Tabletop Game and Accessibility Review: Avenue

Tabletop Review: Avenue with a cartoon castle in the background and a blue sky

The Basics:

Avenue is a quick pen-and-paper game where each player draws directional lines on their 6×7 grid, connecting green and purple grapes to farms and castles. It was published in 2016 by Aporta Games, and was designed by Eilif Svensson and Kristian Amundsen Østby. It’s for ages eight and up, supports one to ten players, and has an average game time of 15 minutes.

Rules:

At the start, a random farm card is picked and revealed to all players; there are six farms designated A through F. One player then flips over route cards depicting one of six different lines you can draw on your grid. After the fourth yellow card is shown (direction cards have gray or yellow backgrounds), the round ends, and you score based on how many grapes connect to the specified farm. You continue this for five rounds, then tally up your points and add bonuses for similarly-colored grapes connecting to the green and pink castles. The highest score wins! … Read more…

Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How to Hack Them: Part Two

Board Game Accessibility Fails and How to Hack Them: Part Two, background is a close up of wood tokens and dice

In part one of this series, I covered the inaccessibility of hidden information, dexterity mechanics, and real-time games. Below are three more game mechanics and styles that prohibit me (and other disabled folks) from enjoying board games to their fullest. As always, please share your thoughts in the comments, or send a tweet to @geekygimp!

Component Heavy with picture of trains in ticket to rideComponent Heavy

The Problem: While component-heavy games could be appealing, especially when it comes to miniatures, they present an access barrier. Some games require different tokens to track a plethora of stats, points, and movements; add in multiple card decks and 20 robot miniatures, and you’re inundated with cardboard and plastic. I have trouble extending my arms, and my table space is limited, making it hard to keep all the components separate and organized. For someone with shaky hands, stackable tokens and exact component placement render many component-heavy games difficult or entirely inaccessible. … Read more…

Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How to Hack Them: Part One

Six Board Game Accessibility Fails, and How To Hack Them: Part One

I’ve always needed help playing board games, as I don’t have the range-of-motion, strength, or dexterity to do it on my own. There are actions I can do, like roll dice or pick up a card, and others I can’t, like shuffling or reaching to move pieces across the board. Gaming has always been an act of interdependence, much like all my activities of daily living, and something I’ve adapted to over the years with personal hacks.

House rules and small-scale solutions can work, but what if these adjustments were baked into the game? Thoughtful and inclusive design doesn’t just mean more disabled people can play, but it can improve the quality of the game for everyone.

In this two-part series, I point out six access barriers I’ve encountered in tabletop gaming and offer potential solutions that can work right out of the box. These access issues are from my perspective as a physically disabled individual, and the hacks below may not apply or work for everyone, but I hope my words can be a resource and starting point for designers and players alike. … Read more…

The Geeky Gimp’s Best of 2016

The Geeky Gimp's Best of 2016. Image of Erin overlayed with fireworks.

While 2016 has been a difficult year for many, I want to reflect on my favorite things that helped me get through the hardest days. Our joy and entertainment, our binge-watching Netflix or slipping away for a few hours with a good book, will aid us now and in the coming years. I hope you enjoy my Best of 2016 list – in the comments below, let me know what you think of my choices, and what’s on your best-of list!

Best Video Game: Stardew Valley

Best video game: Stardew Valley by Chucklefish

By far my most-played game this year, clocking in at 129 hours and counting. You leave a dull office job and travel to Stardew Valley, a small, struggling community with a farm you’ve just inherited from your grandfather. By growing, harvesting, and selling crops, as well as caring for livestock, you earn enough money to expand your farm and help rebuild the derelict community center. You can also go fishing and mining to level up your character. The game never punishes you too much, and there are no time limits for the overall goals; this eliminates the boring grind of most farming sims. Despite all the hours put in, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. Pick this up if you liked Harvest MoonAvailable on Steam. … Read more…

Easy Roller Dice Co. – Tabletop Review

Easy Roller Dice Co. Product Review. Below text are three d20 dice, blue, purple swirl, and sparkly pink

shiny blue dice with varying side counts d10, d20, etc Imagine dice rolling across the table, landing on a number that seals the fate of your latest in-game decision – how does that moment make you feel? For me, it’s this inspired burst of energy and excitement – the same visceral reaction when I crack open a new book. Dice not only remind me of good times with friends, but they bring out my creative side with all their possibilities. With just a few d20s, I could design a game; add a pencil and paper, and I could imagine a whole world and its heroes.

My dice collection is fairly small, but I’m always on the lookout for pretty ones at game conventions. My five-year-old niece is getting into the hobby as well, which couldn’t make me happier. So of course I was delighted when Easy Roller Dice Co. offered to send me some products of my choosing to review. When I saw their clear-with-pink-sparkles set, I knew a kid who would love them.

