The Colour-Blind Gamer

I suffer from colour-blindness (red/green/brown) and I've started this blog to explore how to improve games and systems to make them more playable. I will also showcase the games in our hobby that do it right as well, to let people know that there is hope - one day, all games will be playable by all.

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Colour-Blind Gamer Designer Focus #1 - Stefan Feld

Darren Bezzant
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I was sitting in the game library racking my brain to come up with a topic for the new Colour-Blind Gamer article to no avail, so I posed the question out to the other authors of SaskGames Magazine to some ideas. There were a lot of good ideas that I hope to remember for the next couple of months, but the one that Tyler McLaughlin gave me sparked an idea.

"[Why not] a list of games that are just not an option for you presently but you could fix?"

This gave me the idea for my next series of articles! However, instead of just bashing on game after game, I thought I would focus on some of my favourite designers; their exemplars of excellence, and their pastel coloured faux-pas.

I have played or own 12 of the 19 or so designs that Stefanhas produced. He is currently one of the hottest designers in the Euro-Game market, and his games are always of interest to me.

This will not be an in depth review of each game. I will put a little blurb about each one, just to 'whet the whistle', but mostly I will cover off the 'pros' and 'cons' of each design from my perspective.

Standard disclaimer applies: Every Colour blind person has different ranges of spectrum that they can see, even within their own colour limitations. What may work for me as an acceptable shade of red/green or blue/purple may not work for you. As the internet is fond of saying, 'YMMV.'

Now in no particular order: I will note that none of these games are an 'F' (unplayable) as most of the time colours in question are visible to other players and I can always ask, but to play a more strategic game, it would be nice to not have to ask all the time.

Castles of Burgundy (B+): One of Stefan's excellent designs. The game play is awesome, lots of replayability, and lots of paths to victory. At first glance this game seems fraught with issues. There are at least two shades of green in the game and a beige thrown in for good measure. The artwork helps differentiate them, but you have to pay attention. The tiles that give me the most problem in this game are the yellows, and just remembering what they actually do!

Trajan(D): This is my game group's favourite Feld game, THAT I CAN'T PLAY!!! There are so many pastel colour combinations that all just start to blur together about five minutes into the game. I have been tempted a number of times to try marking up the various player pieces and tiles (and board) to see if I could play it, but instead, I traded my copy away. If I ever pick up a cheap second hand copy, I may try to fix this one, as my only play, although painful and difficult, was a lot of fun.

In the Year of the Dragon (B): In general, the iconography is excellent, but I needed to mark the red and green scoring markers. The game is so mean, though, you really need to have the right group in the first play to get this to the table.

Macao(D): I've only played this once. Red/green/brown cubes and icons? Blue and purple? So many things that need to be marked up. I think there is enough of a game to make the effort, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

Amerigo(B): I had to mark the green and brown cubes to differentiate them from the red, but so long as someone else sorts them out on the wheel, I can use the iconography to take my turn. Why they couldn't put the darn icons on the colour track is a mystery to me, but at least they are in the same pattern as the wheel.

Brugge(D): Simple icons could have saved this game, but the reds and the greens can be difficult to determine even for my regular friends. If the cards didn't have the colour on the back, this would be a huge failure. I have been caught a few times by the meeple colour in the text area of the cards, but not enough to pass on the game entirely.

The Speicherstadt (B+): Disclaimer: This is my favourite Feld game, and I will forgive a lot for the excellent gameplay. I have marked up the cards and the cubes so that I can tell everything apart, but even before I did that, I would just muddle through the Ship cards and the contracts with the help of patient players.

Well, it's weird. When I started off writing about Mr. Feld's games, I was a staunch supporter and fan of his games. I still love his games, but none of them are an 'A.' I didn't cover off a couple of games that I own (Notre Dame, Luna, Rialto), as I haven't played them enough to make a decision, and I didn't want this article to run too long.
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Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:42 pm
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Colour-Blind Gamer #10: Tips to Designers, Game-Teachers and our fellow players - Part Three

Darren Bezzant
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Or - How to Play with colour-blind gamers.

