Tiru Raghavan (he/him, Athena’s Dad on Twitter) was born and raised in India. He came to the U.S. in 2010 for college and has been here ever since, now working as a Product Designer. As a colorblind gamer and photographer, Tiru brings an interesting perspective to the hobby.
When and how did you learn about your own color vision deficiency?
I was 26 years old. My glasses broke, and when I went in to get a new pair, I was told that my 4-year-old prescription needed to be updated with an eye exam. As a part of the test, the clinic (in Rochester, NY) also did the Ishihara Test where I was told to spot numbers. I couldn’t get past the fourth plate. I came to know later that color-blindness testing is not standard, and I am ever thankful to this eye clinic for diagnosing me.
What colors do you tend to confuse the most?
Purple and pink – oh my god – I cannot tell them apart for the life of me! Sometimes I cannot tell red and pink apart, and I also tend to mix dark red and shades of brown.
I can see red and green! When I tell people that I’m colorblind, this is the most common question that I get asked.
What’s the most difficult for you when playing games?
Cubes, especially brown and red. Sadly, almost all Euro games have at least one component with dark-red or brown cubes in them.
I also had a particularly hard time with a simple card game called Loot. The older version had four suits of cards – orange, green, dark blue, and purple. The blue cards were very similar to purple for me, and there was no other distinction on the cards to tell them apart. It was extremely painful for me to play.
What do you wish people would know about your vision deficiency?
I wish people didn’t challenge or ridicule me. Once on Board Game Geek, I spoke about my problem, but fans of the games were quite militant in defending their favorite game. I wish that people wouldn’t get defensive about their favorite games. I wish they would just acknowledge that some people like me might have difficulty playing it.
Are there any color-based games you assumed you could not play, but surprised you as colorblind-friendly?
Azul: Summer Pavilion. I have difficulty telling pink and red pieces apart, but since there’s no hidden information, I can just ask people at the table what color it is. It’s not great, but I can get by. Asking others doesn’t sour the experience for me.
What are your other favorite games? Who do you play with?
My wife is my primary board gaming buddy, and we have a baby girl!
You can learn more about Tiru and see his work online via his Twitter feed, @dad_athena.