Tabletop QOTD 2020-03-25

Borrowing from the idea of the Pluspora Check-in get some tabletop conversation going. If you have any questions that you want to get on the list to be asked, let me know. Also, if you'd like to be added or taken off the list of participants, let me know.

Have you seen any games that go out of their way to be accessible? Have you considered accessibility in your designs?

I took a workshop recently, and there was a particular lesson about designing for accessibility. To my lament, I'd never even considered a lot of the points in that lesson. Colors, contrasts, textual clues for screen readers, layout- all these things and more go into making the hobby more accessible to everyone.

Jacob Wood is one designer that I know that's visibly at the forefront of making this a more known subject with two kickstarter projects on the issue:



It's a subject that I've seen little about.

#Tabletop #QOTD

@Eric Franklin
@Board Games Forum
@Curt Thompson
@Douglas Bailey
@Jesse Butler
@Keith Davies
@Martin Ralya
@Martijn Vos
@Nathan V
@Marsha B
@Nathan Weaver
@Moe Tousignant
@PresGas (OSR) Aspect
@Craig Maloney
@Patrick Marchiodi
@Nathan Norway
@Stephen Gunnell
@Joseph Teller
@Charles M
You mean other than the FATE Accessibility Toolkit?

I know that Repos has announced that they are working hard to make sure their board games are color-blind friendly (using shapes/textures in addition to color for differentiation).
@Eric Franklin - good call, I'd forgotten about that particular book.
A person I met at work is actually colour blind. It's interesting speaking with him about his experiences. Game pieces with red and green are hard for him to distinguish. The most interesting thing is that the game Tyrants of the Underdark chose some what I thought were poor choices in colours for the different pieces. There are dark grey and dark purple pieces which are hard to tell apart when lighting is less than ideal. I showed them to my colour blind friend and he said he has no problems distinguishing between those two colours.

Apparently, some colours that non-colour blind people find hard to distinguish stand out a lot to colour blind people. Camouflage is an example. He tells me that when he saw vehicles painted in camo against foliage, they really stand out to him and he doesn't understand how it could be useful. I'm beginning to wonder if the person who chose the colours of the pieces in Tyrants of the Underdark were colour blind.

I do recall seeing some guide for game designers on what colours to choose for game pieces that would be easily distinguishable by colour blind people. The colours in that guide were mostly not any of the primary colours, but rather bland looking colours. At least to me, I felt those colours looked quite bland. I can tell them apart and apparently, so can many colour blind people.
@Stuntman AFAICT to help colorblind people games often code pieces and symbols both in color *and* in shape. E.g. red tokens are square, green ar triangular and blue ones are round.
This comes up a lot on our podcast talking about games. This is something that I personally have become more and more aware of over time. Part of that is driven due to the fact that these issues are talked about a lot more openly and another big part for me is that we have a big fan who is legally blind and often will open my eyes to problems in games I would have never realized being fully abled.

One of the most obvious ones are companies changing the default player colours. For years almost every game came with yellow, red, blue and green as player colours. Those are not colourblind friendly. Many modern games have swapped up those colours to be more accessible.

A step further is changing the physical shame of different things. Instead of having 5 different cubes in different colours, games have each colour also be a different shape. A good example of this is Gold West from TMG.

Personally I think it's great that this is something that more and more companies are considering.
I think perhaps it comes up most obviously with board games, as @Moe Tousignant describes.

I don't go really far regarding accessibility in my books, but...

Part of the reason I started the Echelon Reference Series, beyond just trying to gather and organize the damn content, was to make it more usable. This starts with no backgrounds on the pages (partly to save ink, mostly to make it easier to read) and presenting headers (section and game object, like spells and feats) so they really stand out. Aggressively so, even.

To my amusement, a well-known reviewer commented in his early reviews that these layout conventions we a bit weird but harmless... and later he found that he loved them because they increased the readability and utility of the books. He was even more excited about a couple other improvements I made.

So... 'accessibility', I hope my changes help, but absolutely I put a lot of emphasis on readability and utility.