[Part One] [Part Two]

The final key group involved in the colour-blind collective, are the rest of the players at the table.

Barring some exceptions, there is usually other people gathered around the table when we play games. Personally, that is the whole point of gaming, but that is a topic for a completely different post

I would love to say that playing with a colour-blind player is a completely seamless activity and you will hardly notice any differences. And that may be true, especially if the gamer doesn't happen to bring it up. I learned a long time ago that it is easier and less stressful to just bring it up at the beginning; that way everyone is on the same page.

But that is really on them to tell you, I guess. And if they don't, the rest of this article is moot

For those that stuck around, now you know that you are playing with a colour-blind gamer. Hopefully you are asking yourself, 'How can I help?'

NOTE: not all of these solutions will work in every game, the purpose of this list is to cover off common issues, and to get you thinking

The first thing you can do is ask if there is any component issues. Are there Colours that are hard to tell apart? Can you leave them out, or substitute? If yes, then that should help. If not, see if there is a mutually-agreed upon solution.

For example, In Vikings, I lay down the Red Noble Meeples, and leave the Green Scout Meeples standing up. That makes it easier to tell them apart. (Besides, Nobles are lazy, everyone knows that )

Secondly, make sure that they can differentiate the different areas of the board(s). If not - See if there is some way to help this. Sometimes, it only requires pointing out the various sections, but there are times I've had to resort to putting poker chips on various spots to assist.

Thirdly and probably most importantly, Be Patient, and accept that you may have to answer 'what colour is this?' a few times in the game. Remember that it is only a game, don't take advantage, and everyone deserves to play.

Finally, there may be situations that just won't work. There are few games that rely so heavily on colours, or are, realistically, just more work than desired. If you are able, either make sure that the player can get into another game, or, just find another game to play.

There are tons of games that work great, remember that the game is just the medium, the play is the thing!

If you have any questions, comments or additional ideas, depending on where you read this - either post a comment, or send me an email at colourblindboardgamer@gmail.com.
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Fri Aug 8, 2014 8:38 pm
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Colour-Blind Gamer #9: Tips to Designers, Game-Teachers and our fellow players - Part Two

Darren Bezzant
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Or - How to Teach colour-blind gamers.

Part one can be found at: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/31064/colour-blind-gam...


The next important group in the colour-blind gamer collective are the game teachers.

Game teachers are the core of any gaming community. A good game teacher is patient, speaks clearly and simply, and in a perfect world, has played the game before )

I don't consider myself the best game teacher around my gaming community, but it is a role that I play a lot, so I have a lot of experience.

During my tenure, I have come up with a few 'tricks' that can help other colour-blind gamers integrate easier into the game.

1. ASK. Most colour-blind gamers are reluctant to mention that they have troubles with one colour or another. Just the simple action of asking, can usually help set the stage for an easier time of both teaching and playing the game.

Once the game teacher is aware of any issues, then they can begin to assist the player(s) with any issues that might exist in the game.

2. Make sure that the player has a colour that they are comfortable with. This might be the only thing you have to worry about in a lot of games.

3. When describing the game components - make sure that the player can tell the difference between them. You may have to come up with some ways to additionally differentiate them. Fortunately most companies have heard the hue and cry and have begun to add more symbols to their components. (A big shout out to those publishers - You know who you are!)

Some things I have done, for example, is in Vikings - I lay the Green Scouts on their side to tell the difference between them from the Red.

Another thing I have done is in Speicherstat - is that I position the cargo cubes in a specific order (Red at the top of the card, Green in the Middle and the rest at the bottom).

For extreme cases - you may need to use other pieces. Different shapes can be very helpful, as well as little stickers or post-its. I always have a 'tickle-trunk' (bonus points for the reference) full of various bits and stuff in case I need it.

4. Sometimes the board can be an issue. Differentiating between different borders or territories can be challenging sometimes, and be one of the biggest hurdles. I have had some luck with just pointing out the borders as needed, but I have also had to resort to using Catan Roads (or similar) to outline the borders of some boards.

