Hey hey, Sarah Trager here. I am an individual – just like you, just like everybody. As individuals we have so very many things that make up who we are. I am an American, a woman, a wife, a gamer…none of things singularly make up who I am but I wouldn’t be who I am without each one. One of the things I am is disabled. I am missing most of my fingers and both of my legs. I wear prosthetics. I have faced so many challenges because of my disability…from a very young age I had to learn to how to do things differently. I am so blessed to have people in my life who helped me figure out how to do things the way I could; my dad patiently taught me how to do things like feed myself and tie my shoes, inventing things to lend extra help when I needed it (like special utensils and a modified baseball glove) and my mom helped me figure out ways to deal with things I couldn’t do in a “normal” way, like using a button-holer to button my clothing and a shoe horn to get my shoes on. Sometimes I needed something special to make it work, other times I just had to find my way to do it.
Skip ahead a couple of decades and I am a well-adjusted, productive, and active member of society, in part because of all the people who helped me find my way. One of my favorite hobbies is board gaming; in college I fell in love when a friend introduced me to Settlers of Catan and over ten years later my collection numbers in the hundreds. I work as a professional demonstrator for two game stores in North Carolina (I teach people how to play games – how cool is that?!) and represent over 50 different game companies. This year I branched out and began volunteering at conventions all over the US. I worked for Tasty Minstrel Games at Origins Game Fair, Formal Ferret Games at Dice Tower Con, and will be at PAX with AEG in November (check out my “Looking Back” articles). At one of these conventions I met Nate Scheidler, Gigamic’s US Marketing Manager, and we talked about creating content with accessibility in mind. Nate got me thinking about the unique position I’m in – I’m a gamer with a disability who has the platform to test out and review games not only focusing on mechanics and components, but also with the game’s accessibility in mind. Nate sent me 4 games from Gigamic and encouraged me to start.
My first accessibility review will be of an educational game called Specific and will be posted shortly. As always, I hope you enjoy the review and find it to be informative, helpful, and fun! These reviews will focus on the game as my regular reviews do, and will cover typical things like player interaction based on player count, overall impressions of the game, and component quality, but I’ll also be adding a short synopsis of my personal interaction with the game, as a player with a disability. I’ll be using a 1-2-3 scale of accessibility where 1 is completely accessible with no modifications, 2 is accessible but difficult with no modifications, and 3 is inaccessible without modifications. I’ll write about why each game received the rating it did and may write about things I do to overcome difficulty with a specific game. My aim is to inform and encourage:
- players to play, in spite of challenges they might face. Find your way to play.
- designers to design as thoughtfully and inclusively as possible without sacrificing content or presentation
- creators to create games that are as accessible as possible to all players
Join me for an accessible adventure into the incredible world of board games! S