Experiences Of Blind Tabletop Players: Part 2

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , , ,

Just to follow up the remaining feed back from 64 Ounce Games survey, part 1 can be found here.

This update comes from Benvin Sane

How long have you role played?

 About 10 years.

What are your favourite systems? 

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder, which I currently play.

Do you have some preferred classes or archetypes? 

Usually fighter rogue. Actually, I never thought about it before...but my current tiefling rogue has the most amazing eyesight ever. heh! Truly a fantasy game.

What frustrates you the most about being a blind role player? 

I was completely blind a few years ago, due to diabetes complications. I was fortunate enough to go through a lot of laser treatment and then finally double Vitrectomies and a lot of my vision was restored. I couldn't stand being away for gaming for too long, so I started up with a new group before my eyes had healed from the surgery. I couldn't read my character sheet...typical paper one. So I attempted an ipad app, but it didn't let me enlarge the text enough to be able to see it. Essentially I had to rely on my new boyfriend to read me all my stats and help me.

I downloaded PDFs of all the rulebooks and was able to enlarge them to read on my iPad. Dice....well, I would roll and everyone else would have to tell me what turned up. My vision has come back enough that with a jumbo set of dice, that have good coloring, I can see them most of the time. Little dice are still a no go unless the contrast is just right and I'm having a 'good eye day' My (still paper) character sheet proves difficult a great deal of the time. Especially if the lights are low in the house. I have special reading glasses that help, but are a pain to take on and off for everything. When we use minis, I can't see from my seat at the table, so for any movements, I have to get up and go right over to where they are so that I can see.

What has worked well for you?

Jumbo dice and friends.

Are certain digital files better than others? 

Pdfs for rulebooks on a device that you can enlarge it.

If you had one thing that you wish that people understood about being a blind role player what is it? 

That blind and VI players put more Roleplay, into role playing games. I have been told that the chance of me becoming fully, permanently blind, is very high, so I am actually going to be proactive and start learning braille and figuring out ways to function if this does happen. Knowing there are companies like yours that are working towards making life better for blind gamers, brings me a great relief.

The final survey is by Aser Tolentino.

How long have you Roleplayed?

I've been gaming for almost two years now.

What are your favourite systems?

I started out with Fiasco and Call of Cthulhu but have tried a bit of everything since. I like F20 games like D&D or Pathfinder well enough, but prefer more investigative or narrative-based games like Trail of Cthulhu, Deltra Green or indy games like Final Girl, Mars Colony, or Fiasco. I currently GM campaigns of Firefly, Night's Black Agents, and The Strange as well as one shots in a few other systems.

What classes or archetypes do you usually play?

My default characters are of the martial archetype: though I'm a talkative player, I don't usually go for talky characters, and I'm only slowly getting into playing magic users. I feel most comfortable though in the GM's seat.

What is frustrating to you as a blind role player?

The most frustrating experience I have as a blind gamer is accessing player resources that are laid out in such a way as to defy easy processing by OCR or screen reading software. Often, content creators will cram information into a table, chart, or other reference that might make sense at a glance but comes across as gibberish when read aloud line by line by a computer. Character sheets are usually best discarded without a second thought in favor of plain text transcriptions or written from scratch in notepad.
For the most part though, I have had a fair amount of success using Kurzweil 1000 on the PDFs that are the current industry standard. I love companies like Pelgrane and Bully Pulpit that provide alternative ebook formats like epub, which are far easier to navigate using software like Kurzweil. Another favorite tactic is using VoiceDream Reader on the iPhone for the initial reading of a new game book. I started out using iPhone-based dice rollers but found jsdice.com to be a far more responsive option. And of course, there are now more and more braille dice for me to try.

What companies have struck you as helpful or unhelpful as far as accessibility?

I lament in principle the lack of accessibility of many D&D 5E materials owing to their not being made available electronically by Wizards of the Coast, and understand that limitations on Fantasy Flight's license make an electronic version of Edge of the Empire and other Star Wars games unattainable, though wish they could work something out, but there are still a wealth of other games to try and stories to tell.

I hope these experiences were interesting for you to read as much as they were for me, if you have similar experience I would love to hear about in the comments. 


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