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This is a page of accessibility resources for many different kinds of games with a focus in tabletop role-playing games.

Many of the contributions for this page came from Modifier Podcast’s Accessibility Resources, the Accessiblility in Tabletop RPGs panel that happened at GeekGirlCon 2017, and recommendations by individual community members. If you know about additional resources that should be added to this list, please share them in the comments.

 

Areas of Accessibility to Consider for Tabletop Games

Here is a list of four areas of accessibility to consider as you start a conversation with your gaming group about accessibility needs:

1) Find out what kinds of game systems are going to work for the participants, keeping in mind things like game complexity, how much math is needed to play, game pieces with small font, and small pieces that require fine motor skills.

2) What types of content should be avoided, keeping in mind things like phobias, triggers, overall tone, how much oppression is in the game world, how much violence is in the game, whether or not it is possible for characters die, and whether or not the game includes conflict between player characters. It can also help to go over content that players want to be in the game.

3) Choose a gaming location that is accessible to all, keeping in mind things like physical accessibility, the sensory aspects of the space like how loud is it and if there are lights in people’s faces, seating options, and whether or not food will be available to players.

4) Social dynamics during the game are also important and there are a number of social systems that can increase access such as check-ins, regular plot recaps, breaks, buddy note takers, online notes, and systems for editing game content as play happens (Script Change RPG Tool and the X-Card System).

 

Podcasts that Discuss Accessibility in Tabletop Role-playing Games:

Episode 18 – The Foundations and Ground Rules for Unfamiliar Heroes: Episode zero of my Unfamiliar Heroes podcast series which includes a discussion of disability representation, the reasons why I feel that this project is so needed, the ways that participants who live at the intersections of oppression are centered in this project, and eight game ground rules which are designed to keep games accessible and inclusive.

Unfamiliar Heroes Series: Using tabletop role-playing games to create new representations of disabled, sick, and neurodiverse people. This is an actual play podcast series that samples multiple different game systems. Most games tend to be light and humorous.

Get Acquainted with the Unfamiliar Heroes – Part 1: A conversation on the Modifier Podcast that focuses on addressing the needs of players and considering how accessible your game system itself is.

Get Acquainted with the Unfamiliar Heroes – Part 2: A conversation on the Modifier Podcast that focuses on mechanics that aim to recreate or facilitate these diverse experiences, and things to consider when playing a diverse character.

Leveling Up – S2E2 – Making Gaming Accessible: A conversation on the Leveling Up Podcast about Unfamiliar Heroes, Magic Goes Awry, and ways to ensure our game tables are accessible in every way to a diverse group of players.

Accessibility with Elsa S Henry: A conversation on the Modifier Podcast about gaming with a disability and the many ways games can be made more accessible and inclusive for all players.

(More) Accessibility With Aser & Megan Tolentino: A conversation on the Modifier Podcast with blind gamer Aser Tolentino and his wife Megan who have a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to tools and tips for making, running, and playing accessible games.

 

Links to Resources:

General resources:

Trope of the Week Series: Harmful patterns in the representation of disability, how to know if you are doing them, and what to do differently

The Geeky Gimp:Comic, TV, movie, and game reviews from the perspective of a disabled geek

Illuminating Spaces with Elsa S Henry: An Illuminerdy series article about how to make your games and gaming spaces accessible to all

 

Tabletop role-playing games:

Accessibility in Tabletop Gaming: A thorough overview of game accessibility for many types of gaming groups made from the Accessiblility in Tabletop RPGs panel that happened at GeekGirlCon 2017

Lasers & Feelings Hacks: A list of free, short, rules-light games that are available in a wide range of genres

Find Games to Join: Roll20 makes a free online tabletop for playing a variety of tabletop games and they provide a resource for people who want to connect and find groups to play with

 

Emotional Accessibility:

Safe Hearts: This article by Avery Alder is a guide to boundaries and vulnerability designed for the Monsterhearts role-playing game, but much more broadly applicable to any game with intense subject matter

Script Change RPG Tool: This article by Brie Sheldon outlines good ways to deal with intense topics in role-playing games as well as a method addressing upsetting or triggering subject matter when it comes up

X-Card: This article by John Stavropoulos details an optional tool that allows anyone in a game to edit out any content that they are uncomfortable with as the group plays

 

Visual Accessibility:

Blind Accessible Games: 64oz Games sells accessibility kits for many popular tabletop board and card games that “allow both blind and sighted players to play together with a retail product”

ArtsCow Custom Printed Playing Cards: Useful for printing large print cards to modify games so that they are accessible to people with low vision

Rainbow Galaxy High Viz Dice Set: One option for dice with large, bold numbers on a rainbow of dice

3D Printed Braille Dice: 64oz Games sells a range of 3D printed braille dice

 

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Access:

Illuminerdy’s RPG Sign Language by Bill Paulson: An ongoing YouTube series that teaches signs for role-playing games

 

Representation:

Diverse Gaming Lists: “Helping people find games that reflect them” by creating lists of games where different identities are represented well

Different Games Collective: Organizes an annual conference “on diversity and inclusiveness in games” in Brooklyn, as well as a blog and some smaller events in other cities, note that their facebook page seems more current than the main website

 

Board Games:

Meeple Like Us – Boardgame reviews and accessibility teardowns:Meeple Like Us is a board game review blog with a strong focus on the accessibility of tabletop games

 

Live Action Role-Playing:

Access: Larp: Blog containing access guides for LARP players and organizers

Golden Feather Initiative: A blog dedicated to “safety & social justice in LARPing communities”

 

Video Games:

The AbleGamers Foundation: A nonprofit that “aims to improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games”

 

Information for Designers:

Games Accessibility Guidelines: “A straightforward reference for inclusive game design,” information for designers that is broken up into basic, intermediate, and advanced categories

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) from W3C: “Strategies, guidelines, resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities”

Making Games More Accessible: Short article plus links

General ADA Information: All the legal bits concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act

2 Responses to “Accessibility Resources for Gaming”

  1. Abby says:

    Wow!! Thank you so much for providing these resources. As a DM for a very diverse group, I am always trying to be sure that I am inclusive of everyone. I really love this.

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