Just keep in mind that there are a lot of things that may come up, but these are my 4 biggest. The real secret is to just be aware of the potential issues, keep the lines of communication clear and friendly and make sure that everyone is having a great time!

I won't say that every game is playable by everybody, but if a little extra effort can be taken - more people can enjoy this great hobby of ours!

If you have any questions, comments or additional ideas, depending on where you read this - either post a comment, or send me an email at colourblindboardgamer@gmail.com.
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Sun Jul 6, 2014 10:16 pm
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Colour-Blind Gamer #8: Tips to Designers, Game-Teachers and our fellow players - Part One

Darren Bezzant
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Or - How to play with bloody Colour-blind gamers

I am not an expert on colour-blindness, but I have been an avid board gamer for over 8 years, and I frequently encounter games that offer challenges to me as a colour-blind person.

This article stems from an email that I received from a fellow gamer, when I was trolling for article ideas. (Thanks David!)

I was asked if there were any tips I would give when playing with colour-blind gamers, and from there I started to put together a list. In the end, I determined that there are three groups of people that can impact my enjoyment of a given game; The Publisher, The Game Teacher and the Other Players.

This article covers off the first group, the Publisher.

Please NOTE: I will not be pointing fingers in the article. Publishers have been getting much better about this issue over the years, and I hope by starting the conversation, it can open the doors to even more games.

The publisher holds in his hands, the ability to ensure that the game is playable by as wide an audience as possible. Some things that the publisher can do to make the game open to a much wider audience are:

Highly-contrasting colours: Avoid pastel colours or ambiguously shaded colours on player pieces. Use clearly delineated areas on a map. Don't just use colour-coded text in rules to show emphasis.


Clear Symbols: Incorporating clear symbology (and possibly small-font text) can make a game much easier to me to follow along. Conversely - don't use so many symbols as to make the game impossible to play. There can be a balance between text and symbols that can ensure a wider audience.


Differently shaped game pieces: this can make all the difference for some people. If I know that all my pieces are the Hexagon-shaped pieces versus squares or triangles, it really won't matter how colour-deficient I am.


I know that there are a lot of games that rely on colours as part of the game mechanic; I don't expect to be able to play too many of those. Those are not the games that cause me trouble.

There are many games that I need modify beforehand to make playable. (If you go through my previous articles, you can see some examples).

But I am not the person the publisher needs to be concerned about. I will buy games, modfiy them as I need to, and play them anyway. the person that the publisher is going to lose is the one who comes across your game in a bookstore, or FLGS and realizes that they can't play this game because it is too hard to tell the board colours apart; or the cards are too similar, etc.

The more gamers we have playing; the better it is for the hobby, and that is better for all of us.

Thanks!


If you have any questions, comments or additional ideas, depending on where you read this - either post a comment, or send me an email at colourblindboardgamer@gmail.com.
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Mon Jun 9, 2014 5:02 pm
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Why fixing the colours may not be enough...

Darren Bezzant
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This post comes from a partial conversation that I had with a member of my game group, who also is a game designer.

Colour-vision deficiency is an interesting beast. It presents differently in each individual. There are of course, ways to group them, "Red-Green", "Blue-Green", etc, but I think it is 'virtually' impossible to design a game with colours that will satisfy everyone.

It really comes down to use of symbols, shapes and patterns. If you can apply some tangible, physical variables to the player pieces and game components, you open your design up to a wider audience.

Anyway, back to my story. John wanted to show me some different meeples and cubes to see whether I could tell them apart. There were a number of different colours and I took a quick look and told him which ones I could tell apart. I didn't think much of it at the time.

The challenge of course,Power Grid is that I was looking at the cubes from my own personal deficiencies and the environment I was in at the time. If the light level had changed, or I was paying more or less attention, my answer could have been quite different.

Afterwards, though, I started to reconsider my position, and realized I had done both him and my fellow gamers a potential disservice.

Even if I can tell them apart, that doesnt mean that it will work for everyone. I think anything that is solely separated by colours, needs to have something else to tell them apart.

