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

Game Day September 2010: Catan Germany

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the seriesSeptember Game Day

Catan Germany Box ArtIt was getting pretty late when we finished A Touch of Evil and many folks either went home or went to bed.  Three of us stayed around to start one final board game of the night, though: Catan Geographies: Germany.  This game is very similar to other versions of Settlers of Catan but uses its own unique game board and ahs a number of key differences.

If you’re not familiar with the popular Settlers of Catan game franchise, you might want to look it up.  It is probably one of the most well-known German board games that have been ported to English, and for good reason.  Catan is a fun strategy game of resource management and city building, with relatively simple rules.

Catan… Germany is similar … Continue reading

Game Day September 2010: A Touch of Evil

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the seriesSeptember Game Day

A Touch of Evil Box ArtA Touch of Evil is a huge game that would be difficult to sum up in just a paragraph or five.  Instead of trying to describe it all myself, here is the game’s description:

“Tis’ the dawn of the 19th century; an age of science, superstition, and witchcraft. Howling fills the night as a full moon rises over the small, secluded village of Shadowbrook. Gruesome murders have become a daily occurrence and terror haunts the streets at night. An evil creature has taken up residence here and the countryside is engulfed by a tide of darkness. But all is not lost…not yet.

A small group of heroic individuals, with the courage and strength to fight, have arrived in town. Some just passing through while … Continue reading

Game Day September 2010: King Me

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the seriesSeptember Game Day

King Me Box ArtI hadn’t played King Me before, but ever since my girlfriend played it with the rest of that same group, she’s been interested in getting me to try it.  Everyone thought it would be a great game to try out for someone with a visual impairment, since the game seems simple enough and there isn’t a lot to keep track of.  While I appreciate the simplicity of the game and did have a lot o fun with it, I still had a bit of trouble picking it up and playing immediately.  I can see how a few modifications would make the game more enjoyable for someone who is visually impaired, and I think overall it would be a real blast to try again.

King Me, for those of you not familiar, is a simple game in … Continue reading

Game Day September 2010: Overview

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the seriesSeptember Game Day

September 18th, 2010.  My girlfriend and I missed our opportunity to attend the annual Portland Pirate Festival (http://www.portlandpiratevestival.com ) and our group’s bi-weekly movie night fell through, but the day wasn’t a loss.  Instead of movie night, some friends threw together an impromptu board game night, so we packed a bag full of games and headed downtown for a night of entertainment.

We were told to bring as many as we could, since everyone was dying to try something new and they knew our library of board games was starting to get quite large.  I remember that we brought Ivanhoe, Grand Tribunal, Knights of Camelot, Middle Kingdom, Settlers of Catan: Germany, Cleopatra, and Dork Tower.  There may have been one or two more, but it ended up almost being irrelevant.  We had just arrived at our friend’s apartment when another movie night regular called.  He and two others were … Continue reading

Pompeii Review

Pompeii Box Art

Game Info

Publisher: Mayfair Games

Year Published: 2006

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Play Time: 45 minutes

Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Ages: 10 and up

Table Size: Medium Table

Review

The year is 79 A.D. and you are a humble Roman citizen who has just moved in to the fine city of Pompeii. It’s so enjoyable here that you invite your friends and relatives to join you, and soon the city is abuzz with happy citizens. Unfortunately for you, a dark omen falls upon the city; nearby Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt, and all of your friends and family must now try to escape for their lives before becoming victims of one of the deadliest volcanoes in history!

Pompeii is a … Continue reading

Cape Horn: First Impressions

Cape Horn Box Art

Game Info

Publisher: Rio Grande Games, Kosmos

Year Published: 1999

Number of Players: 3 to 5

Play Time: 45 to 60 minutes

Set-up Time: Less than 5 minutes

Ages: 12 and up

Table Size: Small to Medium Table

Impressions

Cape Horn is a sailing game based on a historical race that took place in the 1800s, in which clipper ships set out from New York to sail to San Francisco in the fastest time possible.  One of the biggest obstacles they faced along their route was Cape Horn — the bottom tip of South America where the seas are some of the most windy and treacherous in the world.

In this game, players will take the roll … Continue reading