This is one of the benefits of the successive lockdowns: the French have returned to play, and not only on the screens. After a 10% jump in sales in 2020, the French market for board games, cards and puzzles again experienced a 12% increase in turnover last year, becoming the first category in the French toy market and games, specifies LSA.
Combining business with pleasure, some games even offer education while playing, such as Keski’s games, which raise awareness of different disabilities, or Elix’s games, based on sign language and thus allowing children to discover it by listening. to people, but also and above all to play with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
a limited offer
“Many game publishers are working on the problem of colorblind people,” said Gautier Althaus, public relations officer for Philibert, a physical and online store specializing in board games. “In fact, colorblind people are still quite forgotten when they can be really disabling for some games,” adds Marion Blanchard, web animation manager at Ludum.fr, another dedicated site.
Knowing that color blindness is not even considered a disability, much remains to be done in terms of accessibility. “Sometimes we receive requests for quotes from facilities for people with disabilities, but we don’t necessarily manage to answer them. We are not specialists”, concedes Gautier Althaus. “Often, it is by talking to educators or workshop leaders that we come to understand which games might be suitable,” he specifies, lamenting the lack of specific offerings from publishers.
The Accessijeux association partially fills this gap by offering 300 accessible games for the visually impaired in its Parisian toy library and through its online store. Although these are mainly games selected for their accessible rules or whose material has been adapted, the association also publishes its own games.
Another initiative, the last one to date: the French publisher Asmodee launched last May Access+, a study in charge of adapting its games to people suffering from cognitive disorders. Three of the brand’s best-sellers were thus reissued at the end of September in an Access+ version: Dobble, Timeline and Cortex with larger and thicker cards to facilitate handling, expanded writing and adapted rules.
For Dobble, the cards range from eight to four, five or six symbols depending on the level of difficulty. For Cortex, colors have been revised to accentuate contrasts. Finally, Timeline is equipped in this version with time lines to help visualize the location of event cards. Prices have also been revised upwards: 25 euros per unit compared to 10 euros for the classic versions of Dobble and Timeline.
If the Access + range is not offered on Ludum.fr, its competitor Philibert has given it a place of choice in its physical store in Strasbourg for the launch at the end of September. The games should only be available online. “It is a range that we will maintain and that we will not submit to the results”, specifies Gautier Althaus, however.
“Illness brings moments of rupture, games allow the bond to be recreated,” argues Marie-Jeanne Richard, president of the National Union of Families and Friends of the Sick and/or Mentally Disabled (Unafam). She welcomes Asmodee’s initiative: “It was time to think about accessibility beyond the height of sidewalks, to think about pleasure. »