Games to play with a handicapped friend
Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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I have a handicapped lady friend, whom I want to take to my local game club and play some games. The lady in question can play Yahtzee (though if Yahtzee had ten dice, segregating dice to reroll from dice to keep would be frustrating), but let's not make this about her specifically. For the purposes of this list, we want to play with someone who can see and hear and speak but cannot manipulate the game pieces at all, and will need assistance from the other players in most game functions. (I recognize that I am restricting the use of "handicapped" here. If someone else wants to start a list of games to play with blind people etc, please do.)

Ground rules:

1) The game must support four or more players (the object is to socialize with a group).
2) The game must be ranked in the top 1000 here at BoardGameGeek. In the unlikely event that an expansion is more appropriate than the base game, go by the rating of the base game, and explain this in your description.
3) It must be easy for the player to enunciate their move. We don't this to turn into "No one square over. No the other way. Then turn it." If it will be necessary to number spaces on a normally unnumbered board, please specify that in your description.
4) There can be a bare minimum of secret info, ie, if you need to show the player a secret objective at the beginning of the game, and even if the secret changes occasionally that's okay, but multiple secrets or new secrets each turn are out. Be sure to cover this in your description.

Edit: I violated my own rules and added Ingenious because it comes with a rack for holding the tiles. That opened the floodgate, and someone added Acquire, because the tiles can be stood up in front of the player. That's going to get us into games where you can add a rack for holding the secret stuff (like Tigris & Euphrates). Okay, go for it with small numbers of tiles, but not cards. Apologies to the people whose games I have deleted. Just give me credit for knowing works easily and what is awkward when dealing with handicapped people.
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1. Board Game: Ra [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:133]
Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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There are no secrets in Ra. Suns acquired this turn are placed face down, but are not actually secret. On their turn a player decides to draw a tile or call Ra. When Ra is called, each player either passes or bids one of the three suns face up on the table. Players normally arrange their tiles so they can see how many different/same monuments they have, so the assistant should keep the player's tiles arranged similarly. On an earthquake disaster, specifying which monuments to destroy would be a little awkward. Adding numbers to the monument tiles would solve this.
 
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2. Board Game: Bazaar [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:1814]
Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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Just announce "I'm trading white green for blue blue and buying blue blue blue blue white."
 
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3. Board Game: Power Grid [Average Rating:7.92 Overall Rank:28]
Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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Bidding is by voice auction, and players announce their purchases of fuel. All the cities are named, so the player can announce city builds. On the France map, there are three Paris spaces, but for Step 1 this doesn't matter, and for subsequent steps the player can say "Paris with the green house" etc. Call the two Frankfurts "Frankfurt-M" and "Frankfurt-O" just as they are labeled on the map. (or say "Frankkurt am Main" and "Frankfurt am Oder" if you like.) The Central Europe map presents some pronunciation challenges.

Money is traditionally secret in Power Grid, but many play with open money, on the theory that it is calculable. If the player can't mentally keep track of their own money, you should choose open money.
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4. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.15 Overall Rank:328]
Randall Bart
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Winnetka
California
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I am going to violate my own rules right here, but I'm doing it to illustrate how issues can be handled. In Ingenious, each player has six secret tiles, and a new one is drawn every turn. However the game comes with a rack to keep those tiles visible to the player. It would be necessary to number the spaces on the board, and to number the spaces in the player rack. "Take tile 4 and place it with the green at H7 and the red at H8." A little awkward, but clearly doable.
 
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5. Board Game: Diamant [Average Rating:6.83 Overall Rank:613]
Justin
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Michigan
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Though I've never played it I have read the rules because it's one of the games I've wanted for awhile. I think that Diamant or the more readily available Incan Gold would work quite well.

The game works for 3 to 8.
It's ranked 270.

For venturing into the cave only one player has to choose a tile and places it down. When you want to quit going deeper into the cave you could merely vocalize your action to do so. Then, somebody playing could place the diamonds she collected in her treasure chest and move her piece outside.

Another choice could be:
Werewolf (you said that a secret at the beginning would be alright)

Hope it helps! and Good luck!
Justin
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6. Board Game: Acquire [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:206]
Chris Long
United States
State College
Pennsylvania
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This is an excellent game which nicely fits all your criteria. It works for 2-6 players, so there's plenty of socialization. Its very easy to announce what play you intend to make. The money and stocks for all players are known to all, so that's not a concern.

The only trick is that each player has 6 hidden tiles, which you choose from when you play each turn. Much like your Ingenious example, this is easily resolved, and the board is already very specifically labeled, so that's not a problem.

And even though the Hasbro version is quite expensive, the older 3M version (pictured here) can be found on ebay for under $20.
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7. Board Game: Vegas Showdown [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:412]
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Bids can be announced as easily as placed. I think once a tile is won there might be a little trouble placing it, but not too much as there are usually only a finite number of logical places for the tile to go.
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8. Board Game: Betrayal at House on the Hill [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:422]
Pete Hornburg
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Portland
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Betrayal is an awesome game I think would fit your needs.

