Monday, July 26, 2010

Making 40k handicap accessible

I'm a web developer and I always have professors hammering accessibility into my head, It has become apparent to me that Warhammer 40k and other war games are not accessible to people who are handicapped. My good friend has cerebral palsy. He has good days where he can do almost everything on his own and he has bad days where it literally hurts to try and get out of bed.

 I introduced him to Warhammer 40k this past weekend and it became strikingly obvious that our gaming group is not even close to being as wheelchair accessible as it could be. He can get in the door but the tables are too high for him to see everything and I think  it will be hard for him to move models and roll dice. I had him play for me while I guided him through the rules, what my units could do, and made sure he didn't get my Necrons massacred . During this time I realized that he was an amazing strategist (without him I may not have tied that game against Brother C.). It would be an utter shame to have someone who has the potential to become a valued member of the Warhammer 40k community turned off because accommodations couldn't be made so he could actually play the game.

I am thinking we will need a few things....
  • lower tables or tables with the ability to be lowered
    • preferably not just one board, he likes variety as much as the next guy
  • An electronic dice roller, web app maybe? There are a lot out there but none geared towards 40k, something you could enter  WS, BS,  S,  and T  into and then it calculates hits and wounds would be amazing.
  • A way to move models, short of having an opponent or someone else move the models for him I'm stuck on this, he could do it but it would take a looooong time. Measuring distances might be hard too. I told him he should try and stay away from any army with a large number of models ie Orks.
Again any suggestions would be most appreciated and yes I asked him if I could write up a post about this. Surprisingly I didn't find a lot of info on this subject online so I would very much like to get a discussion going.


  1. Some good stuff there.

    Obviously we try to be as accommodating as possible. Yet another reason why hosting at the church is such a great idea.

    I was thinking about it too, I wouldn't have any problem saying that his opponent could move his models for him. Nobody would cheat, that would just be ridiculous.

    I also would help make models and paint for sure. I agree totally, anybody can play this game they just need to adapt and so does the club. I believe its more than possible to get things worked out so he can be a valued member.

  2. I think just a standard dice roller program would be enough, you don't want to take out the fun of calculating wounds and such :)

    as for the table height, I believe those tables are approx. 30" off the floor, which is the standard for any accessible work surface; but I understand that a work surface isn't usually used for playing 40k matches. If we continue to use the church building as our location, there are a few preschool rooms which have smaller height tables which could definitely be used for playing matches. it would not be a problem to roll one of those into the community room and use that for the boards.

    Most of our terrain is movable so, I don't think there would be a problem of variety.

    Distance measuring should be handled with 'sticks.' I'm thinking something like a yard stick. We could make him a couple a interval lengths, like... 36", 24", 12", 6", etc. I don't think anyone would object to moving models etc. for him a few inches, but I'm sure he would want most of the gaming experience. that's what the sticks are for, for range finding, measuring distances for shooting, etc. we could have The Prophet of WAAAGH sew him a quiver if we needed one.

    I was so glad to have Kyle at the last meeting, and I hope to see him in the upcoming ones as well. He can feel free to post on here too if he wants, lets keep him under your name forsaken until he becomes an official member.

  3. One solution to this problem.
    Have a dedicated helper that moves and measures for your friend. All the strategy and planing will be done by your friend and tells the helper what he wants to do an how it is to be done. having some one help that knows the game really well would be a great asset to help your friend as he could teach as he helps.

    As for the dice if your friend want's to roll dice but is unable to so I have seen dice towers you put the dice in the top and they drop down.
    I am not sure of how bad off your friend is.

    Hope this helps Howard Vaux