Monday, May 21, 2018

Making a game colorblind friendly goes a long way for me

I originally had so little interest in YXZ that I almost didn’t download it. However, it is just nine cards with no other components and not much ink involved so I made it. And while I haven’t been turned into a fan, it’s more interesting than I thought.

YXZ is part of the 2018 Nine Card PnP contest and it is literally a stripped down, nine card Set. Seriously, the designer, Bogumil Koszalka, suggests using Set cards to play with if you don’t want to make the cards.

Unlike Set with its four variables (color, number, shape and texture), YXZ has just two: shape and color. Deal out cards on the table and whoever finds three cards with three elements that are the same calls it out. If they are right, they get a point. If they are wrong, everyone else gets a point. First person to five points wins.

Here’s the thing. YXZ has a grayscale option. And as someone who is colorblind, that is huge. While I find Set simply okay as a game (pattern recognition and accessibility are its virtues for me), their color choices were horrible for colorblind people.

Seriously, they not only picked both red and green, the most common form of colorblindness, they gave them the same level of saturation. It’s very, very hard for me to tell them apart and that’s bad in a speed game.

Pink or orange instead of red, yellow or just a lighter green instead of the green they picked, gray or black for either one. It would not be hard to change Set to make it more colorblind friendly. 

The grayscale YXZ, using outline, light gray and black, is both colorblind and black and white printer friendly. And, frankly, that’s enough to make me appreciate it.

The actual game play is pretty slight, in large part because it is just nine cards. Which is admittedly an element of the contest and could be easily expanded by adding number as a variable. As it stands, nine cards doesn’t create that many combinations. 

That said, I am planning on teaching it to our four-year-old. I think it will be a good exercise in pattern recognition and work with a four-year-old’s attention span. And I laminated the cards so they are waterproof and very durable. Good for out-of-the-house. (Of course, that’s how I make most cards)

YXZ probably simplifies the idea of Set too much. However, I really appreciate the graphic design. Yes, super simple but it solves every need it has to. And I will get some play out of it.

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