Boardgamers of Singapore #3: Andy Ng (The Discerning Organiser)
For many in the board gaming community, there are a plethora of ways to meet people to indulge in the hobby but to some in the larger population who are interested in the hobby, even where to start to find a group can be a huge obstacle. This is where Facebook tends to be of great help as for many now, the search for interest groups starts and sometimes stops with Facebook.
Many Facebook groups also face the challenge of an absentee admin and in thus resulting in a silent group. This is where Andy comes in very strongly. He is one of the admins for Board Gamers SG, a Facebook group dedicated to organising board game sessions for, as at the writing of this article, 1061 members. On top of that, he is often the host of organised games at the meetups, making sure people enjoy themselves but the rules are followed.
Andy first started his modern board gaming experience when a friend of his introduced him to the Heavy Wargames Meetup (HEW), which is sadly now defunct and the first game he played was Struggle of Empires. The leap straight to such a heavy game and liking it leading to the creation of the Facebook group as these longer and more intense games usually requires quite a bit of planning and preparation rather than the usual spontaneous play.
Another identifying factor for Andy in the community is his support for local designers. Not only will he often demo and teach the local games but also help to sell the games at the meetups. Andy identifies that the local board game design scene sure needs more support from the local populous!
Andy's recommended game for the day is Saboteur (Compilation Editions). This edition of the game having both Saboteur and it's expansion all in one box.
In Saboteur, you play as a gold-digging dwarf or a saboteur who wants to hinder exploration of the gold mines. Each player only knows their own role so one never knows whether the dig will go as planned.
Game play is as follows, each turn, a player either lays down a tunnel card to dig from the start card toward one of the goal cards or away possibly if you are playing the saboteur or plays a action card to aid or hinder someone. If the diggers manage to find the gold hidden under one of the goal cards, then the diggers share the loot found there; if the gold can't be reached before the deck runs out, the saboteurs wins instead. After three rounds, the player with the most gold wins.
The expansion included in the compilation is Saboteur 2 which adds new role, actions and tunnel cards featuring doors, ladders and bridges. Also, gold seekers can now be divided into teams.
Saboteur is a versatile game, that lasts a very manageable 1 hour and can be played in a large group. Although Andy suggest that it be played by 5 to 11 players. The game is also easy to learn and feels intense all the way through. This game brings about a very inclusive and interactive experience.
The downside of Saboteur is that there are many roles involved and thus if a person is lacking in experience for the teaching of games, the roles may be hard to explain clearly and that might make the game flow less than satisfactory!
In any case, if you wish to try Saboteur or any other games, do join Board Gamers SG or a board gaming meetup from Meetup.com and keep a look out for Andy.
Zhou Huibin is a smith of words who majored in Philosophy & History from the University of Western Australia and whose life has followed the flow of his hobbies. He seeks continual contentment in his ponders, reading, writing, painting and board games which fills almost all of his time.