Accessible board games and activities for families with a visual impairment

Board games are great but how accessible can they be? We take a look at what's out there on the market for visually impaired people.

Board games are a great activity for friends and families spending time together. Whilst some of these games can be a little more competitive for players (we’re looking at you, Monopoly), others provide a great time spent playing some fun games with the people close to you. Below are our suggestions for accessible board games.

Braille and large print cardsUno cards with braille writing spread out across a table.

Card games are a great pastime with the wide variety of games that they can be used in, such as blackjack, rummy, and go fish – as well as many more! Playing cards can be difficult to use if you are visually impaired and as a result, we recommend large print and braille playing cards. These can be purchased on the RNIB website for around £10 or in the Complete Care shop also, as well as other online retailers.

Traditional board games

If more traditional board games, such as Chess, Draughts and Backgammon are more your style of play then there are other options as well. Tactile chess, Draughts, Backgammon and dominoes are purchasable to help quench the need to become a tactician for the day.

Perhaps if you consider yourself a bit more of a whizz with words, then Scrabble and Boggle are more for you. These games have also been made accessible by the wonderful people over at the RNIB. Scrabble has been transformed on to a large print and braille platform and Boggle has been blown up to new heights in Super Big Boggle!

These are available here.

Kids’ Games – fun for all the family!

Sometimes kids want to get involved with the festivities and finding an inclusive game that is suitable for children with sight loss can be difficult. However we have managed to find a more contemporary game that may suit your needs if you are looking for something new this Christmas break.

Master Fox – You’re all foxes trying to steal livestock from a farmer. When it’s your turn, you have specific livestock to capture, designated by cards that are pulled from a deck. The game comes with fox face masks that doubles up as a blindfold and you have to find the right pieces by feel alone. This game can be purchased here (but remember to check the reviews first!).

Puzzles

Waiting for the family to arrive can be a long wait sometimes, so why not pass the time with a large print Sudoku, Crossword or Wordsearch? These can all be purchased on Amazon, the RNIB website, or other online retailers.

Other items of interest

Google assistant and Siri

If you are struggling to roll dice then Siri or Google Assistant can come to your aid! If you ask them to “Roll the dice” with Siri or “roll two dice” with Google Assistant they will roll two six-sided dice for you. This is a super useful feature for a large amount of games that require dice rolling.

Alternatively if you prefer to use a physical dice or do not have access to a smartphone then there are tactile dice that are available online, either on the Dyslexia Shop website or in the RNIB store.

Add braille to existing games

If you don’t want to purchase a whole new board game, you can easily make existing games you own accessible for braille readers by purchasing a braille labeller – so you can add braille alongside the printed text. You can purchase one from the RNIB store.

Meeple Like Us - rating the accessibility of board games

Some of the lesser known board games like Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne, and a whole range of other games have been meticulously analysed by the hard workers over at Meeple Like Us. The team working over there is comprised of gaming academics, developers, hobbyists and enthusiasts. They write accessibility reviews on a range of games, with a specific focus to those on the BoardGameGeek top 500.

They break down the games in to eight different categories: Colour Blindness, Visual Impairment, Fluid Intelligence, Memory, Emotiveness, Physical, Socioeconomic and Communication. Each of these areas receives a grade from A+ through to E, and they also produce a comprehensive breakdown of the game in review format on their website.

View their accessibility ratings
Circular board game with stars around the edge and different shaped wooden blocks stacked against each other.

We hope this has helped you gain a better understanding of some of the items that are available out there, as well as some of the resources dedicated to understanding how accessible some of the other games in the board game market are. Happy Holidays!

Our Children & Families Team has expertise in making games and activities accessible to children, young people and families. They specialise in working with children and parents with sight loss, often with complex needs and additional disabilities. If you would like to find out more about the services that are on offer, check out our website or contact us on 0300 222 5555.

 

Disclaimer of liability

Please note that Henshaws are not affiliated with any of the products mentioned in this blog post, and we receive no commission for including them on our website. Although we have taken care to include correct and current information from trusted sellers, we can’t take responsibility for any of these items.

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James
James
James is a volunteer with the Marketing team in Manchester and has retinitis pigmentosa. He is a recent graduate of York St John University, where he studied Youth and Community work. He enjoys sci-fi and fantasy such as Star Wars or Game of Thrones, as well as sport and travelling (he may or may not also be a pro at Mario Kart).