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Subject: Reviewing Agricola for Color Blindness rss

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phillip wilson
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Welcome to Reviews for Color Blindness. The aim of this series is to have a spot to discuss how a game plays for people who are colorblind. For the unfamiliar, colorblindness is more like blurry vision than the ability to not see any color (except for a small percentage - monochromacy/achromatopsia). For those with poor vision, a small letter E far away is hard to discern, and a giant letter E right in front of them is easy to discern. Similarly for someone with red/green deficiency (deuteranopes) may have a hard time discerning a small red swatch far away, but close up it can be clearer. There is a wide spectrum of blurry vision problems, and there is also with color blindness. This review is for discussing how colors are used in this game, and how much colorblindness (atleast mine - deuteranomalous) effects gameplay.

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In Agricola, you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. You grow your family and send them out to work to improve your farm to be the best point scoring farmer in the 17th Century. Let’s look into the components and discuss how color blindness could affect gameplay.





Player Pieces
Each player in Agricola receives the wooden tokens in one color compromising 5 family member discs, 4 stables, and 15 fences. The fences and stables, once constructed, stay on your player board. There isn’t a colorbind issue with these pieces.



The family members will go out onto the main board in action spaces. Once an action space is taken, another player cannot play there. When placing your family members out on the board, the main concern is noting what is available and what has a disc and isn’t. If any of the colors look too similar you may not be able to recognize which player took a field, has a grain and may be looking to sow on their next turn. This feels like a minor nitpick to me. More than getting colors of the playing pieces mixed up, I have a harder time seeing the green discs on the green board.





Resources & Animals
In my version (3rd?), resources are represented by discs and animals by cubes. In between each round the board is refilled with tokens for each spot. Each type of resource and animal are represented by a unique image on the board and on all cards. Resources are a circle with an outline of the type and animals have a square with an animal head. The symbols show very well what is the payment is or what is received for each action. Colorblindness can affect refilling. If you have trouble telling the Lighter Brown clay discs from the Darker Brown wood discs, then you may grab the wrong one. If it does seem difficult, you can let the other players refill those colors.



The difficulty for me is seeing the discs across the table and recognizing them for their types. If I have 2 clay and another player may also have 2 clay, you will want to be sure so that you can take the Major Improvement first to get the Fireplace and not get priced out. If you think their clay is wood then you could make a mistake. The grain/Yellow and vegetables/Orange are also very close in my eyes. The vegetables and grain seem to be more of a personal bookkeeping rather than keeping close track of what the other players have harvested.


Farmers of the Moor
Farmers of the moor doesn’t introduce any colorblind issue for me. It adds horses, but they are horsey-ples. I feel like getting some cubes to replace them to better match the feel of my copy. There is one new action space that allows a player to pay fuel to play a minor improvement card or pay a fuel and a food to to a major. They are shown by card icons, which do have the images on the back of the Major/Minor cards with tiny tiny text. It’s pretty easy to remember that a Major improvement would cost more than a Minor improvement.


Summary
In Agricola, as in most of Uwe Rosenberg games, colors are not used as the only way to discern icons on cards and the board. Most, if not all, of his games seem to take care to be friendly to colorblind players, including distinct icons or text. The game uses a limited set of colors for resources and animals, which usually would present problems for me (Four Brown items in two shades: Wood, Clay, Cattle, Horses). The only issue I usually have is refilling the wood spot with clay.



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Matt Dirkes
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The newer edition with the upgraded components helps mitigate this issue even more. You mentioned that a hang up sometimes is still mixing up the wood and clay, but since the new edition features uniquely shaped pieces it's pretty easy to distinguish them.
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David Larkin
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There is an app called CVSSimulator that process the image from your phone camera to show you what it looks like with the three main colour deficiencies.

Quite useful for non colour blind people like me to see what games (or other things) look like for colour blind people
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phillip wilson
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mattwithana wrote:
The newer edition with the upgraded components helps mitigate this issue even more. You mentioned that a hang up sometimes is still mixing up the wood and clay, but since the new edition features uniquely shaped pieces it's pretty easy to distinguish them.

We also have Caverna, and the shapes do help tremendously. Agricola was one of our first games, so the discs and cubes hold a bit of nostalgia for us.


Zark wrote:
There is an app called CVSSimulator that process the image from your phone camera to show you what it looks like with the three main colour deficiencies.

Quite useful for non colour blind people like me to see what games (or other things) look like for colour blind people

I've seen some of those tools before. It's hard because I can't really say how well they work, because I only see my colorblindness ontop of the colorblind filter. I also feel like colorblindness is more of a range than discrete types. I have seem these tools discussed in a context like "Use these filters and pick colors that work in all of them". But if someone has a different level of colorblindness, the colors may not work for them.

My general preference is, don't spend time fiddling with colors to find the best ones. Adjust your thinking and don't make color the only source of information. Then your colors can be anything you want. Make them match your theme. Every game doesn't need to be a cacophony of primary colors.

Thanks for the comments and for reading all!
 
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