Our braille dice have always been a hotly desired item
Don’t just stand there, go look at our Kickstarter now!
Our braille dice have always been a hotly desired item
Don’t just stand there, go look at our Kickstarter now!
If you haven’t noticed, our 3d printer is up again so our 3d printed items are back in the store.
We have some pretty big news coming up soon on those RPG dice but I wanted to highlight some new additions to the store from some of our partner companies. These games are provided with the kits allowing them to be cheaper together than you’d be able to get them and the kit individually.
One of our most popular party games remains Cards Against Humanity but if you like being terrible I suggest giving this game a run. You are given cards and you take on the role of a pill pusher and come up with cures for diseases that had side effects worse than the actual disease. It’s a lot of fun and really allows those creative juices to flow.
Between Two Cities:
One thing that I find missing in a lot of games is a real good partnership relationship, everyone is out for their own thing. This is a sort of cooperative tile laying game where everyone is both cooperating and out for their own. Each player has a city that is shared by each of their neighbors, that is a city to your left and a city to your right. The catch is that everyone is scored for their weakest city so if you neglect either city, you’re going to lose. It’s a very clever mechanic that made me think this is a game I need to adapt right away.
This is another quick tile laying game that is pretty darn cool and fast. The game is sort of like a maze. Players try to get their pawn to not fall off the map by adding sections to the map. Each player tries to add sections to cause the other players to fall off the edge of the map. The last player with a pawn still on the map wins.
Roll for It:
This dice rolling game has players trying to make specific combinations of dice before the other players. Each card lists a few required dice(IE you have to roll a 2, a 3 and a 4) and if the player plays those dice they get to keep the card and victory points with it. Players are unlikely to roll the exact combinations needed in one turn though so players will have to lock in certain dice from turn to turn. If another player rolls that combination in the meantime they might snatch away your victory points from underneath you.
We’ve been back open for less than a month. If you haven’t looked lately, check out our store and see what we’ve added. But we have been featured on a pretty famous blog, Geek and Sundry
In other news, right now our 3d printer is down so all of our products are up except for that. We hope to fix it in the next few weeks but we haven’t. We’re looking into other options for 3d printing in the future and we’ll keep you posted as they develop.
We will be the first to admit that putting our kits together can be a lot of work. Many people lack readers or the time to put the kits together.
We have struggled with this for a while now and we have decided to start offering assembly assistance.
We will be doing this piece wise. For each card it will be approximately .10 cents a card with just braille and .12 cents per card with braille and qr codes. This price may change as we realize how much work it is, demand or if we make changes that increase efficiency.
It would be your responsibility to get us the game, we are not going to start stocking games. If the game is not in the original packaging we reserve the right to charge a sorting fee as well.
Time we spend doing this is time we don’t spend designing new kits but it is important to us that people are able to play the games too and we don’t want lack of a reader to be an insurmountable barrier. If you can find someone else to do it you can likely get it done cheaper.
If you are interested please email me at Richard@64ouncegames.com and we can talk about your specific needs and concerns.
This summer throughout the country tons of BELL programs will be running teaching Braille. I myself will be working with my wife leading the Texas program.
Lets go with the assumption whatever game is transcribable. I think I have a wider view of what is possible than a lot of people but there are some red flags that will make me not want to touch the game.
1st. Very visual based, drawing or pictures are a key component to gameplay(not just pretty, you actually have to see them.) Examples here are Pictionary and Dixit but there are many others. Most people don’t suggest these to me because it’s bloody obvious that they won’t work.
2nd. Speed being a key aspect- If two players have to get information in different ways and speed is key there is going to be a problem. I talk about this problem a lot in my previous post ‘designing for a blind audience’ The same goes for dexterity games. I just can’t fix Jenga or Rhino Hero for a blind audience.
3rd. Too many sprawling things- We can add overlays but at some point it will just become way too much. As 64 Oz. expands and if we get ahold of better 3d printing, better boards and better techniques we might be able to expand this but sometimes the game is just too damn fiddily.
4th An insane amount of work- Yes, people love trivia games. I could do a trivia game but I really don’t want to spend my time copying down pages upon pages of text.
5th CCG- I am working on a possible way to help people support these themselves but don’t expect me to be jumping in here. I don’t know what’s in your deck and I’m not transcribing every card that exists.
Gotten past that point? Great! Let me start off by dividing this into 3 sections and address each one individually.
Publishers, Gamers and Blind Gamers.
