Chestnut Lodge Wargames Group

Game Design with Disability in Mind 1 General Considerations



For the CLWG Game Design Weekend 1-2 October, 2022, I led a discussion on Game Design with Disability in Mind.  We covered consideration for people with hearing impairment, Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) (the more appropriate term for what is often referred to as ‘Colour Blindness’), visual impairment, and intellectual disability.

In this post, I present some of the general aspects to consider for game design with disability in mind. In later posts, I will present considerations for the specific impairments/disabilities discussed.

Game Design with Disability in Mind

Always focus your communications with the person with a disability, not their support worker/carer.

As you may have gathered from previous posts, I love movies and think they are a great medium for communicating important ideas. I encourage you to watch the movie The Intouchables (2011) if you haven’t seen it already.  It is the story of a French Aristocrat who, after he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident,  hires a young man from the Parisian projects to be his caregiver. The movie is currently available on Netflix in the UK.

From the beginning …

  • Consider inclusivity at the outset when planning new games.
  • Consider access for all when choosing a venue.
  • Use any technology available, e.g., induction loops, or the PA system where, in a large group, it may not be obvious who needs it.
  • Always focus your communications with the person with a disability, not their support worker/carer.

Understanding the effects of impairment/disability on playing games

  • Consider including a question about the need for adjustments in the enrolment process
  • Talk to the person about their requirements.
    • Be discreet and sensitive; not everyone will want their condition or impairment widely known. [Editor: details of health/disability are sensitive, ‘special category data‘ under GDPR, so you must not share without explicit permission]
      • Realise people may feel self-conscious or frustrated about their condition / impairment / disability.
      • People may have experienced judgment, intolerance, teasing, or bullying because of their condition/impairment / disability.
  • Generally, you won’t need medical information. Details of how the person is affected will suffice.
  • Gather feedback from the person about whether the support is working.


1-4 Episodes of “Does he take sugar” – Audio

From 1977 till 1998 the BBC ran a weekly topical program called “Does he take sugar? ” which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Social Role Valorisation

A series of videos in which John Armstrong explains how positive roles allow people with disability to participate and belong.

Factsheets (for Educators)

This page provides links to factsheets on a wide variety of impairments and disabilities.

Universal Design for Games

Universal design for games is the process of creating games that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics.

Universal Design for Learning: An interactive brochure

Plain English Campaign

‘We campaign against gobbledygook, jargon, and misleading public information … making sure that you communicate with your audience as clearly as possible.’

Top 10 Principles for Plain Language

 Accessing the Online Game Environment

‘When websites and web tools are properly designed and coded, people with disabilities can use them. However, many sites and tools are developed with accessibility barriers that make them difficult or impossible for some people to use.’

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Essential Components of Web Accessibility



  1. Pingback: Game Design with Disability in Mind 3: Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) - Military Muddling

  2. Pingback: Game Design with Disability in Mind 4: Visual Impairment - Military Muddling

  3. Hmm, a real problem with many venues – I think only the original Chestnut Lodge building in Tulse Hill would be considered suitable. Most other wargame events I’ve attended over the last 50 years have been in bare halls with hard surfaces all around, rapidly becoming echo-chambers when packed with gamers.

    Some older members may recall the ‘French’ hall in Westminster school back in 1990, which was the venue for the first and best ‘Springtime For Hitler’ megagame? At one stage there were complaints that the intercom system between tables/commands had failed, but it transpired that the background noise (shouting, complaining, accusing etc) was such that they couldn’t hear the buzzers when someone called…..

    But a more rigid (nay, polite?) adherance in megagames to an ‘announcements’ phase would not go amiss. Such could then be recorded and immediately made avaialble via phone-based replay? I don’t see how MM could afford to employ a ‘signer’ for such moments, but the hearing-impaired players may be able to more easily put the organisers in contact with same, perhaps as volunteers?

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