Meeple Centred Design: A Heuristic Toolkit for Evaluating the Accessibility of Tabletop Games

Michael James Heron, Pauline Helen Belford, Hayley Reid, Michael Crabb

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Abstract

Evaluation of accessibility within a tabletop context is much more complicated than it is within a video game environment. There is a considerable amount of variation in game systems, game mechanisms, and interaction regimes. Games may be entirely verbal, or completely non-verbal. They might be real-time or turn based, or based on simultaneous actions. They can be competitive or co-operative, or shift from one to the other during a single game session. They might involve visual pattern recognition or force players to memorise game state without visual cues. They may involve touch, or smell. They might involve social deduction or betrayal. They can encompass all sensory faculties, in differing degrees. Almost all games have accessibility considerations that should be taken into account, but there is currently no comprehensive tool by which this can be done that encompasses the rich variety of tabletop gaming interaction metaphors. In this paper, the authors discuss the heuristic lens that is used by the Meeple Centred Design tabletop accessibility project. This is a tool that has been applied to one hundred and sixteen games to date, and the full results of these have been published for analysis and consideration within the wider tabletop gaming community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-114
Number of pages18
JournalComputer Games Journal
Volume7
Issue number2
Early online date27 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Board games
  • Accessibility
  • Inclusion
  • Tabletop
  • Meeple Like Us
  • Universal access

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