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Subject: Resources for the legally blind? rss

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S J
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I see a lot on here about color blindness (mostly that developers need to test with color blind people, which I completely agree with). I find myself in a different situation though and am in need of some advice/resources.

I got into board gaming with my wife about 3 years ago, and we've been slowly (but exponentially) building our gaming library. The problem is, my wife is legally blind. She's not totally blind (i.e. no vision at all), but she only has one eye and the eye she has is pretty badly damaged. To give an illustration, when she's taking classes at school she has to have all handouts and tests enlarged to 24 pt. font to be able to read without a high-powered magnifying glass. With a magnifying glass, and good contrast on the page, she can read 16 pt. font and larger. Anything smaller strains her eye to the point of being painful (and is really bad for her vision in the long run).

This has had the unfortunate effect of making some games unplayable, particularly games with small font or fine details. So far we've tried (and had to give up on): Sentinels of the Multiverse (font too small), Eclipse (couldn't see wormholes or distinguish colors of the planets), and Middle-Earth Quest (LotR names + small font = blank stare). In contrast, she's been able to play Settlers, Ticket to Ride, and Puerto Rico (by memorizing and being reminded of what each building does).

What I'd like to ask is if anyone has had a similar situation and was able to overcome it, or if anyone can think of ways that we can get around her physical limitations. There are games I'd really like to play with her, and it's frustrating that I either have to play them with other people or let them collect dust.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!
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Ian Taylor
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I guess in the case of cards, you could just make your own 'blown up' version of the cards, either larger size or larger text with the pictures sacrificed.

I don't have many great suggestions though, sorry
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What about something like this?

http://www.brookstone.com/carson-boamag-2-5x-led-lighted-fle...|SubCategoryWidget|809381p&catId=

It's just a lighted magnifier that sits on the desk/table. She could put her hand below that and look through the magnifying glass when playing cards?

I know you said you already used a magnifying glass OP but I wasn't sure what kind

Edit: Obviously this isn't the only one and the price range is huge on theses as is probably the magnification strength and other features.
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Monitor resolution is really crappy at around 72 ppi or whatever but would a brace of HD webcameras, one for the board, one for her hand, possibly with a zoom area that can be selected by dragging a mouse be any use?
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Sandrockcstm wrote:
I see a lot on here about color blindness (mostly that developers need to test with color blind people, which I completely agree with). I find myself in a different situation though and am in need of some advice/resources.

I got into board gaming with my wife about 3 years ago, and we've been slowly (but exponentially) building our gaming library. The problem is, my wife is legally blind. She's not totally blind (i.e. no vision at all), but she only has one eye and the eye she has is pretty badly damaged. To give an illustration, when she's taking classes at school she has to have all handouts and tests enlarged to 24 pt. font to be able to read without a high-powered magnifying glass. With a magnifying glass, and good contrast on the page, she can read 16 pt. font and larger. Anything smaller strains her eye to the point of being painful (and is really bad for her vision in the long run).

This has had the unfortunate effect of making some games unplayable, particularly games with small font or fine details. So far we've tried (and had to give up on): Sentinels of the Multiverse (font too small), Eclipse (couldn't see wormholes or distinguish colors of the planets), and Middle-Earth Quest (LotR names + small font = blank stare). In contrast, she's been able to play Settlers, Ticket to Ride, and Puerto Rico (by memorizing and being reminded of what each building does).

What I'd like to ask is if anyone has had a similar situation and was able to overcome it, or if anyone can think of ways that we can get around her physical limitations. There are games I'd really like to play with her, and it's frustrating that I either have to play them with other people or let them collect dust.

Any help is greatly appreciated!!


would an electronic lighted magnifier glass helps ?

or avoid games with too much texts / cards ?

scanning and reprinting game components in larger scale should help but more expensive imho
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Rob Steward
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Maybe an idea...

It would be somewhat expensive, but I imagine you could put together a solution with a HoverCam or similar visual presenter and a projector (and probably some additional lighting). She'd view the board on a projection screen or on a wall... blown up to any size.

You'd probably want a nice, bright, high-contrast 1080p projector.
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Brian McCarty
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I'd look for games that have a "Language Dependence" of none or very low - that means no text (though it may mean very small symbols)

Brian
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S J
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piemasteruk wrote:
I guess in the case of cards, you could just make your own 'blown up' version of the cards, either larger size or larger text with the pictures sacrificed.

I don't have many great suggestions though, sorry


I'd be willing to do the work if I knew a good way to do it. Do you know any way to do this easily, such as with a program or through a service?

DigitalMan wrote:
Maybe an idea...

It would be somewhat expensive, but I imagine you could put together a solution with a HoverCam or similar visual presenter and a projector (and probably some additional lighting). She'd view the board on a projection screen or on a wall... blown up to any size.

You'd probably want a nice, bright, high-contrast 1080p projector.


