Board Games That Can Be Played by the Visually Impaired

Board games are an excellent activity for families and friends spending time together. While it can be competitive, others provide a great opportunity for spending time with the people close to you.

While games are usually extremely visual, it doesn’t mean that players who are blind can’t get the full experience. The good news is some of the most popular games in the world are adapted for them. Here are some board games for the visually impaired and the blind:  

1. Monopoly

One of the most popular board games in the world, Monopoly is a classic family game played all over the globe. It’s a multi-generational classic that students can enjoy as children, teens, and adults. This game has over 1,000 versions, including Braille and Low Vision Monopoly.

This board game version comes with a unique overlay molded on the surface to enable players to identify the spaces and location of the properties. The perimeter of each game is labeled in large print and braille, allowing everyone, including people who are blind and with low vision, to play the game. The cards, dice, money, and the game board is in braille.

2. Checkers

The classic checkers game is a game of strategy. This fun and easy-to-learn game can be enjoyed by the blind and the visually impaired just as much as sighted people. There’s a checkers set designed for them, featuring a wooden checkerboard with elevated white squares, recessed black squares, and holes in the center of squares to hold pieces in place. The white pieces have raised dots for tactile identification.

The great thing about the tactile checkers set is that knowledge of braille is not required to play.

3. Chess

One of the most played games across the world is chess – the classic strategy game created in the 6th century. Playing chess is considered to be a good exercise for the brain, as it challenges your logic, develops pattern recognition, and sharpens your decision-making skills.

There’s a unique chess board used for blind and visually challenged players where black squares on the board are slightly raised to differentiate them from the white. And unlike regular chess pieces, the chess pieces for the blind have specially adapted features, like bumps on the white pieces to differentiate them from the black ones.

4. Playing cards

A deck of 52 playing cards offers a variety of games you can enjoy with friends. Playing cards are essentially the pocket knife of tabletop games. There’s Poker, Go Fish, Rummy, Solitaire, War, Spit – the list goes on.

For all card games, seeing your cards is an essential part of the game, but there are cards adapted with braille on the corners to make them playable by people who are blind and visually impaired. These playing cards come with braille on the corners placed very discreetly.

5. Scrabble

There are many reasons why this popular crossword game is such a hit for people of different age groups. Scrabble is a great way to widen your vocabulary and put your skills to the test while boosting concentration.

Scrabble for the blind and visually impaired has unique features with braille and tactile markings to enable playing by touch. There’s an overlay grid that prevents shifting on pieces, as well as braille markings on the scored areas on the board, as well as in the tile pieces.

6. Bananagrams

A set of Bananagrams

Bananagrams is a fun word game requiring each player to form letter tiles into a grid of connected words in less time than their opponents. The goal of the game is to complete a word at the end of a pool of tiles.

To make it enjoyable and playable for the visually impaired, Bananagrams comes with a version that has braille markings, giving everyone a chance to play and build crossword grids to enjoy the game. But if you already have the original game, a person who is blind or visually impaired can join you if they have a voice-activated device that can help them read or see.

7. Rubiks cube

The Rubiks cube is one of the best-selling brain teaser puzzle toys in the world. Initially, it is played by twisting and turning to realign the six matching colors for every side of the cube.

The tactile version doesn’t only feature the colors, but it also comes with unique tactile markings like dots, triangles, and circles – making it solvable even by the blind and the visually impaired.

8. Sudoku

Millions of people enjoy the famous Japanese number puzzle game (that has nothing to do with math). Sudoku is a logic-based game that focuses on number placement.

Now, this puzzle game has also been adapted for the blind or visually impaired. Instead of using paper, the braille Sudoku puzzle game features a game board that consists of 81 holes (same as the standard 9×9 Sudoku setup). Then, it comes with numbered, color-coded plastic pieces to make the game easier to play for people with vision impairment. Each piece also has a number written in braille to make it accessible for the blind.

9. Dominoes

Dominoes are a lot of fun – it never goes old. It’s a family game that can be versatile, depending on what you want to play with it.

The tactile dominoes game for the blind and visually impaired has raised bumps so they can easily know the domino piece’s value. Also, these domino tiles are slightly bigger than the regular version so that they can be grabbed more easily.

10. Uno

Unlike the classic games mentioned in this list, Uno is the newest one, being created in 1971. But despite being recent, the game has been popular ever since. Uno is a four-color card game where players can lay cards that match the same number or color.

In 2019, a braille version of Uno was released, allowing those who have vision impairment to play this iconic game. Mattel Games developed the cards in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind. This version features the braille in the corner of each card to indicate color and number or action.