On a rainy day with absolutely nothing to do, you could usually find me and my friends inside playing some type of board game such as Clue or Trivia Pursuit. As my vision began to deteriorate, the ability for me to play these games with my sighted peers became quite difficult and eventually it became impossible for me to play board games at all. To my knowledge there are not many board games that are accessible to the blindness community; however, that is about to change.
This week’s Follow Friday guests know exactly how hard it is for the blind to be included when it comes to playing board games with their sighted family and friends. That is why they are hard at work to make a line of board games accessible for the blind.
Come join me as I had the opportunity to speak with Richard and Emily Gibbs of 64OzGames and learn more about why they feel it is necessary for the blind to have accessible board games.
Brie Rumery: Would you please take a few minutes to tell the readers about 64OZ Games?
64OzGames: 64 Oz. Games is a board game company with a focus on making quality strategy games accessible. Thy will do this with accessibility kits for existing games and new original titles.
BR: Why do you think there is a need for accessible board games for the blind?
64OzGames: There is a need for board games for the blind for the same reasons as there are for the sighted community to have board games. The reason there aren’t any new board games is partially because companies think that it would be too expensive and partially because blind people haven’t realized how many great games they have been missing out on.
BR: How do you plan to make your games accessible for the blindness community?
64OzGames: Our main method will be braille but we will use overlays, technologies and textures as appropriate. We will be making plastic sleeves that fit over cards with braille on them among other products in our accessibility kits.
BR: What challenges, if any, have you encountered since the start of your endeavor?
64OzGames: One of the biggest actually has been the lack of knowledge of board games in the blind community. We have been trying to overcome this with a podcast and just talking about it. You can find it on our website.
BR: When do you expect to release your first accessible board game?
64OzGames: We hope to roll out our accessibility kits this fall along with Yoink! After that we hope to start with our original titles next year including Movie Bite and Revision.
BR: Which board game titles do you plan to make accessible first and why did you choose them over others?
64OzGames: Love Letter, Resistance, For Sale, Dominion and more we chose to be our first accessible titles. We chose games that we love that we already own initially. We made certain that we picked games that we knew that we could do a good job with. As we continue to unlock stretch goals with our Kickstarter we will be able to support more games after its conclusion.
BR: How can others become more involved with your venture to make board games accessible?
64OzGames: Sharing our Kickstarter, joining our forums that we are working on creating to discuss them, joining www.boardgamegeek.com and the board game community as a whole and finally, most importantly, just playing board games.
BR: Why is it important to use a social media platform such as Twitter to promote your campaign?
64OzGames: Twitter is a great way to reach directly to both designers and gamers in the tabletop gaming community. It is also fantastic for reaching the blind community as well. Social media has made a project like this that would not have been financially viable even a few years ago viable.
I want to thank Richard and Emily Gibbs of 64OzGames for taking the time to share their vision for accessible board games for the blind and visually impaired. If you are not already following them on Twitter then I strongly suggest that you add @64OzGames to your list of friends.
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