Games

Back in the good old days, when most of us had better sight, we all liked playing games (whether it was a board game, game of cards, playing games on a computer or on a games console). Back then, just as in most of today's market, most things were very visual.

As our eyesight drops, the most common problem that we all encounter, is that the games (in some way or form) have to be adapted for us to be able to continue to play them. Our love for playing these games could diminish, unless we can find an accessible alternative, because this could count us out from a lot of things (eg. being able to see the squares on the board, or being able to read certain items). We can get people to read things out to us, or we can purchase adapted games. A lot of these adapted games (eg. large print playing cards, tactile Tic Tac Toe or other brailled games) can be purchased through your local Blind Foundation or other sources. You can also purchase games second hand and adapt them yourself!

To make a software game accessible, it may need to be able to talk to a screen reader (for blind players). A magnification programme may be used to enlarge what is on the screen in front of us. Magnification (for visually impaired players) however can have its drawbacks as well. One being, that you may not be able to see the whole screen, unless it is reduced. Some games may need more modification than others.

Now, as a lot of games are going on-line, people can play against each other (or groups) from all around the world. Unless these games are made accessible to adaptive technologies (eg. a screen reader), we will not be able to play them. Hence, this page is for those type of games which are accessible to us, whether they be on-line, downloadable, or tactile. If you aware of any decent on-line or downloadable games that are accessible to the visually impaired and / or blind, please let me know.

Accessible on-line games

http://accessiblewebgames.com/

http://ffproject.com/

http://allinplay.com/home_.html

Self voicing games

http://www.kitchensinc.net/

Sound based games

http://audiogames.net/listgames.php

http://www.vipgameszone.com/

http://www.audiblegames.com/

Top 25 websites for blind gamers

http://www.7128.com/top25/topsitesblind.html

Accessible downloadable games

http://www.omninet.net.au/~irhumph/crosswords.htm

http://www.omninet.net.au/~irhumph/blindgamers.htm#SUDOKUSAPI

Accessible computer games for sale

http://www.azabat.co.uk/games.html

Adapting games

Most people who used to like playing board games, once they start losing their sight, tend to give up playing those board games. They can be bought already adapted from various organisations locally (such as your local Blind Foundation under the games section) - or abroad from others such as the Braille Book Store. Some games that can be bought locally (from places such as retail stores, garage sales, op shops and so on), can be adapted as well. If purchasing games second hand, get somebody to check that they are complete. Hopefully, some of the games listed below, may give you some ideas on what can be done to adapt games so that you can go back to playing your old favourites. Remember if you are playing against a blind or vision impaired person that you may also need to let them know when you have finished your move. It is most likely that they will hear you move on the board, but may also want to check to see where you've moved to.

Noughts and crosses (also known as tic tac toe) mini travel version

To make a mini travel version, you will need a piece of wood 4.5cm square (that is 4.5cm wide and 4.5cm high) by approximately 1cm thick. You will also need a piece of dowel cut into 10 even lengths to be used as game pieces. This will need to be about 6mm thick. You will also need a drill and drill pieces as well as a pencil. Pencil a three by three grid on the top side of the wood (that is three evenly spaced across the top, three evenly spaced across the middle and three evenly spaced down the bottom. (Imagine the numbers 1 to 9 on a tactile phone with 5 being the centre number).  You will need to locate the centre of each of these nine squares, and drill a 6mm hole in each (allowing for even spacing across the board). Drill just deep enough so that your game pieces will sit in evenly and at the same depth so that all pieces sit at the same height across the board. For this size board you could make a 2cm to 2.5cm high playing piece. Some shops sell dowel already pre cut and it is simply a matter of placing the pieces into the board. The ones I have found are around 3cm tall per piece. Alternatively you could cut your pieces evenly from a length of 6mm dowel. The next step is to identify the 5 pieces a side by marking them uniquely. To do this you could leave one set of 5 flat, and angle the other 5. You may also choose to use bling for one set and leave the other set blank. However you choose to mark your pieces ensure that they are easily identifiable.

