Table-top board games made accessible for those with sight loss

Across the Board Games are creating an unconventional, interactive board game for those with sight loss, following the support of the Teesside University-led DigitalCity initiative.

Combining a traditional table top format with the functionalities of a smart phone, the ‘Discuss Game’ is accessible for those who are blind or visually impaired, and includes the ability to play independently.

With a dice audio to navigate and questions to stimulate conversation, the game serves a dual purpose, also acting as a wellbeing tool that addresses loneliness and isolation.

The innovative idea came from Going For Independence (GFI) – the community interest company that aims to empower people to maximise their quality of life and independence.

GFI was set up in 2008 by Managing Director Pam Bennett, who identified a gap in the market for independent occupational therapy and set out to support those who don’t meet the criteria for health and social care, with a particular interest in helping those with sight loss.

From signposting to advice and information, designing blind-friendly training for businesses and organising lottery-funded projects, it was the development of their traditional table-top game that led to the start of a digital journey. Part of this involved taking part in the DigitalCity Mobile App Development workshop and Accelerator Programme.

Pam comments, “The DigitalCity App Development Workshop took us to a whole other level, there are so many things that a smart phone can do that I had absolutely no idea about!”

“Following up on the Accelerator Programme has enabled us to create our spin-out company Across The Board Games and fund the start of our app development where the game is going to be accessed.”

“We continue to receive so much encouragement from the DigitalCity team, they’ve taken hold of what we wanted to do and supported us so much in getting there by linking us up with other businesses, mentors and finding potential funding sources.”

Across The Board Games are now working in collaboration with a developer to complete the final stages of their mobile app and interactive game, with an aim to launch in 2021. Plans are also underway to utilise more technology and expand on their products including those accessible to blind children.

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If you have an app idea or are already in the process of building an app for your business, join the DigitalCity Mobile App Development Workshop on 21st and 28th July. Across two online sessions you’ll be guided through the key stages of app development by digital media expert, Phil Veal. For more information and to reserve your place, please contact Hannah Draboczy at