Ten Games with Great Accessibility Design Lessons

Board Games with Great Lessons for Accessible Design

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Not all of the games I’ve listed here made the grade as ones I’d recommend across the board for their accessibility, but few games ever do. Instead, these are games that have high impact accessibility features that, if you made use of as many of them as was relevant for your design, you’d have a markedly more accessible title. These are are all widely generalisable suggestions. I think you should emulate these whenever you get a chance.

I make no claims that the games mentioned are the only, or even the first, games to do what I talk about. Just that they are notable examples that have come up in the course of doing this work for Meeple Like Us. That inevitably means that the originator of an idea may not get the credit for it here, but if people can provide the ‘prior art’ of these I’ll happily include them in a future special feature.

Often in an accessibility teardown the criticism of the design will massively overshadow any of the especially notable design elements I highlight. It’s possible for a game to get an F in any given category despite my saying nice things about what it does well. A post like this is a chance for me to extract the positive design lessons and present them absent the criticism. Hopefully this is a useful and positive way to acknowledge good design lessons. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these!

Honourable mentions

I’m not going to do any honourable mentions here because there’s a reasonably high chance that I’ll do another one of these in the future – games that didn’t end up on this list are likely to end up on others. As such I don’t want to end up cannibalizing my own future content.

Instead I’ll point you to our accessible game library on a budget feature where you can see our recommendations for games that are highly accessible. Those all have design lessons worth considering.

List in Full

GameImportant design lessons
CatanPhysical frames and hints on tiles
MonopolyUnique tokens for players
ChessTactiles pieces and grid references
Scythe & SagradaIndentations on board
Playing cardsCards that can be held at all angles without losing information
PatchworkLow-clutter boards on the back of other boards
CoupCool representation
Deception: Murder in Hong KongExplicitly non-confrontational presentation
Santorini & Flash PointModular rules and asymmetrical balance
ColorettoTextures on coloured backgrounds

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