Disabilities and Gaming - A Barrier that Can Be Surmounted
Valencia Victorious Von Verrata is the
Canada
Calgary
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First of all, forgive the forthright and un-PC title. However you say it, handicapped/handicapable/disabled/disABILITY, etc... I'm going with the clinical definition. With that out of the way for Nuance Nazis, I'm curious about experiences in all 3 forums on disability and gaming. Whether this is a family member's, a dependent's, friend's, someone's story you know very well or your own, I'd like to hear as many as possible. I've done a good geeklist view and there are perhaps less than 10 on this topic and generally focus on the visual impairment or the disability of one solitary person.

I want to hear them all. Or as many as possible. Are there certain games that are a lot easier for certain disabilities (large printing and vivid colour differentiation is an obvious one for the visually reduced. How about for the colourblind?) How do you adapt games for your deaf daughter? How does your son with a learning disability have the game modified, perhaps shapes or components changed to assist him in processing with other senses? Examples I just pulled out of the ether, it's just to get the ball rolling.
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1. Board Game: Jet Set [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:2430]
Board Game: Jet Set
Valencia Victorious Von Verrata is the
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[url][/url]I have two personal examples that I'd like to put forward:

Wheelchair-restricted gamers at our local gaming convention (I don't have any at my personal gaming groups), have full access to tables at our annual GOBfest gaming convention (wide, long tables with massive amounts of space around them that you could drive a bus between them and still have room). Therefore, not restricted to being at one end of the table or another. Several individuals with learning/speech impediments bring their gaming or non-gaming parents with them (and aren't charged admission) to assist them with their game play, as many are afflicted with a host of neurological conditions impacting speech and upper body motor functions.

Personally, one of my closest bffs (20 years my senior and a bouncing blonde ball of gorgeous gemini joy) has Prosopagnosia. She can't distinguish anyone's face from another, unless you have really distinctive hair (apparently skin tone isn't a sufficient differentiator, as one of our close gaming friends is a dark East Indian man). This is something I learned within the last month or so, despite knowing her for nearly 4 years at this point. As a result, I've instituted (yes, I'm a benevolent rules dictator at our local gaming groups. Only new players get mulligans) an action announcement rule, so that players vocalize what action they've taken and that they've passed it onto the next player (to combat her severe ADHD as well). This keeps players on task, leaving no confusion for whose turn it is and does not out her condition to anyone. Fights Analysis Paralysis (AP) at the same time. 3 for 1 win.
 
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2. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:726] [Average Rating:6.84 Unranked]
Board Game: Zooloretto
Andreas
Germany
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I am a member of a self help group where the groups leader is blind and some of its members are blind or visually impaired too. Thus a blind lady and me modified my copies of Zooloretto and Cash and Guns for the blind.

Zooloretto: Put braille language on all tokens by way of adhesive strips printed with a braille typewriter. As the tokens are small and braille language is wide the signage was abbreviated, for example KAMF for a female camel, KAMM for a male camel.
On the game board I glued card board pieces so the different compartments could be felt by hand.

With Cash and Guns each card got a braille sticker to it, as got the tokens and the cardboard standouts for the different villains. The idea of game play was that each player would be required to announce at whom he aims the gun, as this could not be heard or seen by a blind player.

Both games work with a blind person, but the group lost interest in boarrd gaming and they are now unused.
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3. Board Game: Atmosfear: The DVD Board Game [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:18241]
Board Game: Atmosfear: The DVD Board Game
Andreas
Germany
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Then I run a weekly gaming group for mentally handicapped persons. I chose Atmosfear as one picture as it is one of the signature games of the group. The first round of Atmosfear was a roaring success and had the ladies and gentlemen very excited and happy. Some were put off by the atmosphere, the game is not for those easily frightened. But those were in the minority.

A host of other games do work with mentally handicapped persons. In fact I have a geek list where I list all games we played and its over 175 now. On top of this come a lot that are the same game but differ in theme or implementation. For example the Lotto game - of which we actually played 2 today and at least one every evening the group gathers - was played in a many versions: Pixi (chidrens games) by Noris, animal babies by Ravensburger, childrens lotto by Klee games, Zoo Lotto by Plasticart (german democratic republic), horse lotto by Schmidt, traffic sign Lotto by Ravensburger, Mickey Mouses traffic sign Lotto by Schmidt....

The games are physically not modified and do not need to. In my experience a game that is successful does need to be simple and easy to operate in the first place which makes me choose childrens games mostly. A game should have luck to level the playing field between gamers of different abilities. And thats about it.
A good presentation is a must. I as a host must know the games beforehand or am sure I get this game and can host and explain it (admittedly not difficult with most childrens games). And some games need their rules to be modified. For example we played Clue (Cluedo). Having the players ask each other about the items and writing their findings down is of course no suitable game mechanic. But we played it in a guessing style. The players rolled and moved their tokens to the different rooms and upon entering a room could take a guess. First the murder weapon was guessed, then the location etc. If they guessed correctly they could keep the weapons, locations... card. I helped a bit when someone guessed an item that was proven wrong before. I admit this is not Clue in its pure form but it works with handicapped people and its great fun and the atmosphere (murder, an old house...) is still there. Did not hurt that my thrifted Clue copy is a more deluxe version with sculpted and painted pieces for Reverend Green, Colonel Mustard etc.
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