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Subject: Fun and engaging games adaptable to intellectually disabled person rss

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Bill Remington
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Hi all,

Ok, this is a tough one and what i'm looking for would probably not be within the most favored games here, but I thought you guys could help me out with some out of the box thinking.

I'm looking for a game I could play with the family, while including a person with Down syndrome. We have long thought it wasn't possible but recently we tried Jenga with him, with some success.
To be clear: he's participating with help (need to be shown a piece that wobbles) and we have to cheat in his favour a bit (he loses interest if a game lasts more than a few minutes, so when it goes on for too long someone topples the tower). He gets the biggest kick out of someone else losing - but then again, that's probably every one's secret reason to play Jenga. So now Christmas is coming up and I would love to bring another viable option. I'll take a long shot: i'll buy him a gift anyway, and i doubt any game can get more anticlimactic than the usual sweater

So, we're probably looking for a family game, quick and simple. Word- or culture-oriented is no good, and nothing that relies heavily on small visual cues (yeah, to make things worse his vision is very poor). Colors are fine, simple and large symbols as well. Manipulating stuff is fine as well but it can't be too small pieces. He's too clumsy for drawing or stuff like that. I'll take a game with an end-goal or overall mechanic that's too complex for him to follow - we can simply play "for fun" a particular phase over and over, we won't care about the rules or making it a fair competition.

That's that. Thanks for reading this far! Any idea appreciated, and perhaps it can inspire others.

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L W
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I find that Zombie Dice is a game almost anyone can play and i think it's pretty fun. It's my go-to "all ages" game.

Another fast fun and easy game is Pairs. It's another push your luck game with cards that have numbers but not suits.
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L W
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And welcome to the geek!
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J
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my apologies if these recommendations are way off, but:

Rhino Hero
Zitternix
Animal Upon Animal
Ants in the Pants
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Adria D
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+1 for Animal Upon Animal. This involves stacking animal-shaped wooden pieces until the stack of animals falls over.

Is this friend/family member able to do simple puzzles? If so, how about some form of Carcassonne? I don't know what the junior edition is like, but the regular version might be OK if you don't do farms. Just building cities and roads might be an enjoyable activity.

Perhaps Qwirkle? He might not get the actual point scoring mechanism, but could create patterns with the pieces. Just stay away from the travel version, with the smaller pieces.
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Marina SC
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+1 Qwirkle. You could perhaps make a variant where he has to match colours/shapes instead of playing unique pieces, as that would probably be easier to understand
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Mini Curling Game is probably a safe bet. Tsuro might work.
 
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Feras H
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Get Bit!
Roll For It! Deluxe Edition
Sushi Go!
Spot it!
Chutes and Ladders

Above are simple quick games.

Not so quick:
Ticket to Ride
 
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Claudio Hornblower
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Welcome in and I do appreciate your effort.

What about la Boca? You must compose a visual pattern using big wooden blocks, according to some very simple rules:
 
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Bill Remington
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Wow, thanks guys, that's a lot more than I was hoping for. You're awesome!

I looked into about the first half of the suggestions, I have doubts about many of them but I would be confident that most are at least worth a try. Zitternix looks particularly promising.

I'll have to study more, I'll probably come back for more details on some of these games, and definitely to let you know how it went. I'm sure there are many people facing the same challenge.

Thanks again!
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Wesley Jones
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Volta might work for a dexterity game!
 
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It's probably still a little above his level, but I do remember going to a board gaming group when a guy came in with his mother. This guy (probably in his late teens or early 20s) seemed to have a bit of an intellectual disability, and quite strong social anxiety, so I think this was an effort to find an activity where he could socialise without it being too overwhelming (which I can completely understand). We wound up playing Carcassonne without farmers, everyone was really helpful, and he seemed to have a pretty good time.
 
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Joe H
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Tsuro it's fast and doesn't require much forward planning since you only have a couple of tiles to decide to place. He'll enjoy watching dragons fly off the board.
 
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I had a plan...
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Hamsterrolle is a dexterity game that is fairly quick. It is helped by a steady hand, so it may not be the thing for him.

There might be other party games, but none are coming to mind right now.
 
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Louise McCully
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I gave a version of Timeline to a BGG Secret Santa Target a couple of years back and it ended up being the only game his intellectually disabled sister fell in love with. She like it so much that he gave it to her, I thought that was awesome.

I would recommend Cardline: Animals as being very accessible and easy to manage your game play so as not to pull too far ahead.

Of the Timeline/Cardline series Inventions; and Dinosaurs are also very accessible.

Don't get Globetrotters, that one is really difficult.
 
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Kevin D.
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Boom Boom Balloon and Animal Upon Animal are where I would start.
 
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Adrienne Thelibrarian
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I think My First Carcassonne would be fantastic for this person!
 
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Carrie Wick
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My first Carcassone would be good. It's simple and attractive and the large meeples are great to use with other games as well.

Lanterns would probably be good for him, too. It's a beautiful game and I love it as a gateway game because it is enjoyed by all ages and levels of gaming interest.

He might enjoy Rampage/Terror in Meeple City. His fine motor skills might not be great, but he might enjoy getting to demolish the buildings.

I'd also consider Gubs. I think with help he would enjoy it, especially the "gotcha" aspect of taking Gubs from others. It's kind of like the kid version of Munchkin if you've ever played that. My 6-yo daughter enjoyed the backstabbing aspect of it a lot.

Castellan might be good - it's kind of like a 3-D version of the game where you used to connect dots to make squares. You draw cards and try to build castle walls and towers to earn points. You could simplify the rules some with him if you needed to. It's a quick game.

Tiki Topple would be great, it has some of that "gotcha" aspect too. I know it was OOP for a while, but I found it on e-bay at a great price. There isn't much strategy to it and it is really attractive and plays quickly.

Richard Scarry Eye Found it and Busy Airport are both also good - they are geared toward younger ages but I always enjoyed playing it with my daughter. Eye found it is a good co-op game, but not sure how much his vision would impede his enjoyment of it. The airport one is fun because you get to load up planes and fly characters places.

Co-op games MIGHT be good, too, but it doesn't sound like his attention span will be long enough to get through most of them. Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert are probably some of the shorter ones. He might enjoy Flashpoint because of the theme, but I don't know that he would really "get" Pandemic.

Camel Up might be fun for him, too. Just simplify the rules a lot to where you can only roll and bet on overall winner/loser (no desert tiles and no leg winners). He would probably have lots of fun with just rolling the dice. If you narrow down the rules the game would go a lot faster, too.

Kerplunk may also be good. There is also a tumbling monkey version. There is that same "waiting for someone else to fail" dynamic as in Jenga. This may be too simple for what you want, though.

Cartagena might be good. It's a bit like Candyland, but a bit more complex. Basically you play cards to move forward on a path, or you can move backwards to draw more cards. You could simplify it for him, but play the full rules with family.

An off-the-wall idea is that Cash and Guns may also be good. I'm not sure if the violent aspect of it would be too much for him, but he might really enjoy it.


As someone who works in special education (and has an uncle with DS), I want to thank you for thinking of including him and going out of your way to look for games he would enjoy. I hope you come back and let us know what you ultimately get him and what he thought of it!

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