1st. Blind Gamers-
Blind gamers who talk to me on Twitter or Facebook or E-mail me I want to have the easiest time having their voices heard. If they mention to me they want a game, I try to accommodate if I have access to it. I’ll be much more likely to if they have bought stuff in the store before and I know that I’ll make at least one sale out of it. If a blind gamer cares enough about to mention it, it raises it on my list. If they are willing to send me a copy to work with it will go straight to the top of my list. (Especially if they are a Patreon.)
After I finish transcribing a game, I will be will return it so it can actually be played.
People have their favorite games that they love and want to share. I’m told ‘you should do this’ and I usually don’t disagree. But the fact is that there isn’t a huge market for obscure games and really I should target ‘evergreen’ titles first. I love many games but the flavor of the month isn’t going to be reasonable for me to keep up with and the sales so far don’t even make it close to worth it. If you have a blind friend or know blind people though and are actually interested in getting a kit yourself I’ll put your priority up there with blind gamers. You’re spreading the good word!
3. Publishers(and Kickstarters)-
If you are a publisher I’d love to support your games. I’ll gladly post on my Twitter feed that you want to be supportive to the blind community but I’ll need a couple of things first.
A. Access to your game, at least eventually.
I’ve done versions of games using just PnP files but I always feel nervous about things like card sizes for the sleeves and would rather not take the risk. Plus me having a copy means that I can transcribe it and bring it when I am going to blind conventions and that I will demo it for you. I’ve been lucky enough a lot of publishers have provided me with games however even without that luxury I’m enthusiastically transcribing games by all publishers of great games.
So basically you’ll have to send me a copy if you want to make certain but if you don’t and I love your game I’ll do it when I’m able.
B. A clear plan for distribution after your Kickstarter, specifically a reliable place online to buy the game.
If I’m going to commit to doing a game we need to have a way for people to get the game after the Kickstarter is done. It doesn’t do me any good or you if people don’t buy the game(and the kit.)
C. Time to do it.
Time is a finite thing and I don’t have a huge amount of it hanging around.
I’m going to be honest here. I don’t always transcribe all of the games that I have in my store. I’m just ready to transcribe them when a sale happens.
It is a print on demand service and I don’t think a 2 week wait time is unreasonable. We’re a lot faster than that though. This is especially true of Kickstarter babies. Many of them may never generate a sale to the blind community.
The long and short of it is this:
I want to get as many good games in the hands of blind players as quickly as possible. I’m working hard constantly to increase the selection in our store. With limited time and limited resources I’m adding new games as they are purchased or requested. If anyone has a better idea or better advice on how to add games to our catalog I’d love to hear from you.
Since we started this project to make board games accessible one thing that has come occasionally has been people will tell me the stats on Braille knowledge among the blind community with the concept that I’m wasting my time. Fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the United States are Braille readers. A meager 10 percent of blind children are learning it.
The argument is simple. Technology such as voice over in electronics, scanning software like KNB reading software or crowd funded solutions like Be My Eyes, and even older things like closed circuit televisions make it so a blind person doesn’t need this obsolete technology anymore. They can just use their technologies for any reading needs.
Of course few people even with these technologies would advocate no braille for a person with no sight whatsoever. These people believe it is only the ones who truly have no sight that need braille. It’s expensive, hard, and nobody uses it.
The problem is that most people who are blind aren’t 100% blind. This is why only 10% of blind people know braille. People hear ‘legally blind’ and what they hear is ‘this person can see’. And they can.
20/200 vision means what most people see at 200 feet is similar to what a blind person sees at 20 feet.
And a person with low vision like this can read… for a while.
I don’t know if I truly understood eye fatigue 3 years ago, long after my involvement in the blind community. Before that point I didn’t need glasses ever. I was very proud of my eyesight boasting that I was the only person in my family who didn’t need glasses.
This changed when I took some continuing education classes. It was a Web design course and I was trying to copy some code out of the book. I couldn’t figure out if the letter I was trying to copy was an e, a or o. It looked kind of circle like but it was blury.. no matter which I tried the code didn’t work and the longer I stared at it, the more blurred it became. I gave up and put it off to another day.
It turned out to be a Unicode character not a letter at all when I looked at it the next day, clear as day. So I got back to work. A half hour later I looked at it and it was a complete blur like the other day.
People inherently understand ‘I can’t see this’ but they can’t understand ‘I can see this for about 15 minutes and then it becomes a terrible blur’.
People in this scenario don’t learn they need braille until they are older. Universally I have heard they wish they learned it earlier. If you want to be fluent in braille you should learn it as early as possible. You can pick it up at any age but time is of the essence.
