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 expensive; $65 for a Monopoly set is quite a bit more than most people are willing to pay.
However, some of the items are definitely worth mentioning by name. More specifically, I found that the tools they have available to make general game play easier are particularly handy.
This set of 4 card holders, for example, is a tool that makes managing your hand much more simple. I have mentioned already that having something to hold up your cards would be useful for many people, and in the past suggested the use of Scrabble stands. These card holders are another very useful tool in card management, which is important in so many board games. For $8.99, it’s worth the price if you have difficulty managing a deck of playing cards, managing your Dominion hand, or even keeping track of your resources in Catan.
This set of Braille dice is also very useful for people who are blind. At $3.95, it is a reasonable price to pay for a set of 2 dice and a cup to roll them in. Make sure that you have some sort of rolling surface though; it can be difficult to keep track of dice if you aren’t rolling them in to a place with a fixededge that can keep them from getting lost.
One game that was noticably missing was Yahtzee. Yahtzee strikes me as perhaps one of the easiest games to make accessible. Increase the size of the dice and the print of the score cards and “Presto!” Instant low-vision Yahtzee. It would even be possible to use the above-mentioned Braille dice and a Braille score card to make Yahtzee for the totally blind.
My personal Yahtzee game has been upgraded to include large dice, which didn’t seem to be available on the above-mentioned web site. I did, however, find a set of 8 large dice for $25 at this web site. Since you only need 5 dice to play Yahtzee, this is more than enough.
Unfortunately, my game of Yahtzee has still been lacking a large print scorecard, so I took the time to fix that problem. You can download a copy of it here (.doc format, MS Word 2003).
If you have suggestions for other score cards that might be made in to large print, post a comment below!