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Board Gamers of Singapore #1: Dion Garner (The Ambassador)

The board gaming hobby is growing in Singapore and often times it is the games that take center stage in the news but ask almost any board gamer and more often than not, the highlight of the hobby is the face to face interaction one has with others.

That is why we are starting a series on the people who play games in Singapore. We hope that through this series, we can showcase the many real faces of board gaming and the many different types of games they play.

To begin this inaugural showcase we have chosen Dion Garner, a retired aerospace engineer who till recently has lived in Singapore since the early 2000's and to call him a board game enthusiast would be an understatement.

This is because among other things he has been a featured gamer as the Geek of the Week #421 on the most popular board gaming website in the world, Board Game Geek, currently owns 843 board games and has played 1618 different games since he started logging his play sessions around the year of 2007 on Board Game Geek. On top of that, he still games many days a week, attends as many board game conventions as he can and games in as many countries as he can whenever he travels East back to Singapore. 

Even though his geek credibility is well established, that is not what truly makes Dion stand out. It is his friendly and accepting nature to all kinds of gamers of any level and his willingness to spread the hobby even at his own cost. For example, his ex-home in Villa Marina in Singapore was a center for weekly gaming for groups that can rival many meetups, numbers reaching upwards of 30 plus attendees in some cases. 

In essence, Dion is a true ambassador of the hobby and someone I consider one of my best friends. 

His recommended game of the day is his 2nd most favorite game of all time, Dominant Species by GMT Games for 2 to his recommended 6 players. It is about the ponderous encroachment of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth.

Gameplay is done by each of the 6 players choosing a species such as insects, amphibians, mammals, etc, each with their own special abilities. They will then spread out discovering the world and populating it, all the while having to deal with the other species and the ever changing climate of the world. In the end, the person with the most points is crowned the winner. 

The main reasons Dion likes Dominant Species are that it is strategic, each of the species play asymmetrically, the length of the game can be varied by the removal of cards from the event deck and importantly a player losing at the start has a chance to come back and win the game due to good strategy. 

His one downside of the game is that it is a game where the lead scoring player can be ganged up on during the game and thus one has to be prepared for that. 

So if you and your group have the appetite for a meatier game, do give Dominant Species a try. According to Dion, you won't regret it.  

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.
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