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Subject: Color Blindness sucks for many games rss

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Esther Pettigrew
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I am not color blind...but my husband is. And I am now realizing how much of a pain-in-the-butt it is for him in many games. He needs additional lighting and has to squint at his cards/pieces to figure out which is the blue, red, green, black, orange, brown one. And let's not even talk about figuring out which is which in the common play area!

He spends so much time asking us which is which and memorizing the positions of all pieces, he doesn't have time to play and enjoy the game.

A fun/relaxing game like Quirkle is practically impossible (and no fun at all) when two or more colors appear the same.

I truly appreciate those games in my collection where designers used color AND shape or color AND pattern to distinguish between pieces.

How many of you have had similar difficulties?

Given that 10% of the male population has some version of color-blindness, is it possible to design games to account for this? Any tips on how to get this particular ball rolling?

Do you have any favorite games that are color-blind friendly?

I just bought the MeepleSource upgrade kit for Settlers of Catan because each color has a uniquely shaped road, settlement, and city. Would love to see more things like this!

Esther
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Pete
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I'm not color blind.

But I did play Dragon's Gold today. Dragon's gold has gold and silver nuggets. In the golden-yellowish light of a Potbelly restuarant, the two became virtually indistinguishable.

It was obnoxious. We constantly had to hold the nuggets up to the light of our cell phones to try to discern whether they were truly gold or merely gold-reflective silver. It made the game difficult, and I more than a few mistakes were made in treasure collection.

I can only imagine how annoying that sort of thing must be to a color blind person...

Pete (can now certainly empathize)
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No One
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estherp wrote:
Do you have any favorite games that are color-blind friendly?


The Guildhall series is one of my favorite games. The cards all have a symbol on them signifying what color they are for those who are color blind.

~V
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Joe Kell
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I don't have a ton of suggestions for what the industry can do but I have suggestions that are most likely more work for you, but may help.

You could paint extra symbols or patterns on the elements of your game, it may not be as visually pleasing for everyone else that is playing but it could be a big help for him!

Best of luck
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Dan McMurray
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Being red/green color blind myself, this is always an interesting topic to me. While my case isn't as drastic as many others', I have definitely had some bad experiences with color blind unfriendly games; Quirkle is certainly one, but Container stands out as the worst to me. (I also lost the only game of Mysterium I ever played for the group because of this...)

I think that a lot (albeit not all, unfortunately) of developers and artists and taking color blindness into account these days, using symbols in addition to color to distinguish between items. With the train cards in Ticket to Ride, for example, the green and the yellow cards are similar enough for me to confuse them unless I'm really careful, but since there are other indicators on the cards aside from color, I don't have a problem.

Echoing Joe's statement, marking up your game might be a good way to go. A high contrast color gel pen or Sharpie would probably go a long way toward making Quirkle in particular playable for your husband.
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Pablito A
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Yeah it does... I'm both color blind and visually impaired... Wait til you come across those who think color blindness isn't real.

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TTDG
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Ingenious pairs shapes with the colors.

Praise games that eliminate the problem, and ask designers in early stages to consider the problem.
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Pete
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Get off my lawn wrote:
Yeah it does... I'm both color blind and visually impaired... Wait til you come across those who think color blindness isn't real.

Come on!

Pete (wonders if they hang out with the flat-earthers)
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fightcitymayor
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"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
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estherp wrote:
Any tips on how to get this particular ball rolling?
Like any movement, spreading awareness is key. Sometimes I think, "Wow, is publisher-X so dim as to not understand they made a terrible color choice here?" But then other times I remember how small the hobby really is, and unless you make a conscious effort to take colorblind options into consideration then you appear to not care. And when game companies can't even get rulebooks right, or can't put out a product without pages of errata or missing components, then the lack of colorblind-acceptable options becomes slightly more understandable (if no less annoying.)
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Russ Williams
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A geeklist of possible interest:

Colourblindness and Games (that's color-blindness for our US friends) Keywords: colour, color, colourblind, colorblind, colour-blind, color-blind, colour blind, color blind.
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Matt Lee
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The hobby is small enough still that custom shapes and colors are a cost that publishers still can't get past yet. Cards are still the best way to fix this since dyed pieces are done in bulk and the extra care for custom shapes for each color is prohibitive to publishers.

I have been aware of this due to having a good friend become color blind over time, and have always been amused that Coloretto is actually one of the most color blind friendly games I have ever seen.
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Kirk
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I like to think that designers are starting to try to account for this. However, there are always going to be some that either don't care or simply do not even think about it. Finally, there will be some designers that are not willing to give up the color design integrity for their games and elect to keep the colors as planned / designed. I am not color blind but I have friends that are and I sympathize. But I also understand the artist / designer that places importance in using the colors as they choose.

Hopefully, we will eventually settle on many or even most designers using color blind friendly schemes and the remainder electing to not do so for artistic reasons (instead of not even considering it). In the latter case, as someone suggested above, custom marks or symbols can help mitigate the issue.
 