She actually has a hi-powered camera that hooks up to a computer monitor (to give an idea of the power it can see the titles on the spine of books on the other side of the room). Problem is, it's cumbersome and inconvenient to aim the camera since it's meant to look directly down at books. What's worse, for some games that require hidden-information, it's hard to arrange the monitor in a way only she can see it (i.e. it's hard to look only at her hand in poker without showing it to everyone else on the monitor).

Brian McCarty wrote:
I'd look for games that have a "Language Dependence" of none or very low - that means no text (though it may mean very small symbols)


I'll definitely have to start looking at this category for future purchases. Seems relevant.
 
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I am one of the people who shouts loudest about colourblindness...

Do you have access to a scanner and colour printer? A pouch laminator or document pockets would be helpful too:
Games with limited amounts of problematic text/images/icons can be scanned and enlarged to useful size, printed and protected. This gets problematic with larger numbers of components, but can help a lot when there are only a few. For instance, you can use this system to create helper-sheets that decode the board for a game like Lancaster or Kingsburg. The player boards for Kingsburg might well require their own additional sheet - it's not an easy problem to solve.

Otherwise, there are "magnifier" apps for smartphones: have you any luck with a 'droid or iphone? This might help with card text or player boards.

It seems to me that the hardest issue to solve is finding a means whereby your wife can track resources and actions of other players. Spotting the exact location of someone's worker might be very difficult and become a memory exercise. Some games are challenging enough without asking one player to remember things that the competitors can see at a glance. Consequently, games with minimal direct interaction may be preferred choices.

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Ozludo wrote:
I am one of the people who shouts loudest about colourblindness...

Do you have access to a scanner and colour printer? A pouch laminator or document pockets would be helpful too:
Games with limited amounts of problematic text/images/icons can be scanned and enlarged to useful size, printed and protected. This gets problematic with larger numbers of components, but can help a lot when there are only a few. For instance, you can use this system to create helper-sheets that decode the board for a game like Lancaster or Kingsburg. The player boards for Kingsburg might well require their own additional sheet - it's not an easy problem to solve.

Otherwise, there are "magnifier" apps for smartphones: have you any luck with a 'droid or iphone? This might help with card text or player boards.

It seems to me that the hardest issue to solve is finding a means whereby your wife can track resources and actions of other players. Spotting the exact location of someone's worker might be very difficult and become a memory exercise. Some games are challenging enough without asking one player to remember things that the competitors can see at a glance. Consequently, games with minimal direct interaction may be preferred choices.



These are excellent points Ozludo. My wife did just recently purchase an iPad, and she loves it. It's more portable than her book enlarger, so maybe we'll invest in a magnifier app and see if it helps (the resolution on the camera seems pretty good, so it just might work).

You're absolutely right about tracking other player's progress. This is mitigated somewhat by the fact that my wife has a super crazy good memory (part and parcel of having to live with her disability) and the fact that in all the games we own there's not a whole lot of detriment to her asking "how many victory points do you have?" or "what cards do you have on the table?"

I'm very much intrigued by what you said about the decoder. I don't own either of those games so I don't have a point of reference. Could you go into more detail about what it means exactly to create a decoder sheet? Even better, could you provide me some links to pictures or files of a completed one so that I can have a template/idea of how to create them for the games we own?
 
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Whew. Your wife has my sympathies; it's always been one of my great fears that I will lose my vision and be unable to play the games I love...

Some ideas-off-the-cuff (apologies if they are not helpful or well thought out). I think the idea of an "always on" camera (like a web-cam) that can "hover" over the board/playing-area and enlarge parts of it (for display on screen or wall) is a good one.

For looking at cards, I agree with the idea of scanning them - what you could do to help your wife see the cards she has in hand (assuming you don't mind making physical changes to them) is to write a large, visible number on each with a thick black sharpie - then scan that card in. A simple program could locate a card with a number entry (for most games a 2 or 3 digit entry); a slightly fancier program could show the whole hand on screen and allow one card to be magnified with a simple tap. If this seems like a good idea, it might be worth asking in a different thread for help building a simple tablet app for something like this...

In general though, most games here on the geek have a ton of pictures of components (and rules that list these in detail) - hopefully that will allow you to see which ones might be more suitable. If there are no pics, try posting a request -- there is usually someone willing to help!

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Another thought - plenty of games have no hidden information (example Navegador ) that way you can tell your wife what she has.

Brian
 
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gamesbook wrote:
Whew. Your wife has my sympathies; it's always been one of my great fears that I will lose my vision and be unable to play the games I love...

Some ideas-off-the-cuff (apologies if they are not helpful or well thought out). I think the idea of an "always on" camera (like a web-cam) that can "hover" over the board/playing-area and enlarge parts of it (for display on screen or wall) is a good one.

For looking at cards, I agree with the idea of scanning them - what you could do to help your wife see the cards she has in hand (assuming you don't mind making physical changes to them) is to write a large, visible number on each with a thick black sharpie - then scan that card in. A simple program could locate a card with a number entry (for most games a 2 or 3 digit entry); a slightly fancier program could show the whole hand on screen and allow one card to be magnified with a simple tap. If this seems like a good idea, it might be worth asking in a different thread for help building a simple tablet app for something like this...

