, and join in the fun,” says Darren.
1880 Saigon Monopoly & 1900s Hanoi Monopoly (VND750,000 each; available in English or French)
Be transported back in time and immerse yourself in the exotic surroundings of “The Pearl of the Orient” (Old Saigon) and “The Paris of the East” (Old Hanoi) in these beautifully illustrated versions of the classic board game. Set amid the late 1800s to early 1900s, the two cities are full of opportunities for entrepreneurs and fortune-seeking adventurers. Tree-lined streets are bustling with the clatter of horse drawn carriages and rickshaws while the quays and canals support a constant chain of sampans, barges and steamboats that feed a brisk and competitive trade. Claim your stake in these thriving cities by buying and trading properties. In the thrilling race for power and glory, only one will emerge victorious.
These vintage-themed designs were created with the help of historians, using a rare collection of old photos to truly capture the time period and details of each city. Each game board displays both the old names and current names of the city streets.
1880 Saigon Monopoly Deal & 1900s Hanoi Monopoly Deal Card Games (VND300,000 each; trilingual: English, French & Vietnamese)
Deal and steal your way to success—just collect three property sets to win. Sounds easy but beware the dreaded Debt Collectors, Sly Deals and Deal Breakers, which can flip your fortunes in the play of a card. 106 beautifully-designed cards will take players through all the thrill of the chase, the gains, the losses, bankruptcy and victory just like the legendary board game.
Traffic Oi! (Inspired by the famous French card game Milles Bornes) (VND300,000; trilingual: English, French and Vietnamese)
Vietnam’s crazy traffic is made fun in this chaotic road race challenge where players try to be the first to drive across the country. Meander through busy streets and the countryside, while your opponents try to slow you down with flat tires, red lights and accidents. Start your Drive Pile, build up your kilometers, and look out for Bonus Cards and Safety Cards that can protect you from others. 104 cards with hilarious characters, and illustrated with some of Vietnam’s most famous cities and landmarks. As an extra design bonus, all the cards can be linked side by side to display one huge continuous scene.
Clue/Cluedo: The Quiet American Edition (VND700,000; available in English only)
The body of a young American was found in the river. He was sent here on a secret CIA mission. He got involved. He fell in love. Conspiracy and romance left him cold in the water. His death has caused a stir. Tension is in the air and everyone is under police surveillance.
A murder mystery board game based on the movie version of the classic novel The Quiet American by Graham Greene, set against the backdrop of the French Indochina War in Vietnam. Gameplay is the same as the classic Clue/Cluedo game, only the names and locations have changed.
This collector’s edition also contains a second set of Intrigue cards. These can be added to play the Advanced version with some twists… there may be more than one victim!
Saigon Pub Crawl (VND450,000; bilingual: English and Vietnamese)
Stock up your wine cellar and experience all the adventures of a legendary pub crawl with your friends and try to win the title “King of the Crawlers.” Pub and Event cards have players “trapped in Roundabout, Lose 1 turn” and “Sucked into Vietnamese Wedding Party, Have 1 drink with everyone at table.” The main goal of Saigon Pub Crawl is simple: be the first to check off all 12 pubs on the list to win.
IMAGES PROVIDED BY VIETNAM THEMED GAMES