Playing Cards and Games After Vision Loss
Many people with blindness, low vision, and vision loss want to continue enjoying Bingo; card games, such as bridge and poker; board games, such as Monopoly, Scrabble, checkers, and dominoes; and audio computer games.
In this section, we'll introduce you to a wide range of adapted card and board games that will enable you to continue with your favorite leisure pursuits. You may also find our information on Recreation and Leisure to be of interest to you.
Preparation Checklist for Card and Board Games
Before investing in adapted playing cards or board games, it can be helpful to try some of these adaptations first:
- Check the lighting. If you have low vision, make sure that the lighting in your playing area provides sufficient illumination. You can read more about lighting at Home Modifications. A lamp with an adjustable flex-arm or gooseneck is usually a good choice because you can adjust the direction of the light as needed. A flex-arm floor lamp on wheels is another good option.
- Use a low vision device. Talk with your eye doctor or low vision specialist to determine if a low vision device, such as a chest or around-the-neck magnifier or a magnifier mounted on a flexible gooseneck stand, can be helpful for card and board games. For more information about low vision devices and training, see The Low Vision Examination, What Are Low Vision Optical Devices?, Helpful Non-Optical Devices for Low Vision, and Vision Rehabilitation Services.
Use Contrast in Your Playing Area
If you have low vision, increasing the contrast between a playing board or game pieces can make them more visible. Enhancing contrast is one of the simplest, least expensive, and most effective home modifications you can implement:
- Use solid colors as backgrounds to make the board or game pieces "stand out." Avoid the use of table coverings with patterns, prints, or stripes.
- Place light-colored objects on a darker background; for example, a white playing card is more visible against a dark placemat or table covering.
- Place darker objects against lighter backgrounds; for example, a black or brown game piece is more visible against a white placemat or table covering.
- You can learn more about modifying all areas of your home at Home Modifications and Room by Room.
Label Your Games and Game Pieces
You can also label your game boxes and game pieces in any of the following ways:
- Create tactile labels for your game boxes attaching a game piece to the outside of the box or container with a rubber band.
- Place a rubber band around the box or container for Monopoly to differentiate it from Scrabble.
- Use a black wide-tip marker, a laundry marker, or a felt-tip pen to write in large, bold letters on plain white 3" x 5" index cards. Use these labels to differentiate games or cards that are stored in similar containers. Attach each card to the appropriate container with a rubber band.
- Use brightly colored electrical or plastic tape, pipe cleaners, Velcro, fabric or craft paint, or velour pads/furniture protectors to place markers on game boxes or containers.
- You can find more labeling information at Labeling and Marking.
Specialty Labeling Products
There are also many specialty labeling products for people who are blind or have low vision:
- Braille Labeler: Embosses braille on 3/8" or 1/2" labeling tape. The upper rim of the dial is in braille; the lower rim has the standard print alphabet.
- Bump Dots: Black, orange, and clear raised plastic dots with adhesive backing.
- Hi-Mark Tactile Pen: A three-dimensional plastic liquid that makes raised lines, dots and shapes. You can also use it to mark the handles of your frequently-used tools.
- Spot 'n Line Pen: A three-dimensional plastic liquid that makes raised lines, dots and shapes. You can also use it to mark the handles of your frequently-used tools.
- Maxi-Marks: Black plastic dots and slashes with adhesive backing.
- Touch Dots: Black, white, red, yellow, and orange raised foam dots with adhesive backing.
- Touch-To-See Labels: Braille and tactile adhesive labels. Each reusable label contains a raised letter or number with corresponding braille.
- VOXCOM III Voice Labeling System: Record audio talk labels and messages by depressing a button and inserting a card into the unit. The card attaches to containers and household items.
You can find these helpful products in the AFB Product Database.
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