Dicember 2017, Day 12: Accessible Dice

Tales of a GM is running the 12 Days of Dicember, a project dedicated dice in all their randomized glory. The question for the twelth day of Dicember is “What is your favourite new dice technology?”.

A white twenty-sided die with small black numbers and Braille faces
A 3D printed Braille d20. Credit: Jessica Goldsmith

For me it’s accessible dice, which are dice crafted for people who are vision-impaired or blind. They include Braille numbering or raised letters to help identify the numbers on the dice, making it easier for folks with special needs to play the game.

The accessible dice I’ve come across are all 3D printed, which is my runner-up for “favorite new dice technology”. Because of how 3D printing works, it’s possible that these dice won’t be quite as balanced as traditional polyhedrals but I expect that drawback will disappear over time as the printing processes get better and better.

There are a number of printing recipes for 3D dice avaialble for download:

You can also purchase printed dice online:

No one in my group uses these dice and I haven’t printed them myself, so I can’t speak to how readable they are (but given that I have access to a 3D printer at work, I might need to remedy that).

My own interest in accessibility comes from my family’s tradition of raising puppies for the Seeing Eye, a guide dog school in Morristown, NJ. I raised three Seeing Eye puppies as a kid and my own family just started raising our third (hello Bob!). That carried over into my day job, where I’ve been spending a good deal of time researching accessible technology in general and web accessibility in particular.

For the last day of Dicember, it only made sense to bring everything back home again and geek out over accessible dice.

What’s your favorite new dice technology?

Feature Image Meta

More dice from my collection. Sadly, none of theme are accessible … but one 3D printing project could change that… Credit: Ken Newquist

2 thoughts on “Dicember 2017, Day 12: Accessible Dice”

  1. Hi Ken,

    Good choice for the last answer to The 12 Days of Dicember. 3D-printing offers a wide range of possibilities, but widening the scope of gaming has to be one of the best. Thank you for reminding us all how much we can do to help other people.

    Thank you for your enthusiasm for the project. I hope to have a better selection of questions for next year.

    Happy Dicing

    • Thanks! I find accessibility to be a fascinating topic since it often involves coming up with creative solutions to real-world challenges. GnomeStew wrote about the topic far better than I in this story:

      Tabletop Gaming and the Visually Impaired

      I enjoyed Dicember; it provided a good motivation to write, and I learned a lot about taking close-up photos of objects like dice (namely that I need to figure out a better way to light my subjects). I’m looking forward to next year’s edition.

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