Gamer Beats Abe’s Exodus — Blind

There are a surprising number of video games designed specifically for blind gamers, such as Entombed (click here to read our review of Entombed), but few mainstream games are designed with the disabled gamer in mind.  When a blind gamer makes the news for completing a mainstream video game like Abe’s Exodus, we must sit up, take special notice, and congratulate the game’s developer’s for making a game that, though accessibility may not have been their primary goal, is manageable by people with disabilities.

Terry Garrett of Colorado, a 23-year-old college student studying aerospace engineering — posted a video on YouTube discussing his interests in gaming, how he manages to play games with no vision, and plenty of samples of Abe’s Exodus gameplay footage.  You can watch the video for yourself by following this link to YouTube: Gamer Beats Abe’s Exodus — Blind

Using only … Continue reading

Dominion: Review

 

Dominion Box Art

 

Game Info

Publisher: Rio Grande Games

Year Published: 2008

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Play Time: 30 minutes

Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Ages: 10 and up

Table Size: Small or Medium (depends on number of players)

Review

Despite the incredible amount of time I have spent playing the game, it has taken me a long time to write this review. I don’t usually have trouble coming up with words to describe something, least of all games, but with Dominion something is different. It is, perhaps, the epitome of what “accessible” means in relation to games and that, oddly enough, is what makes it so difficult to write about. How does one describe Dominion, with its near-infinite replayability and ease of … Continue reading

Dungeons and Dragons and Disabilities

D&D… and D.

I started pen-and-paper roleplaying when I was about 12 years old. My friends and I started out by playing RuneQuest and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons with our older brothers, and eventually graduated in to playing other RPGs and, indeed, designing our very own from the ground up. We developed our own rules for a pen-and-paper wargame as well as a LARP (Live Action Role Play) before we even knew those terms existed.

Around the age of 16 I started losing my vision. Slowly, but surely, my eye sight became much worse until I came to a point where I was no longer able to read standard print. While this has all-but-killed my video game days, it has failed to stop me from playing some of the other types of games that I love, namely RPGs and board games. With today’s technology and an increasing awareness for gamers … Continue reading

Mystery of the Abbey: First Impressions

Myster of the Abbey Box Art

 

Game Info

Publisher: Days of Wonder

Year Published: 2007 (with Pilgrim expansion) / 1996 (originally)

Number of Players: 36

Play Time: 90 to 120  minutes

Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Ages: 10 and up

Table Size: Medium

Impressions

I recently had the joy of trying out this “who done it” game with some friends who I gave it to as a Christmas gift.  A buddy of mine and I were trying to pick out a game that would make a great gift for a couple, since both have varying tastes in board games and were looking for something that would be good for a larger group.  After much deliberation, we decided to go with Mystery of the Abbey because it seemed like it would be a simple game to pick up and play with new … Continue reading

Alhambra Review

 

Alhambra Box Art

Game Info

Publisher: Queen Games

Year Published: 2003

Number of Players: 2 to 6

Play Time: 60 minutes

Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Ages: 8 and up

Table Size: Medium or Large Table (depends on number of players)

Review

Released by German publisher Queen Games, Alhambra is a fun, family-friendly game of building and strategy. The theme is simple: your task is to build the best Alhambra — a “palace, fortress, and small city” — in ancient Spain. Workers have come from far and wide to help you build, but insist on being paid in their native currency. Thus, Alhambra is a game of both resource management and city planning, though it doesn’t let itself get too bogged down by these principles and the … Continue reading

Accessible Runes: Update

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the seriesAccessible Runes

If you haven’t already, read my article about Accessible Runes.

After contacting five different sellers on Etsy.com, all of whom hand-craft runes of their own, I found a couple of people who were willing to take on the task of custom making raised runes out of clay. To top it off, they even agreed to paint them in a high contrast color scheme for me, so that I might be able to both see and feel the runes.

The first seller to finish a batch of these for me is “ballardbk” (click here for ballardbk’s Etsy store). This seller was both friendly and expedious in making a set of runes and sold them to me at his regular going price for a full set; about $7 before shipping, and that included the extra cost of paint associated with my special set. I thought this was … Continue reading

Entombed (PC): Review

Game Info

Publisher: Driftwood Audio Entertainment

Year Published: 2010

Number of Players: 1

Play Time: Dozens of hours or more

System Requirements: Windows PC with Microsoft .NET 3.5 installed or Mac if it’s virtualized through VMWare Fusion or a similar program

Review

Driftwood Audio Entertainment’s Entombed is a Roguelike (Wikipedia entry) game developed specifically for blind and visually impaired gamers. The game is designed entirely around the use of audio cues and keyboard commands, making it easily accessible for anyone with a visual impairment, but it is entertaining enough to play even if you’re sighted.

The term “Roguelike” refers to a subgenre of text-based adventure/roleplaying games similar to the game Rogue, which essentially kicked off the genre. These games are often set in a high fantasy setting and include typical fantasy races, such as elves, dwarves, ogres, and faeries, and often include typical … Continue reading

The Low Vision Store: Games

My girlfriend and I were flipping through a catalogue of accessible daily living supplies when we came upon a few pages of games for the blind and visually impaired. The catalogue includes low-vision and blind versions of several of the most popular American family board games, such as Scrabble, Dominoes, Chess and Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe, and more. I went to the web site, which you can visit here, to see what else they have.

In general, this seems to be a good source of games and products for people with disabilities. While they are geared toward the blind and visually impaired, the large print/large size of many of the products would also work well for people with impaired motor skills, or even people with small children in the house who don’t want their kids picking up and choking on game pieces. Some of the games listed are, unfortunately, quite … Continue reading

Accessible Runes

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the seriesAccessible Runes

Someone recently posed the question: “Where can I find rune casting supplies for a blind person?”  At first, I wondered what this had to do with accessible gaming, but then realized that this site is, or should be, about more than just board games.  Accessibility is an important issue in all walks of life, and while I can’t begin to cover everything, this particular subject strikes home with me.  You see, I just started taking a Nordic Shamanism class myself, so raised or tactile runes are suddenly a concern to me as well.  While I didn’t have an answer for this question off hand, I’ve begun the search for accessible runes of my own, and hopefully in doing so can bring them to light for others.

In this case, when I speak of runes I speak of objects that contain significant spiritual power to those of the Norse faith.  I … Continue reading

Game Day September 2010: Cleopatra

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the seriesSeptember Game Day

Cleopatra Box ArtThe next morning we kicked off a game of Cleopatra, a Days of Wonder game, after breakfast.  Cleopatra is another resource management and building game, but varies quite a bit from Catan.  In this game, each player is an architect in Ancient Egypt, trying to build parts of a palace for Cleopatra herself.  During the game, players will collect resource cards, build different structures, and occasionally play special “character” cards to try to help them earn the most Victory Points.  However, some of these building pieces come at a cost: use of sub par resources or interaction with shady characters may help you build faster but will earn you “corruption points” at the same time.  The person with the most corruption points at the end of the game is … Continue reading