Looking for Children Games Playable with Severe Color Blindness

Keren contacted me, because her son is severely colorblind. He can’t really play basic games as every children game is in color.

What she is looking for are some board games for her eight year old son, where he could pick up the enjoyment of playing games. Because everything heavily relates to colors, this is not an easy task to accomplish.

I have a son that is colorblind with red, green and blue. He can see colors which have a yellow base. This has made it very hard for him to play basic games as every childs game is in color. I have tried every resource in aid to get him the simplest game and now am writing to you to ask if you know or have any games to your knowledge that he would not have difficulty in playing. His age is 8 and has never done jigsaw puzzles, or played board games.

Concerning the color blindness of her son we could at least find out a bit more of what type he is suffering from. This is important because for you, as a mother or father of a child with a color vision deficiency the first step should always be to try to understand what your child really sees. With this in mind it’s much easier for you to help your child and for your child to tell you about his/her problems.

After asking for more details she wrote me the following sentences. They show us some nice insights what it means to live with a colorblind child.

My son has never spoken in color names and as for his crayon box I have had to label every color. With all his school writing books I have to photocopy in black in white as he is not able to see the pale blue lines he is meant to write on.

All this descriptions point into the direction of some kind of achromatopsia. People suffering from some type of achromatopsia have at most one type of color receptors they can perceive colors through. Therefore they see either only in shades of gray or, when suffering from blue cone monochromacy, can see at most some shades of blue.

This of course means, that children suffering from achromatopsia can only play games which don’t rely on colors. Or the colors must at least be easily distinguishable when transformed to shades of gray. Here is a tip how you could test this:

  1. Take a digital picture of all the game pieces.
  2. Upload the picture on your computer.
  3. Transform it to a grayscale picture (most picture programs support this like the free available Picasa from Google).
  4. See if you still can distinguish all the different parts of the game.

Unfortunately I don’t have that many children games and don’t know of any which are playable even with the handicap of not perceiving colors.

Do you know of any games? Please add your ideas in the comment section to help not only Keren but also all other mothers and fathers facing the same challenge.