Living with a visual impairment can mean limiting many aspects of your life. The world at large seems to assume that everyone is sighted, which, as we know, is just not always the case.
Fortunately, as time goes on and society slowly grows more inclusive, accessibility is being improved in all regards. One aspect that is seeing a major accessibility improvement is board games.
We think being blind or visually impaired shouldn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a good board game with friends. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the best board games for the blind.
Check out some of the games below for inspiration on what to play if you or someone you love is visually impaired.
Best Board Games for the Blind
If you’re a bookworm, then you’ve probably heard of Scrabble before. It’s a wonderful game for those who love words and building their vocabulary, because the more words you know, the better you’ll do.
In this edition, the game has been completely revamped so that visually impaired people can play comfortably. Each letter tile has both text and Braille on it.
The board itself now has raised edges, allowing players to feel where the tiles should go. These raised edges also keep tiles from slipping off the board if the table gets bumped.
- Classic board game that’s great for bookworms.
- Each tile has print and Braille on it for easy reading.
- The board has raised edges on each square, so pieces snap into place and won’t slide off.
- Spinning design allows players to rotate the board, granting easy access to all sides.
- Includes directions in Braille.
- Can be kind of expensive.
- Some felt that the tiles should have come in a higher-quality opaque bag.
A simple game with an easy premise, Tic Tac Toe is probably one of the first strategy games we learn as children. When you’re visually impaired, though, feeling where the X’s and O’s are on the paper can be difficult.
Fortunately, there are beautiful tactile boards like this one. The X’s and O’s have been transformed from tiny marks on paper to large, easily distinguishable pieces. Lines on the board make it easy to tell where the squares are.
In between games, the board functions as a gorgeous decoration. It looks refined, and could grace any coffee table without disrupting the look of the room.
- Gorgeous design.
- Large pieces that are easy to feel and tell apart.
- Compact size for efficient storage.
- The X’s and O’s can be placed inside the board after each game.
- Some have said this board is a little too small.
- It’s a pretty simple game, so may not always appeal to adults.
This game is a bit like Tic Tac Toe, if you’re in the mood for a little more strategy. The difference, though, is that you need to get four discs of the same color in a row to win.
Like the Tic Tac Toe board, this game has been re-envisioned to be friendly to visually impaired people. The red discs have holes in the center, so players can tell with a quick touch which is which.
It’s a great choice for children. The rules are simple, so even beginners can pick it up quickly.
- Players can tell which discs are which by feeling them.
- Easy to learn to play.
- Set up and cleanup are quick, as there aren’t a lot of parts.
- As it’s like Tic Tac Toe, the premise is simple and may not be entertaining for older players.
Backgammon is a classic game known and loved by many. This ancient game doesn’t take much time to learn, and this version of it brings to you a beautiful board made entirely from wood.
It was wholly created to be distinguishable for the blind. The pieces are tactile, and the marks on the board are raised so they can be felt.
One thing we really love about this board is that it folds up. Once you’re done playing, you can fold it in half and tuck it away to make a little extra room.
- Attractive wooden design that’s polished by hand.
- Tactile pieces that are clearly distinguishable for the visually impaired.
- Easy to learn how to play.
- Raised edges on the board keep pieces in place.
- Folds in half to make storing it away simple.
- There are some reports that it’s a little too small.
Othello is yet another timeless strategy game. Although its rules are fairly basic, there’s so much strategy involved that even adults will have a blast contemplating every single move.
The goal of the game is to have more pegs in your color on the board than your opponent. Each peg has one side painted one of the two colors, so when a player flanks an opponent’s pegs, those flanked pegs are flipped over to the player’s color.
Either side of the peg is marked with a dot, so blind players can tell which pegs are theirs. At the end of the game, the board also includes a smooth wooden lid that turns the board into a box holding all the pegs.
- The board functions as the playing surface and as a storage box.
- Each peg is marked on both sides so all players can tell which ones are theirs.
- Stunning wooden design.
- None reported yet.
Everyone has played a game of chess at least once in their lives. The average board, however, would be difficult for someone who’s blind to play on.
This board remedies all the visual problems the standard Chess board might have. Each square is marked with a hole that the pieces slot smoothly into. That ensures they won’t get knocked over if the board is bumped or as blind players feel the space.
The pieces themselves are created to be easy to tell apart. White pieces are carved with large dots on top.
- The pieces are kept in place by holes in the squares.
- Dots on top of the white pieces make them easy to tell apart.
- There is storage on either end of the board that holds the pieces.
- There are some reports that the pieces are visually unattractive.
Okay, so Jenga isn’t a game that was originally intended for blind people. However, the natural design of the game makes it possible for those with visual impairments to play.
There are no cards or anything to read. All you need to do is stack the blocks, pull them out, and put them back on the stack.
This something you can do whether or not you can see. In fact, some fans even play blindfolded for a challenge. For that reason, we think blind people could enjoy this fun game as easily as a sighted person could.
- Players don’t need to try and discern between pieces on opposing teams.
- You can play solely by touch.
- The game is fun and doesn’t take long to learn.
- Well-loved by fans all over the world.
- The box is slightly too big to hold the game neatly, so you can’t stack your pieces in the box as a tower and slide them out whole for the next match.
Features to Consider
When you’re playing with a blind person, it’s important that they’re able to tell the parts of the board game apart on their own. Yes, you could read them the text or operate their pieces for them if you’re sighted, but this could become frustrating over the course of many games.
Tactile features allow blind people to play the game entirely through touch. They can include things such as raised dots on pieces to tell them apart, or edges on tiles to hold parts in place.
Make sure you look for these types of components. They will make the game a lot easier for your visually impaired loved ones to play.
Number of Players
Sometimes, you don’t have enough people around to get a game going. The smaller the number of players required for a game, the less you need to struggle to find a group to play with.
If you’re gifting the board game to a friend or family member, this is something worth considering. They may want to be able to play it as much as possible.
Or, alternatively, they may prefer to play with a large group of friends. At any rate, you can check out the number of players necessary for a given game in the description.
Braille or Raised Lettering
Like tactile features, Braille or raised lettering give your blind loved ones independence as they play the game. This type of lettering makes it possible for them to read instructions or tell what various components are without having to ask for a reader.
Unfortunately, this isn’t all that common with board games. However, there are some that include Braille instructions or lettering that visually impaired people can read occasionally.
Fun isn’t something anyone should have to sacrifice, regardless of their disabilities. Any of the board games on this list make it possible for a blind person to jump in on the fun.
Our personal favorite, though, is the Deluxe Scrabble Game.We think you could spend hours playing it. It’s a great game to tease your brain and sharpen your vocabulary with.