Vassal For The Blind

Hi All,

I am a totally blind board gaming enthusiast who has been looking for a way to try out games digitally for some time. Vassal has some fairly big accessibility issues, but it remains the most promising solution I’ve found so far.

Most of the non-game elements of the UI are quite readable using my screen reader. The actual boards and maps are less so. I feel as if I’m about 95% of the way to a working solution for myself and other interested blind gamers.

The “report format,” provided by many modules seems like a good model for conveying game state and changes in such. My problem now is one of practicalities, how can I trigger actions in modules which have components that are largely opaque to me at the moment?

Vassal has the good fortune to be written in Java, a language which provides decent accessibility support. I wanted to check in here in case anyone had ideas about how to bridge the gap a bit between where I am now and where I’d like to be. I realize that waiting for Vassal 4 is a potential idea, but it seems rather nebulous and far off at the moment.

I am an accessibility tester by trade and willing to help out in whatever way I can to make this work. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please get in touch. I feel like I’m almost there, if only I had a way to make the pieces move.

Could you provide some specific examples of what you’re trying to do? I’m not familiar with the accessibility APIs at all.