Most games will always suffer from this problem, as it is too expensive to make distinctive player colours, but as I have discussed before, using dots, or stickers, or a sharpie marker, can clean that up.

The challenge for me at least, comes from colour challenges on the board, or on cards.

My most recent guilty party was Power Grid. I had a very difficult time telling the various 'zones' apart. We did discuss a bunch of ways to block off the zone that wasn't being used, and we ended up using an unused player color on the cities. But I had an idea that I might have to try next time.....

Create a cutout of foam core that matches the zone. Unfortunately this requires a lot of work. You need to have cutouts for each zone, for each Map! If I played the same map every time, that might work, but unfortunately, almost every game seems to be on a new map....

A couple of games that do it right are...

Freedom the Underground Railroad's slave catcher pawns are both different colours and different shapes. It was a great touch that made this game very playable.

Sticheln - a great trick taking game - uses different artwork on their different coloured suits to allow me to tell them apart.
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Wed Apr 9, 2014 3:35 pm
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#6 Quick Picks!

Darren Bezzant
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It seems that I have played a lot of games over the past couple of weeks that I haven't evaluated from a colour-blind-gamer perspective.
This post is here mostly to collect my initial thoughts, but I may come back to a couple of these in the future, especially if I come up with some more ideas or improvements that I want to share.

OK then, on to the games!

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
Notes: Great 2 player game with lots of replayability. Fixed turn length, easy to explain rules.

Any Issues? No, just about everything is driven by text or really clear icons. The horse and Cow could have been a problem if they weren't clearly different shapes.

The Duke
Notes: A 2 player abstract that is really interesting. The obvious lineage back to chess is clearly evident, but the differences are awesome. Picking your pieces from the bag and each piece has two sets of movement. The iconography for the movement is very clear and simple.

Any Issues? Maybe one - there are some of the wooden pieces that seem off coloured. It didn't become a problem in my game, but I will definitely keep an eye on it.

Advanced Civilization
Notes: A Grand, Epic, monster of a game that takes more than 8 hours to play.
I get to play this about once a year. The components are very simple - some square tokens for your population, some circles for your cities (oh yeah, and some rectangular boats ) all with your countries having a different icon and (supposedly) colour.

Any Issues? There are some zones on the board that I have a hard time telling apart, but other than getting the board setup, I've never had a problem playing this.

Arkham Horror
Notes: I am a very big fan of Lovecraft and Arkham Horror is one of the main reasons for that. This Table-hogging behemoth tells an awesome story every time. The characters are iconic; the villains are classic and scary. The ancient ones so tough, the battle seems impossible. But together, this cooperative game comes together perfectly.

Any Issues? It took me three games to figure out that the pictures on the cards matched the board, but usually I have my cards separated into piles that relate to the board(s). That way I can quickly find the cards I am looking for. The board is clear, but I like the First Edition board's coloring and contrast more so than the Second edition.

Eight-Minute Empire
Notes: This Small-Footprint Area-Control masterpiece is elegance in design. The board is very clean, with clear lines between the territories. It might not take exactly eight minutes to play, but it is a great super-filler game for 2-5 players.

Any Issues? The red and the green pieces could be confusing, but this can be easily lean up with a Sharpie or sticker.

R
Notes: This quick 2-player card game is the epitome of simplicity. Each player has 8 cards, in which each player plays a card, simultaneously revealed and resolved. If you win four rounds, you win!

Any issues? None that I could tell. The artwork is basically Black and white with some text in both Japanese and English.

Lost Legacy
Notes: Love Letter's sequel, basically plays the same way, but with different card effects. Not sure if there is enough differences to really merit keeping it around, but it does add some variety.

Any Issues? Again, similarly to 'R' there is no real colour issues, the cards are text based.

Villa Paletti
Notes: This dexterity game is really well done. You pull pillars from one level and add them a level above. If the building collapses, then that player loses

Any Issues? The Red and green pillars are challenging as always, but in this game you are really only worried about 'Your colour' and 'Not Your Colour', so play a colour you can identify, like yellow or blue.