Alternatively, you can scale up the size of your board, making your pieces larger and in the shapes of 5 noughts and 5 crosses or whatever you choose each side to be (for example squares and triangles and so on). If you are using the traditional flat board, you can also frame in the 9 squares so that they are tactile. Other people have even used unique creatures for each side depending on the size of your board and the pieces you choose to use.

Finally, for the travel version, you can store it in a small box or dilly bag so that the pieces do not get lost.

Accessible 6 sided cube (a Rubik's-like cube that has been adapted)

You will need a 6 sided game cube with 9 squares a side (that is 3 squares across by 3 squares down on each of the 6 sides). The larger cubes (available from most variety shops) are easier to use. These are not very expensive. These cubes usually have 6 different colours on them (one on each side for example 9 yellow squares on one side and 9 blue squares on another etcetera. You will need something unique and identical to identify each of the 6 sides. One idea is to use braille labels. You could use a hand brailler and say for example call the blue side BE, the yellow side YW, and the red side RD (that is to use the first and last letter of the colour to identify it). These labels will need to be stuck in the middle of each square on their respective side, and all facing the same way. Replicate this for the other 5 sides accordingly. You will need to decide how you will identify it. You may choose to use a single letter or number (such as A=1, B =2, C=3 and so on). Another idea is to use foam stickers cut to a certain shape for all 9 squares on each side. For example, yellow may have 9 open rectangles, blue may have 9 squares, red may have 9 triangles, green may have 9 doughnuts, white may have 9 dots and orange may have 9 solid rectangles. Foam stickers can be purchased from any shop selling craft items, and items such as hole punches and scissors can assist in consistency when making the shapes.

Connect 4

There are a few variations of this game out there.  The game is usually 7 columns wide and 6 rows high.  The idea, is to put 4 of your discs in a row, (whether they be up or down, left or right, or on a 45 degree angle). There are usually 2 lots of colours, each has 21 discs.  To adapt this game for a visually impaired person, you could either drill a hole through one of the colours, mark it with phone bling, or mark it with sticky velcro or raised paint.  This will need to be done on both sides, so all the person has to do is run his or her fingers across the discs to determine which discs are theirs. Make sure that where it has been marked, it can be slid down easily into the game, so that it doesn't get caught on anything while dropping down to make a row of 4 discs. To make the game a little harder for a sighted person, you could get them to shut their eyes so they have to rely on their sense of touch.

Dice

Dice can also be adapted. Nowadays, you can get different sizes of dice, and in different colours. If the person is totally blind, you could use phone bling to mark from the number 1 to the number 6 on the dice.  Small phone bling could be stuck onto the top of the dice and could give a tactile marker for that person. (For example use 1 phone bling for the number 1 and 6 phone blings for the number 6).  Also, using high colour contrast dice, may work for some people. (For example, black dots on a white background, white dots on a black background, or black dots on a yellow background). Using bigger dice can also make a difference if a person has some useful vision.

Sea Battle

Sea Battle is a classic battleship game.  It is a very tactile game. It consists of 11 colums and 9 rows.  Each grid co-ordinate has a hole. These are for you to place your ships into (for example, your ship might be across B1, B2 and B3, or to mark where your bombs have missed.  If you would like to tell the difference between the red bombs (which are a hit on a battle ship), and the white ones (which are a miss),  you could mark them with a little puff paint or whatever you want to use for a marker.  The person playing will still be able to tell the difference between a hit and a miss on a battle ship (even if not marked), as the hits will be physically higher than the misses on the board.  This game can be easily worked out once the grid has been learned by using your fingers. For example, the co-ordinate A 5 is marked by placing a marker where column A and row 5 intercept.  For a visually impaired person, the bombs may be visually distinguishable. For a blind player, the hits and misses can be worked out by the height of the markers. If a section of the board has not been bombed yet, then you will simply feel a blank hole.