In general though, most games here on the geek have a ton of pictures of components (and rules that list these in detail) - hopefully that will allow you to see which ones might be more suitable. If there are no pics, try posting a request -- there is usually someone willing to help!



These are actually good suggestions. Thanks .

I've thought about scanning them and presenting them on a large screen or something, and others have certainly suggested it. While I haven't ruled anything out, I think that for a game like Eclipse, or even SotM, it's just too much information to try and scan and organize in a way that both makes sense and is accessible. It would certainly work for reference sheets or player boards or something like that (where it's just one or a handful of components), but for card games and games with lots of components it just becomes overwhelming, both for me to put in the work and for my wife to have to sift through it all one. piece. at. a. time. on her iPad or laptop.

That's also forgetting the fact that I'd need to write a program or have one written for me to do the legwork, which is just something I unfortunately don't have the time to work on or oversee (though this conversation has made it obvious that something like this could be helpful for this population... something for me to think on).

Brian McCarty wrote:
Another thought - plenty of games have no hidden information (example Navegador ) that way you can tell your wife what she has.


This is another good point Brian, and while it certainly helps for games that already have this feature, and is something I'm learning to consider more, it doesn't help with my immediate problem of unplayable games . Ideally, I'd love to be able to play at least Sentinels of the Multiverse with her, and possibly even Eclipse.
 
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There are a number of geeklists on the subject both with ideas of games and ideas for modifiying games to be playable

Games for the Blind
Games for Sighted People to play with Blind People w/o Modifying
Games for the blind (Euro & Ameritrash)
Gaming with the Blind: a story
Positive Touch -- Games for the Blind
Games for the blind or non-sighted, need suggestions please





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Sandrockcstm wrote:
piemasteruk wrote:
I guess in the case of cards, you could just make your own 'blown up' version of the cards, either larger size or larger text with the pictures sacrificed.

I don't have many great suggestions though, sorry


I'd be willing to do the work if I knew a good way to do it. Do you know any way to do this easily, such as with a program or through a service?


Well, I have a blank 'card template' in MSPaint, which was very easy to make. I can then write whatever I want on that card, in whichever font I choose, print it out, then stick it to an old CCG card (Magic or whatever) and slide it into a regular card sleeve.

Personally I use this for making my own card games, but it could be adapted quite easily to recreate the card component of a game, or even a whole game like Race for the Galaxy with a much larger font. The only costs would be paper, ink and some old CCG commons (if you don't have any of these yourself, I'm sure someone you know does).
 
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Sandrockcstm wrote:
I'm very much intrigued by what you said about the decoder. I don't own either of those games so I don't have a point of reference. Could you go into more detail about what it means exactly to create a decoder sheet? Even better, could you provide me some links to pictures or files of a completed one so that I can have a template/idea of how to create them for the games we own?

I think the layout and contents of a decoder/helper sheet will vary considerably from game to game, and deciding what to include has to start with Mrs S_J. The aid might evolve with time too - you may need to upgrade or reiterate after a few games. That should be a good thing.

I can't think of any games I have modified for my own use that provide useful examples. We repaint or replace pieces, sometimes add additional markings to cards or boards. None of this seems applicable to your situation.

The aid I envisage is a card that illustrates hard to see parts of the board, of player boards, of parts of the rulebook. The idea is to provide a personal (enlarged? clarified?) copy of difficult elements that your wife can reference as required without inconvenience, and hopefully without tipping-off anyone else to her plans.

Taking Kingsburg as an example, each player is managing a setup something like this:


Image courtesy simonh
Kingsburg: main board at the top, each player also has a player board.


To play, you need to know:
1a. What the different spaces on the board do.
1b. Which of the spaces are available.
2a. Details of the different buildings (buildings are shown as spaces on your player board)
2b. What resources you have.
2c. The resources you need to build the buildings.
3a. The round number (I-V, bottom r/h corner).
3b. The current round "threat range number" (on cards, not shown).

That gets you started, but you also need to consider:
4a. What resources other players control.
4b. The dice results they have available.
4c. The score!

A printed player aid could do a lot to assist with (1). Using images scanned from the rules of from the board itself it would be simple enough to produce a 1-page summary of the board spaces.

The same is true of the buildings, (2), although symbols would be needed to save space. She may not need a summary for the player board in any case, as a magnifier may be sufficient.

The round number and threat are public information. They change each of the six rounds, but there is no reason she could not write them down if they are difficult to see.

And that leaves the hardest part shake There are player mats you can print that help people to arrange their resources - I think it would be a good idea to ask everyone to use these conscientiously so she has a fair chance to see what people have (and therefore might want) and can plan accordingly. Dice rolls may be harder (fine detail) but worst case could be accounted using pen and paper. Fortunately the score is also public and probably readable without assistance.

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This is an excellent analysis Ozludo. Thanks!
 
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