Stronghold
Notes: This is an awesome castle defense game, pitting attackers versus defenders. The actions chosen by the attacker, determine how many actions (time) the defender gets. The more things the attacker builds (catapults, spells, tech), the more stuff the defender can put up against them.

Any Issues? Unfortunately - This whole game revolves around Red, Green and White cubes, cylinders and board spaces. I found that I could identify them if I focused on them, especially if I put them side by side, but I think this will require a bit of work to ensure that it is playable.

Cavemen: The Quest for Fire
Notes: This game is sort of a deck-builder, but really it is a tableau builder, as your hand is played openly. It is quite a neat game that I will need to play again.

Any Issues? The cards really don't rely on colours, more iconography (which is clear and simple).

Augustus
Notes: I've been told by some that my description of this as being 'Gamer Bingo' as a perfect explanation for this game. Others say it could scare away some gamers. But I think Bingo is a very apt explanation. You draw a tile from a bag; put a meeple on that icon on one of your objectives. If that fills your objective? You complete it (and possibly get some sort of bonus). See? Bingo.

Any issues? No, not really. It would be nice if there was an icon on the location objectives that tells the colours, instead of the green, red and purple banners. The map does help, sort of, but not enough I am afraid

Nothing Personal
Notes: This is a negotiation game in where we are playing Mafioso. It plays a lot like Kremlin, in which there is a hierarchy of characters, with a variety of powers and abilities. You play influence cards and trigger abilities in order to assert your influence over the whole mob.
I really want to like this game, but I am absolute rubbish in negotiation games.

Any Issues? None that I could see, everything is driven by very clear cons.

La Boca
Notes: This is a real-time, cooperative, team game in which you are building a 3-Dimensional structure using different coloured 'Tetris-like' blocks. You are timed and receive points based on how long it takes you to build it. The wrinkle is that you get to see one side of the building and your partner gets to see the other side. Only.

Any Issues? Of course there are The colours of the blocks and their representation on the cards can sometimes be very difficult to distinguish. Not 100% sure how best to fix this, but this game is worth trying to make work


Well, that should catch me up. I am hoping to have some time this week to do a blog post about some more tip's and tricks, but work has been kicking really hard lately.

Cheers!
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Sun Nov 3, 2013 11:18 pm
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Colour-Blind Gamer #5 - Francis Drake

Darren Bezzant
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As discussed on my last BoardGame Knight Blog, we got Francis Drake to the table.

I'm not going to go into the rules or my experiences (you can go to my blog for that), but here I try to focus on how this game is suited towards colour-blind players.

The Board
This huge board has two major parts - Plymouth Street, and the Map of the Caribbean. Plymouth street is fairly clear - some of the icons are really small, and I found that it was difficult to tell, sometimes, whether you were getting a gun (grey cube) or a trade good (purple). In most caes it is clear, since you will be on tile that says guns or trade goods. The challenge is usually on the personalities. (the Queen gives you a trade good, not a gun).

The major issue I have is the Location Tiles themselves. There are sets of tiles for 3/4/5 players and then German and English. The English ones are three shades of blue, and hard to tell apart (especially the 3 player (light blue) and 4 player (base blue). I think I am going to put either a sticker or a dot on one set of the tiles, probably the 3 player, as I will most likely play with 4.

The other part of the board is the map of the Spanish Main. It is a beautiful map, that it turns out is separated into four sections, by some very faint lines (and colours). The whole table found it difficult to see the lines, but were able to mostly distinguish the colors of the zones. I was going to go over the lines with something darker, but after playing it the first time - I found that I could just tell which zone everything was in. (Hint: there is a galleon, town and a ship per zone)

The Cards
No real cards - there are tiles that go on both the board (discussed above) and the Player board (discussed here!)

Some of the Location tiles, give the player a tile to add to their board (Governer, Informer, Pinnace, etc.) - they are well drawn and clear, and I didn't have any problem telling them apart.


The Player Pieces
As per most Euro-games, the red and the green player pieces are a challenge to tell apart. This time they decided to also throw in Orange! I think I am going to try stickers on these - I've picked up some shapes stickers at the Dollar Store that should do the trick.