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Moshe Callen
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I'm not color blind either but as a reviewer, I try to mention these issues when they are relevant.
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Cork Dice
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It's worth keeping an eye on Meeple Like Us (http://meeplelikeus.co.uk) for regular updates on colour blindness issues in games. They have a geeklist here too: https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/208515/meeple-us-accessib...
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Teejay Gatsby
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I had a lot of people ask this when I did my game too. In case you haven't heard of these glasses though, a link to glasses that "supposedly" let color blind people see color.

http://www.enchroma.com
 
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saturnkk wrote:
I like to think that designers are starting to try to account for this. However, there are always going to be some that either don't care or simply do not even think about it. Finally, there will be some designers that are not willing to give up the color design integrity for their games and elect to keep the colors as planned / designed. I am not color blind but I have friends that are and I sympathize. But I also understand the artist / designer that places importance in using the colors as they choose.

Hopefully, we will eventually settle on many or even most designers using color blind friendly schemes and the remainder electing to not do so for artistic reasons (instead of not even considering it). In the latter case, as someone suggested above, custom marks or symbols can help mitigate the issue.
It helps to have color blind play testers in that regard, but some des. and pubs don't even have adequate sampling of play testers, for the various scenarios they'd like to cover (e.g. one person tries out edge cases, another is good at seeing strategies early on, another person has a good eye for art, yet another for graphic design, etc.), let alone to also account for color blindness



TeeJay Gatsby wrote:
I had a lot of people ask this when I did my game too. In case you haven't heard of these glasses though, a link to glasses that "supposedly" let color blind people see color.

http://www.enchroma.com
A BGG member replied that he tried these, and it doesn't at all for him. Others... mixed results. It works, or they're also useless, to everything in between.
 
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Pablito A
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plezercruz wrote:
Get off my lawn wrote:
Yeah it does... I'm both color blind and visually impaired... Wait til you come across those who think color blindness isn't real.

Come on!

Pete (wonders if they hang out with the flat-earthers)


So you can't tell the difference between this cube and this one?

Nope


No way!

Sorry they look the same.

So what color is that tree out there?

sigh
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Steven Larsen
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Sometimes it isn't a matter of using the right colors, as there are no right colors. Color blindness takes different forms. Tone however can be different. If the tone is different enough, the color issue is less of a problem.
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Eric Engelmann
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I'm not color blind, but better lighting helps me with Navy/Black issues. There are also glasses for the color blind. I thought about having a pair in my cons' gaming library, but the $350 price tag put me off.

https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=color+blind+glass...

I see there are less useful specs for $50 now. Might try one of those.
 
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klz_fc wrote:
The hobby is small enough still that custom shapes and colors are a cost that publishers still can't get past yet. Cards are still the best way to fix this since dyed pieces are done in bulk and the extra care for custom shapes for each color is prohibitive to publishers.

I have been aware of this due to having a good friend become color blind over time, and have always been amused that Coloretto is actually one of the most color blind friendly games I have ever seen.
This would be my take as well. 10% is higher than I expected, but I believe such a figure. However, when you consider hobby bg area niche market, 10% of that doesn't seem significant enough.

Someone mentioned that (IIRC) red green color blindness is the most common type, so that should cover most use cases, but not sure if that's still sufficient for "acceptable coverage".
 
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Eric Brosius
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I believe that Settlers of Catan originally came out with the player colors blue, green, red and yellow, but that's a challenge for red/green colorblind people. Now it's white, butterscotch, red and blue, which I think is better for most colorblind people.

This is a useful list: Color Blind Images
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Warren Adams
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Quote:
Color Blindness sucks for many games
Wrong. Many games suck for colour blindness.

Don't see it as your husband's problem, one of them can be fixed.
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Richard Dickson
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Yamatai was pretty much ruined for me when I had to keep asking if those were red, brown or green boats on the cards. It was frustrating for me because I felt I was being frustrating to my friends.

The worst for me though is Village. Because of the wood grain on the cubes, different sides look like different colors to me.

I get wanting a certain design aesthetic for your game, but I don't get why we just can't have white, black, blue, red and yellow as standard player colors. If you're going to go in for blue/purple or red/green/brown, at least have them be incredibly vibrant shades of those colors, and go for one really light and the other really dark.

Another pet peeve is when the components are one shade of the color, but the graphics of the game referring to them are a different one. I had no trouble telling the boats in Yamatai apart, but the cards were nightmare.
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Brendan Riley
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As a boutique design house, this is a key aspect for us -- we work on using symbols/patterns in concert with colors wherever possible. My design partner also has an app on his phone that will use the camera to show what the board looks like for people with three different kinds of color blindness -- this helps too.

One of the real challenges is in counters -- cubes and gems and other kinds of tokens that aren't usually printed or differently shaped.
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Pete
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One suggestion for you color blind folks:

https://www.miniaturemarket.com/gps0018.html

I have several packs of these cubes. I use them as substitute components for several games. One nice feature of these cubes is that each color has a different symbol on it, which if placed face up, might make the color issues less relevant as you can simply look for the symbol.

I suspect the symbols might not be thematically apppropriate for any given game (the red cubes have a teardrop and the white cubes have a star, for example) but they'd probably help quite a bit for differentiating the pieces, and the cube packs are quite cheap.

I'm curious for the color blind people in the thread...how clear are the symbols on the cubes here, and would that help you in a game?



Pete (wonders how cheap it would be for game makers to implement this on their games)
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