Care Bear pressomatic board game - also known as Ludo

This is a game for 1 to 4 players. In each corner, there are 4 holes (towards the outsides) where your pegs are placed waiting to start the game. To play the game, you press a dome in the centre of the board, and it will automatically flip the dice for you.  You need to get a 6 to move out onto your START hole. Either a sighted person could tell you what you got, or you could use brailled dice in its place.  The circuit your pegs travel around are raised peg holes going all the way around the board. You travel in a clockwise direction.  From the outside of the board (where your HOME holes are), you will have another row of holes (which are your circuit) and then going inwards from there again (towards the centre), are 4 more holes which are the FINISH holes. Your 4 HOME holes go from left to right on the outside, and your 4 FINISH holes go from the middle of your HOME holes towards the pressomatic dome in the centre and are numbered from 1 to 4.  There are 4 colours of pegs. These can be brailled, either by their colour (for example Y for yellow or R for red); or it would be just as easy to have one dot for the first player's colour and 4 dots for the fourth players colour and so on, on top of each peg. You can decide how you would like to mark these. Once you have moved around the board (by throwing a 6 to start, avoided getting landed on and returned to your HOME holes again, and successfully made it almost towards the FINISH holes in the centre), you will need to throw smaller numbers to safely move into the FINISH holes.  The whole board is tactile. When you move your pieces, you can feel the holes where your pegs are meant to go. The player who has the most pegs in their FINISH bay wins.

Draughts - also known as Checkers

This is a good little game to play once adapted. The board and pieces came from a second hand shop. To adapt this game was quite easy. The board consists of 64 squares. Thirty two of them were black and the other 32 were white. I used velcro with the sticky back and the colour of the velcro was black to stick to the thirty two black squares on the board going from left to right. The rough part of the velcro was used for this. This at least showed me where all of the black squares were on the board as I navigated it with my pieces. Some people find they knock game pieces away from their position so using the velcro on the bottom of the pieces stops them from moving. The next step was to use sticky velcro again, but this time with the smooth side. The sticky part stuck to the game piece and was cut to size to make it look tidy. Now we were up and running. So how could I tell the difference between my pieces and the other persons? Simple, I grabbed  the sticky velcro again, and using the rough side marked the top of the other persons pieces with a small strip of velcro. This way you can easily tell the difference between your pieces and theirs. On the side that has been marked (so that you can tell the difference between yours and the other players pieces) when you go to get your piece crowned, you may need to turn your piece upside down for it to sit into the other piece snugly. Doing this will mean that the smooth velcro is now facing upwards. The only problem there is, is that your opponents pieces will then be the same. The way around this, is to mark the side of one set of counters with a bit of bling or velcro. Then, all you have to do is run your finger around the side of the counter to tell whose piece it is. (You usually wouldn't have too many pieces left on the board by then anyhow)... There are many different ways you can mark pieces and game boards. Choose the method that best suits you. I have found sticky backed velcro and assorted sizes of sticky backed bling (also known as phone bling) useful for marking a variety of items around the home.

Chess

This is a good strategy game to play.  It consists of 16 pieces per side. The object of the game is to take out your opponents pieces and capture your opponents king. The same board was used to play chess. On the board (mentioned above) where the velcro went from east to west on the black squares, this time I used white velcro on the white squares but going in the opposite direction (IE from north to south). This way I could tell the difference between the white and black squares by just running my fingers from left to right. If the velcro was higher and lower than the velcro going from left to right, then these were the white squares. The velcro that was cut for these squares was cut to the size of the biggest piece that I play with on the board. Be careful not to fill up the whole square, otherwise you will not be able to tell the difference between the squares. The next step after this was to use the smooth sticky backed velcro on the game pieces, so they would stick to the rough velcro on the board. The pieces were tidied up by cutting off any over hanging velcro. The very last step was to mark all the coloured pieces of one colour on one side. (For example mark all the black pieces like the pawns, queen and so on so that when you feel the pieces, all black ones have a bling or velcro marking, and all white ones have nothing. This may be on the head of a piece or near the base, but make sure that wherever you mark it, it is consistent for ease of identification.

Remember you can also visit the let's go shopping page for places to purchase games that have already been adapted.
Please visit the following link
http://accessibilitycentral.net/lets%20go%20shopping.html


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