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Subject: Board Games for the Disabled rss

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Michael Decker
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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I manage a facility that provides programming and treatment for individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury. Most of our clients are car accident victims, but we also have a fair share of motorcycle accident victims (mainly helmeted individuals - the unhelmeted victims rarely survive the accident,) gunshot wounds (a couple self-inflicted,) diabetic comas, drug overdoses, anoxic injuries related to cardiac arrest, etc.

We are a 24-hour in-patient facility that an individual comes to after they're discharged from the hospital. Our goal here is to teach our clients the skills they need to live independently on their own. Some clients need help deciphering a checkbook or basic money management. Others need the very basic skills, like using the bathroom, or dressing themselves. We work with Vocational Rehab so our higher functioning individuals can get jobs in the community. Sadly, some of our clients will probably remain institutionalized the rest of their lives.

We have a couple individuals who have suffered brain stem tears; it looks like the lights are out, BUT EVERYBODY IS HOME. One, a Desert Storm veteran, can move only his head and right hand and the prognosis for improvement physically is bleak. Everything else, however, is intact - memory, reasoning, decision-making, etc.

In the evenings we have "client-directed recreation," a time when, with minimal staff assistance for setup, our clients play with a Wii machine, watch movies, read books, or PLAY GAMES.

I'm getting ready to go to the local gameshop to pick up some games to replace those that are suffering the pains of extended use.

Our clients are getting tired of the old stand-bys, bingo, Uno, Monopoly, charades, card games, etc. "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" got some significant use, but it's old hat right now.

My thinking is that there are some extremely bright and intelligent people who frequent this forum who might be able to give me some suggestions for board games that our clients might enjoy. Our folks have a very wide range of functionality. One individual is a whiz at chess but lacks the skills to perform basic cares for himself.

Our goals during these evening sessions are to enhance memory, increase socialization skills, facilitate decision-making, and provide opportunities for hand-eye coordination.

Your suggestions would be most appreciated!
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Kevin Iacoucci
Canada
Burlington
Ontario
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Perhaps Medici. It definitely fills the 1st 3 you mentioned.

I would also say Ra fills all of the requirements.

(enhance memory, increase socialization skills, facilitate decision-making, and provide opportunities for hand-eye coordination)

They are both alot of fun. Relatively quick (1 hour) and are demanding of your attention.

Medici plays best at 5-6 players and Ra plays best 3 and up!

For two players I would suggest Hive. It has Chess like elements, as well as Go.

Turbo Taxi could be alot of fun for people and forces a time element. Some like this one and some don't.

Best of Luck - I hope some of these games help some of your individuals.
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Chris Fenwick
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New Jersey
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I think Apples to Apples would be a good one. You match adjectives to nouns (in a fun way!!). Each person takes a turn as judge, and can judge any way she/he feels fit. There's lots of socialization and laughter. It's a party-style game, and can be played with 4 or 14 people.

Tsuro is a light game where you build pathways to follow, trying to be the last person left on the board. Simple rules, plays well with 2-8 players. A sturdy game that can stand up to many plays.

Ingenious plays almost like dominoes; you try to lay down a 2-sectioned piece to match up to other pieces that have the same pattern. You need to balance the different patterns you match in order to win. Definite strategy here, but again, it's light to cross different levels of function. Another sturdy one. Continuo is a game with some similar mechanics (you get points for long lines of colors) that is affordable, easy, and portable.

I'm wondering if the Cranium games would be worth checking out. They are sort of like every game ever made rolled into one -- Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Charades... and you play in teams and have to help each other.

Suggestions by memebers of my game club:
Unnamed Object -- press your luck game of adventure!
Blokus -- beautiful, looks like Tetris.
Blokus 3D -- like Blokus in 3d.
And one of them said: "Any game! Just play!"

I'm sure I'll think of more, but I'll quit it right about here... Good luck!
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Joe Lott
United States
Bellingham
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I work with clients with cerebral palsy, and I avoid card games with them. now it might be best, to start with something were they make moves by description. People with CP can play Go fine, because they just float their finger above the general spot, you place the stone, and then adjust if they say so. HOWEVER... your guys play card games, so... that's different (holding a hand of cards when you have CP is a little difficult, I tried card holders, but it was just better to do other games.)
Lost Cities
Unnamed Object
both good, you want to also remember, that these people are non-gamers so to speak. They will might get more into them out of exposure, or just lack of anything else to do.
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James Palmer
Canada
Ayr
Ontario
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I have a friend with cerebral palsy who enjoys playing games with us. If the game involves cards, I've started bringing out the card holders from BattleLore, so she doesn't have to hold the cards.

This makes a -huge- difference - it makes it much easier for her to play.

Card holders like these (Memoir '44 has them as well, and I know you can buy card holders online and probably elsewhere) can make a huge difference for people who have some, but limited, ability with their hands.
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Henrik Lantz
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Uppsala
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I know you mentioned they were bored of card games, but Animalia would work really well even for those that are unable to hold the cards themselves. This is because all cards are placed face up on the table, the players do not hold any cards in their hands. The only thing the player needs to do is to decide whether to keep the card or pass it on to the next player, and to which series to add the card (if playing two player). The other player(s) could easily do all the card placing, score keeping etc.

I bought the travel edition, and this edition has all you need. The deluxe edition does not add anything at all to the gameplay.

The gameplay is fun and easy and the cards are really bright and beautiful. Works very well with two players as well as with more (up to six I think).

Good luck, I really hope you find some "keepers" among the games recommended!
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Michael Decker
United States
Colorado Springs
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Outstanding suggestions!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I'm off to the game store and if I can't find them there, I'll order online.
 
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