There are many practical tips and adaptations that will enable you to continue playing your favorite board games.
Five Practical Tips for Playing Board Games After Vision Loss
- Check the lighting. If you have low vision, make sure that the lighting in your playing area provides sufficient illumination. Read more about lighting. A lamp with an adjustable flex-arm or gooseneck is usually a good choice because you can adjust the direction of the light as needed. A flex-arm floor lamp on wheels is another good option. If possible, also try to sit where there is shadow-free natural or artificial light.
- Use a low vision device. Talk with your eye doctor or low vision specialist to determine if a low vision device, such as a chest or around-the-neck magnifier or a magnifier mounted on a flexible gooseneck stand, can be helpful for card and board games. For more information about low vision devices and training, see What Is A Low Vision Examination?, Low Vision Optical Devices, Non-Optical Devices, and Vision Rehabilitation Services.
- Use solid colors as backgrounds to make the playing board and pieces “stand out.” Avoid the use of table coverings with patterns, prints, or stripes.
- Place darker objects against lighter backgrounds; for example, a black or brown game piece is more visible against a white placemat or table covering.
- Adapt and label your games as needed to meet your visual needs.
Label Your Games and Game Pieces
- Create tactile labels for your game boxes attaching a game piece to the outside of the box or container with a rubber band.
- Place a rubber band around the box or container for Monopoly to differentiate it from Scrabble.
- Use a black wide-tip marker, a laundry marker, or a felt-tip pen to write in large, bold letters on plain white 3″ x 5″ index cards. Use these labels to differentiate games or cards that are stored in similar containers. Attach each card to the appropriate container with a rubber band.
- Use brightly colored electrical or plastic tape, pipe cleaners, Velcro, fabric or craft paint, or velour pads/furniture protectors to place markers on game boxes or containers.
- You can find more labeling information at Labeling and Marking.
Adaptations: Large Print or Braille Games
- Braille and Low Vision Monopoly contains extra-large playing cards with braille and large print. The 20″ square game board has an overlay to help with identification of spaces and property locations. The perimeter of each game space is labeled in braille and print and comes with braille instructions.
- Deluxe Chinese Checkers has a wooden board with holes for insertion of the playing pieces. It also contains differently shaped and colored playing pieces.
- Deluxe Braille Scrabble contains large print and braille letter tiles, a tactile playing board, and instructions in braille and audiotape. The board has a raised ridge around the edge to keep the tiles in place. The tiles have raised print as well as braille letters.
- Braille Dice have raised bold black dots. Each die measures 3/4″ in diameter.
- Braille Dominoes are made of heavy-duty white plastic and have raised bold black dots to help identify the playing pieces.
- Your old board games can also be adapted easily. For example, standard checker pieces can be distinguished by a textured surface glued to the center of either the red or black set.