Other components
There are a couple components in the game that need attention. As discussed above, the Guns (grey) and the Trade Goods (purple). When we were first sorting out the pieces - I thought I was missing the Trade Goods cubes, that is how closely they seem (to me) to be Grey cubes.

What I would like to do with these is replace them both with something more representative. I think I have Cannon pieces from an old copy of risk, and I am sure that I can find something to use for trade goods (any ideas? please comment).

The other pieces that might be a challenge is the glass beads that are used to represent the gold, silver and jewels (the gold and jewels) are a little hard to tell apart. The challenge is that you put the bead into your player chest, so I can't replace them with something that won't fit into the chest.

Personal Thoughts
I really like this game, there is a lot of things going on in here, and the colour issues mentioned above are easily managed or worked around.

I would not hesitate to bring this out with other colour-blind gamers, even directly out of the box.
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Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:27 pm
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Review: Emu Ranchers

Darren Bezzant
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I received a review copy a couple of days ago, requesting that I take a look at it from a Colour-blind perspective.

I've never done an an official review, so please forgive me for any rookie mistakes

Emu Ranchers
Emu Ranchers is a 2 player card game, using the Decktet Games. It really reminds me a lot of Lost Cities with a few really neat twists.

Firstly - since it is a Decktet Deck, there are two suits on each card. They use both colours and neat simple symbology to make it very clear which cards are which. The symbols are a little small, which are great for reading your side of the table, but a little tiny for a quick glance of your opponents cards. It was rarely an issue, as we were playing on a smaller table, and weren't too far apart from each other.

Secondly - Unlike Lost Cities - and my personal favourite part of this game is that you can create your set of cards, in either ascending or descending order! No more getting all the high cards and being stuck searching for a better card to open up with! And to put the cherry on top, you don't need to declare the order, or even the color of the set, until the second card is played in the flight.

Thirdly - For some advanced play, they have added wildcards, which can come in very handy if your opponent has swiped the very card you needed. They have also added a card that allows you to discard a set, which really adds to the flexibility of gameplay.


The Board
No board

The Cards
Obviously, the core of the components. They are of good laminated cardstock, with clear colours and symbology.
They use an elegant combination of open and filled in circles, squares and diamonds to differentiate between the colours, which I found to be very useful, and non-intrusive to Normal colour-vision players.
I did feel that the symbols may be a bit small to see from across the table, I think they did a really good job here, and I have no problems recommending this game.

The Player Pieces
No player pieces

Other components
I guess the only other components in the game are the rules and the box.
The box is a functional tuckbox, and is kind of on the small side. Sure it holds the game, but not much room for much else. It definitely hides on the shelf. But realistically, it is a card game, and it does its job well.
The rules are fairly well laid out. They have clear pictures of some of the cards and examples of game play. I have no complaints about the rules.

Personal Thoughts
This is a fun game, that does an excellent job of differentiating itself from its inspiration. There are enough differences and decision points between Emu Ranchers and Lost cities, that I believe that they both can sit proudly on my game shelf.
My opponent for the first game wondered if this could have been made into a 4-player game with a second set, so he thought he would work out something on that, and I will let you know if that makes any headway.
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Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:20 am
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#4 Freedom: The Underground Railroad and 6 Nimmt!

Darren Bezzant
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As mentioned on my recent blog post, we played a couple of games this past week. The purpose of this blog entry is to cover them off with regards to Colour-vision.

The first game that hit the table was 6 nimmt!. I was finally able to get a copy of this, as it has been hard to get this over here in Canada. It is part of the Amigo Card games series, and will likely be my new opener filler game!

6 nimmt!

The Board
There is no board in this game.

The Cards
The cards are really the only component of the game. There are colours for different cards, but they also very clearly show the number of bull icons (the scoring component), which makes this very easy for me to play.

The Player Pieces
There are no additional player pieces in this game.

Other components
There are no other components in this game.

