I'd like to include a player who is blind in a game of Diplomacy, and am wondering about options to make the game more accessible.

One possible complication is that this is a classroom simulation with a large number of players, using the DipTool Java app to display the game. However, we could have a physical game board that duplicates the moves for this player.

  • 1
    Have you asked the blind player what s/he may need in order to make the game accessible?
    – mmathis
    May 15, 2017 at 14:48
  • The student is not actually on campus yet (will be a freshman next year) but asking for particulars through an intermediary is definitely on the agenda. There are other aspects of the course that need to be thought out, as well, so at this stage I'm just exploring various potential pitfalls and options.
    – 1006a
    May 15, 2017 at 23:50

2 Answers 2


Ultimately I think it would be like playing Chess blind, only more difficult because many pieces change positions at the same time. It would certainly be possible for a dedicated player to hold the positions of all pieces in their head, but would likely be extremely frustrating for a new player. It might be useful for the player to have an "adviser" who does not participate in direct negotiations or order placing, but is able to give information to the player throughout the turn about what the board state is, and what opportunities/threats might exist. They could also pass on other "visual" information, such as "Russia and Turkey spent 20 minutes talking in a corner before the first turn".

  • 1
    Thanks, yes, a "narrator" is a potential accommodation. Because the class plays in teams it is also possible that teammates could assist with some of this, but not if it would be too burdensome on either student.
    – 1006a
    May 15, 2017 at 23:52

The most important part of the game is the diplomacy phase. I see no real problems there.

But it is nice if the blind person has some kind of overview of the map. As far as I know, there is no map for blind people. But I think it is possible to carve a map out of wood so the boundaries can be felt. Also add a texture for the sea areas. And include holes for the pieces. Each piece should have a "feelable" shape on top so the country can be read. And at last, include the short names of the provinces in braille on the map.

It will take some time, but then you open up to a whole new group of people.

  • A 3-D map of some sort was kind of what I was imagining. A DIY carved board of some sort might work, but it would have to be simple enough to fit my (almost nonexistent) whittling skills :).
    – 1006a
    May 15, 2017 at 23:54

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