Plays 3-6 and is very, very social-mostly co-op. The board grows a little. I play with people that aren't restricted by movement and they'll just say "Move my dude to the room on the left". Very easy to handle.

Ranked around 350 somewhere with a ton of replayability. It comes with 50 scenarios.

Regarding secret info, if it turns out she was the traitor (its determined based on how the game plays out)-just have other players roll for it. We do that with new people anyway.
 
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9. Board Game: Silverton [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:1385]
Rick Vinyard
United States
Las Cruces
NM
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I think this game would play very well with someone that is faced with mobility problems. There are no hidden cards; all available claims are face up and available to all players for prospecting (as are all passenger routes).

In the game, surveyors and prospectors are respectively placed on track that a player wishes to build on, or on a claim the player wants to purchase. Although there are four prospectors (marked P, P, P+1, P+2) and four surveyors (marked S, S, S+1, S+2) a typical game will limit a player to only two of each with the exact mix based upon their starting location. After all players have assigned their prospectors and surveyors they are flipped face up and any disputes are resolved. Therefore, the only 'secret' aspect of the game is their placement.

However, when we play it is not uncommon for one or two players to be unable to reach the track or claims so we tell the other players on which claim to place a particular prospector for us (i.e. "put my first prospector on the Durango claim and my second prospector on the Leadville claim").

In addition to having a limited aspect of secrecy meeting the needs of your friend, IMHO Silverton is a really great game.
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10. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:139] [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Kevin Brown
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Macon
Georgia
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Really only need a rack for one tile at a time. I played a game of this with a mobility challenged fellow at PrezCon in which I held the tile for him when it was his turn and it worked fine. A rack would be better if you're going to play it regularly, however.
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11. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:45]
Lo Ma
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California
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If you're interested in a heavier game, Caylus might work. Your friend would have to have someone:

1. lay the building tiles for her on the board when she purchased one,
2. and put her workers and houses on the tiles,
3. and get her resources from the bank and return the resources to the bank when appropriate.

But I think it would be pretty easy for your friend to say which building tile she wanted, and on which building her workers should go. Building tiles are laid sequentially, so your friend wouldn't have to say where the tiles go. There's no hidden info, and no luck either, in this game. Great tactics and strong in strategy too. Plays well as a 2-player and as a 3 or 4-player game.

You'd have to see how the game would flow, I guess. And you'd probably need a cheat sheet telling you what the different buildings until everyone knows what they are. Building lists are avaiable here on the geek.

It's a really great game and worth trying if you and your friend are into something meaty...

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12. Board Game: Yspahan [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:444]
Lo Ma
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California
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I wonder if Yspahan would work...

You'd have to number the souks so your friend could say where she wanted her goods to go. And someone would have to throw all those dice for her.

There's no hidden info in the game, and she could verbally tell you what she wanted to do quite easily I think.

We play it most often with two players, moving to a new day every time the dice changes players - this makes the game go super fast and fun. We don't change any of the other rules when playing with two people.

I would definitely try Yspahan!!!
 
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13. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:237] [Average Rating:7.32 Unranked]
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Here's an odd one. Despite the number of bits in this game, all of the information is open, which makes sense, since this is a cooperative game. The board is so large that non-handicapped people often ask for assistance in moving their character from one space on the board to the other ("Move my investigator to the Train Station.") The character sheet area has plenty of things to keep track of, but a player sitting to the right or left can arrange the pieces. And, finally, there's a variant where the investigator does *not* draw the encounter card -- rather, someone else reads the card up to the decision (without telling the consequences) and the investigator decides what path to take.
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14. Board Game: Hoopla [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:2985]
Craig Blumer
United States
Oshkosh
Wisconsin
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Don't overlook party games!

Hoopla is a cooperative party game that could work well. Each player does have secret cards. But, with a card holder all could play. Players try to get everyone else to guess the word on their card, using certain type of clues. The type is chosen by a roll of a die. On clue type is drawing, so some accommodation would have to be made for that. But a fun, all one and one for all game.

Others that could work include Catch Phrase! and Password.
 
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15. Board Game: Kingdoms [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:1045]
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IIRC, Kingdoms has a "perfect information" variant. The game is played on a small grid, so you'll end up saying something like, "Place the -6 Resource tile on 1,1. Yes, right next to your castle. Muhahahah."
 
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16. Board Game: Taboo [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:1625]
As long as someone can speak (and is able to be shown the secret word on their turn to give clues), they could play verbal party games.

Even if they were blind, they could play a variant where they guess only. Or maybe someone from the other team could whisper all the info into their ear.

Not my favourite game but I've had fun with it and could enjoy it again.
 
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