Board Gamers of Singapore #4: Rajeev Batra (The Nice Veto)
The guts it takes to uproot and move to another country, culture and community is a trait that many would find enviable. This is because the experience can be a risky and harrowing one but some do find success. This is what has happened when Rajeev decided to progress his Finance career by moving from India to Singapore a few years back.
When Rajeev first arrived on our shores, he was not aware that board games had progressed as they did and was actually playing in Scrabble tournaments to indulge in the board gaming hobby. It was at one of these tournaments that he met Colin Lim, a local board game enthusiast who asked if he would be interested in trying some new modern designer board games.
Rajeev said a fateful yes and played Modern Art at Play Nation and from then on he would be spending on average more than a few good hours weekly with the board gaming community in Singapore.
Rajeev's strong suit is that he is open to trying all kinds of games as shown in the above picture. There, he is playing Fief: France 1429, a wargame, even though he is not the keenest on games with a lot of conflicts but still tries to enjoy the game as much as possible.
Also, if Rajeev has tried a game, he is willing to say he would rather not play a game in a respectful way. This is important as not only does it make planning game nights easier but also really helps to speed up the choosing of games during a game session. This simple veto, saving everybody in the group time so we can all indulge more in the hobby playing process rather than choosing.
Related: Boardgamers of Singapore #3: Andy Ng (The Discerning Organiser)
Rajeev's recommended game of the day is Istanbul, which won the Kennerspiel des Jahres in 2014. The Kennerspiel is a prestigious board game award given out in Germany during the Essen Spiel Fair targeted at experienced gamers.
Istanbul is a game where you are a merchant in the grand bazaar of Istanbul trying to sell goods to obtain the most rubies. Gameplay is done by moving yourself up to as many assistants as you have with you. This is because you will have to drop off an assistant on every tile you move on. The final spot where you land is where you will perform the tile's special ability. The first person to get 5 rubies wins.
The reasons why Rajeev likes Istanbul are it is a fast and strategic game that plays in about an hour, has a lot of replayability as the many tiles can be rearranged for a different puzzle each time and the game's art also really appeals to him which is a great bonus for a Euro game.
Istanbul though is not perfect as he states how some tiles do have an element of luck with the rolling of dice or randomized cards, which could possibly disrupt a good plan.
Istanbul is a board game that won a world famous award for a reason and is very approachable for newer gamers. Do give it a try as Rajeev definitely gives it a seal of excellence.