Personal Thoughts
This is a great game. It was recently reimplemented as The Walking Dead Card Game but it is really thinly pasted on, and I don't feel adds anything to the game. (Also, my daughter is not a fan of zombies, so she really prefers the 6 Nimmt! edition)


After our opener - we pulled out another recent acquisition. Freedom: The Underground Railroad. I arranged to have my Kickstarter copy picked up at GenCon, but this was the first time I was able to sit down and play it.

Freedom: The Underground Railroad

The Board
The board has two parts - the map and the planning area.

The planning area is fairly intuitive, with clear labels for the various components within the three 'ages' of the game. I didn't find any problems here.

The map portion is also well laid out. there are clear symbols for each of the slave catcher paths, and the different types of cities have different shapes.

The Cards
The cards are very clear, and the symbology is supported with text on the cards. The colours are fairly distinct, and even if I were to have a problem distinquishing between the Red and the Tan Cards, the Red ones don't have a date on the top of the card.

The Player Pieces
There really aren't any specific player pieces - it is a communal board.

Other components
The Conductor/Fundraising tokens have very clear iconography, and have a tiny date on them to make sure they get sorted into the right column.

The slave-catcher tokens have very distinct shapes and colors on them as well (great job here!).

All of the slave cubes are identical, and pretty much impossible to confuse with any other component.

Personal Thoughts
This is a much deeper game than I first anticipated. there is an elegant tug-of-war going on with the Slave-Catchers, that if not managed properly, will certainly cause you grief.
Being only an 8-round game, you have to be focused the entire time, otherwise, the game will be very difficult to beat.
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Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:57 am
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#3 - A couple of new games hit the table this week...

Darren Bezzant
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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So I got another couple of games to the table, last GameKnight, and I thought that I would give my perspective from The Colour-Blind Gamer POV.

FireFly: the Game
Firefly is a really new game by Gale Force Nine. This is their second major outing, a followup to their smash hit Spartacus. I'm not going to go a lot into rules or mechanics, but more into the functionality of the components for a colour-blind individual.

The Board
The board is very clear - with good symbology to identify where you meet contacts, and can purchase supplies. Extreme colour-vision deficient individuals may need to be shown where the borders change from Reaver-Space to Alliance-Space.

The Cards
The contact cards have unique symbols for each contact, very easy to tell them apart. The job icons are very clear and don't rely on colours.
The Equipment is also well done, and clear as to its purpose.

The Player Pieces
This might be the only knock on the game, would probably be the Firefly ships themselves. The green and yellow ships are too close for my comfort. It was a simple fix though, as I just took my ship off of its base
Other components
The fuel, goods, cargo and passenger tokens have really good iconography, albeit fairly small. (one of my other players has poor vision and had a hard time, but I told him he had to write his own blog )

Personal Thoughts
All in all, I give Firefly an excellent score (I really need to come up with a cool rating scale...). It isn't perfect, but they did do a very good job with their icons.


The Downfall of Pompeii
Downfall of Pompeii was recently reprinted by Mayfair Games , but I'm told the original edition is relatively similar.. the game is a two-phase game, the first involving placing the citizens in various buildings, and the second wiping out your opponents citizens with lava.

The Board
It took me a while to figure out how to tell some of the building groups apart, but there is some graphical differences if you look closely. I think I am going to take a page out of one my readers bag of tricks and put little stickers on the board (stars, circles, squares) so that I can quickly tell if the buildings are in the same group.

The Cards
I found the citizen cards very clear, with the building number as a reference on the board. The Omen and Vesuvius Cards were very straight-forward as well.

The Player Pieces
I found the four colours to be very different, but there wasn't anything otherwise interesting about them, so you could use alternate pieces if needed.

Other components
The volcano is really the only other component and has not colour-blind issues. It is really neat though, and a lot of fun to toss other peoples meeples into the hole!

Personal Thoughts
I really enjoyed this game, it has clean pure mechanics, and other than incorrectly setting up the deck the first play through, it is easy to teach and has a lot of interesting decisions.

Well, that's it for this week.

Please let me know if this type of information is of any value or interest. I've gotten some really great feedback so far, and I want to make sure that there is something to regularly come back for.

Cheers!

Darren
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Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:33 am
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