Inside dice bags, aerial shot, black exteriors and blue, purple, red satin interiorsAppearance alone, Easy Roller Dice Co. dice and bags are gorgeous. The dice all have a nice weight and shine, feeling like polished, cast acrylic. Each die is hand-inspected before shipment, and there were no blemishes or chips on any of them. The small dice bags have a black velvet exterior, and a vibrant satin interior that comes in four different colors: blue, purple, gold, and red. Each bag also has the logo sewn on a small tag, sturdy pull strings, and some sort of stiff fabric inside to hold their shape. My mom wants to steal them to store her jewelry, so they’re multi-purpose too!

The 7-piece dice sets include one each of the following: a d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and a percentile 10-sided die. … Read more…

Contest: win a copy of Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet!

Cover of Lift Off!

Hi everyone! I hope you are all doing well. I recently started a new job, and to celebrate, I thought I’d run a contest.

The prize is a new-in-shrink copy of Eduardo Baraf’s Lift Off! Get Me Off This Planet! 

To enter, all you have to do is be a follower of @geekygimp on twitter, and retweet the following:

For an extra entry, you can also follow me on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/TheGeekyGimp

It’s that easy! The winner will be picked on July 6th at 9pm EST. The contest is open to everyone, in all countries. They will be notified via Twitter or Facebook, as well as on the blog.

Good luck!

Read more…

The Geeky Gimp Presents #6 – A Podcast with Chris!

Chris (@preiman709 on Twitter) and I chat about Daredevil, blindness portrayed in Star Trek, RPGs, and dating while disabled. You can subscribe to my podcast by searching for “The Geeky Gimp” on iTunes, or using the subscribe button in the right menu. As always, English subtitles are available on the YouTube video, and the transcript is below. Enjoy!

Thank you to Todd for providing us with this transcript and subtitles. Please support him by visiting his blog at http://boardgamemadness.blogspot.com! … Read more…

The Siblings Trouble – Interview with Eduardo Baraf

The Siblings TroubleI interviewed designer Eduardo Baraf this past summer about his new game, Lift Off! Get Me Off this Planet! It was successfully funded on Kickstarter, with copies on their way to backers as I post this. Now, Ed is launching a new game on Kickstarter called The Siblings Trouble, with gorgeous artwork and fantastic gameplay mechanisms that give it an epic RPG feel. Check out my interview with Ed below to learn more about the game, which launches today!

GG: Hi Ed, thanks for joining me again to talk about your upcoming game, The Siblings Trouble! Before we get into the details about that, how are you doing? How are things going/where are you with Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!?

Ed: Personally, I’m doing well. Life is busy, but in a good way. My family is healthy and I’m making lots of stuff, which makes me happy. Lift Off! Get me off this Planet! is going well. We were delayed on a few components, but all of the final manufacturing is complete and all copies have left PandaGM in China! The games are now starting the process of being shipped around the world and should be in players hands end of April to mid-May. … Read more…

Tabletop Game Review #9 – Mining Maniac

CoverMany thanks to Andrea for sending me this to review. Her design is a unique game that is just revving up on Kickstarter, so check out my thoughts to see if this is something you want to pick up! As always, leave your comments below to let me know of any questions or concerns you may have. Enjoy!

Overview:

Game: Mining Maniac

Designer: Andrea Tsang

Artists: Chung Fong and Vincent Tang

Publisher and Date: X-Axis Production, 2014

Players: 2 to 4, but up to 6 with a future expansion

You’ll like this if you like: Harbour and other market manipulation games.

In Mining Maniac, players act as executive officers of their own mining companies. The object is to amass the most cash by the end of the year, sabotaging your competitors and dodging their attacks along the way. Choose from among your best workers to go out and mine for precious gems, coal, copper, and gold. You can sell the minerals at their current market price, or hold out until next month when they’ll be worth more money. But watch out for unexpected events like collapsed mines, taxes, labor strikes, market crashes, and landslides; these obstacles will hinder your progress and affect the profits of your company!  … Read more…

Tabletop Game Review #8 – Pleasant Dreams

Pleasant Dreams box artHave you ever woken up from a horrible nightmare, covered in sweat, your heart beating out of your chest? Do you remember the frightening images that flashed before you, waking you from an otherwise peaceful slumber? Designer Aerjeen Tamminga created a game centered around this theme, and was kind enough to send me a copy for review. It’s one of the most unique games I’ve played, both in theme and mechanics. The fact that all the cards are tarot-sized certainly drew me in. But don’t let me spoil the review – read on to find out what I thought!

Overview:

Game: Pleasant Dreams

Designer/Artist: Aerjen Tamminga / Wayne Dorrington

Publisher & Date: Aerjen Games, 2014

Players: 1 to 2

You’ll like this if you like: Press-your-luck games with a twisted, dark theme … Read more…