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. You can read more about lighting here. 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.
- Place darker objects against lighter backgrounds; for example, a white or light-colored game board is more visible against a white placemat or table covering.
- You can learn more about modifying all areas of your home at Home Modifications and Room by Room.
- For more information about preparation and adaptations for card and board games, including methods for labeling your game boxes and pieces, see Card and Board Games for Players with Vision Loss.
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. Learn about playing Scrabble.
- 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.
Additional Resources for Gaming
- For additional instruction in a wide range of daily living adaptations, contact a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist. See Vision Rehabilitation Services on this website for more information.
- Find Vision Rehabilitation Services
- Sources of Products for Independent Living