People sometimes act like it is print OR braille, that teaching braille early will be to the exclusion of teaching print. That’s crap. If the kid is able to learn print, they are going to learn print. It is everywhere. They would have to actively try to avoid print not to learn it.
I will be clear, in my opinion, I think blind people should learn braille unless 1 of 2 situations is true.
A. They physically cannot due to nerve damage or mobility issues.
B. They cognitively cannot because of brain damage or memory issues.
Other than that, I just don’t buy it. You’re too old? No you’re not if you are breathing. Do you plan on dying immediately?
Braille is so hard with those dots I hear. Well, print is so hard with those shapes and you learned that!
It might not be the most useful thing in all circumstances but it is one tool in your toolkit and you want to have as many as possible.
But I am a teacher so I pretty much believe you should learn as much as you can about everything. I never see a downside of learning.
But personally I think Braille is the right choice for us anyway.
For Valentines day we are giving away 3 braille accessibility kits to AEG’s Love Letter game and the game itself.
Tweet, Share and enjoy. Details on how to order are on the Rafflecopter page.
Also check out our new Patreon page If You want more input into our next projects.
One of the questions that I’m asked a lot by designers is how do you develop a game for blind players.
I hate this question.
I feel like the question is a trap and leads to thoughts like..
And so forth. This comes at it with a few assumptions about blind players.
First; That blind players should be catered to in this manner. I disagree with that.
Second; That there is a right answer to any of these questions. The fact is that just like with sighted people, there is a wide range of blind people. There are some sighted people who can track where and how many of every card in their 70 card deck builder is at all times. There are some sighted people who can’t deal with the hand size in Sushi Go. Any answer you give there are people who are going to be able to do it and there are people who aren’t able to do it.
Are there benefits to designing a game with few cards? ABSOLUTELY! Constraints can lead to great innovation in games. It might make it so your game is easier to pick up by players, reduce play time and make it easier to manufacture. But these things should be done because they benefit the game, not because it is going to help this one group.
There are lots of constraints that you can put on your games to make them easier for blind people but it is much better to put those constraints on a game because it makes it a better game.
When I try to make an accessibility kit I try to get as close to the way the game was designed as possible with the least amount of interference. I think it’s unacceptable to rewrite rules or make concessions with other people’s games because I’ve really failed at making the kit at all at that point.
Do I ask myself if this will be playable? Yes and no. I think I could do a kit for Kingdom Builder for instance that would make the game playable for some blind people. I personally don’t believe that a kit for this game though would be fun. I pull out this game as an example because one of the main mechanics is you have to place adjacent to a landscape type if it is possible. This means every single play you do you have to review the entire board state and if you miss one, it’s cheating. This isn’t hard visually but I think it would be a nightmare non-visually. You can do it, sure, but if you spend all that time doing it the game has slowed to a crawl and isn’t fun.
Of course then there’s the flip side of it where some people’s fun is different than other people’s fun. For me for instance I’d rather endure a fair amount of physical pain than play Command and Colors again but that’s me. So I may well do a kit for a game like Kingdom Builder(In that magical fictional future where I have time to do everything) someday even though I am not convinced the end result would be fun because I could be wrong.
Good design for blind players should allow them to get the information in the closest way to the way the sighted players do as possible. Secret information should be secret, players should be able to get information about the board state at any time and they should know everything a sighted player knows. Does this lead to problems with some games? Yes.
Galaxy Trucker is an excellent example of this. Part of the game players scramble to assemble their space ship as soon as possible while watching others do the same. Even with a tactile board there is just absolutely no way that this could be fair because they are playing with 2 sets of rules… the rules for the sighted and the rules for the blind.
When I come across a game like that is where we find the closest thing I do to designing for the blind. That’s designing with blind as a mechanic. You can’t level the playing field by making the blind person see in a game like that but you certainly can level the playing field by making a sighted person blind. Now we have players playing with 1 set of rules. That’s what we did with Yoink and that’s what we’re doing with another prototype I’m working on(and super excited about). What I really like about this is that it’s a relatively unexplored mechanic in a pretty crowded game space. I don’t really want to live in this design space full time as is evidenced by the prototypes I have produced but I can see myself going there periodically whenever I encounter games that it’s just impossible to level the playing field without changing the game because heck, that changed game might be fun.
Our 64 Oz, Games store is now open for business! If you have been waiting to get accessibility kits or braille dice we’re now ready to take orders!
Click on the store link at the top of the page to shop!
Thank you so much!