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Meeple centred design: a heuristic toolkit for evaluating the accessibility of tabletop games.

Heron, Michael James; Belford, Pauline Helen; Reid, Hayley; Crabb, Michael


Michael James Heron

Pauline Helen Belford

Hayley Reid

Michael Crabb


Evaluation of accessibility within a tabletop context is much more complicated than it is within a video game environment. There is a considerable amount of variation in game systems, game mechanisms, and interaction regimes. Games may be entirely verbal, or completely non-verbal. They might be real-time or turn based, or based on simultaneous actions. They can be competitive or co-operative, or shift from one to the other during a single game session. They might involve visual pattern recognition or force players to memorise game state without visual cues. They may involve touch, or smell. They might involve social deduction or betrayal. They can encompass all sensory faculties, in differing degrees. Almost all games have accessibility considerations that should be taken into account, but there is currently no comprehensive tool by which this can be done that encompasses the rich variety of tabletop gaming interaction metaphors. In this paper, the authors discuss the heuristic lens that is used by the Meeple Centred Design tabletop accessibility project. This is a tool that has been applied to one hundred and sixteen games to date, and the full results of these have been published for analysis and consideration within the wider tabletop gaming community.


HERON, M.J., BELFORD, P.H., REID, H. and CRABB, M. 2018. Meeple centred design: a heuristic toolkit for evaluating the accessibility of tabletop games. Computer games journal [online], 7(2), pages 97-114. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 15, 2018
Online Publication Date Apr 27, 2018
Publication Date Jun 30, 2018
Deposit Date May 1, 2018
Publicly Available Date May 1, 2018
Journal Computer games journal
Print ISSN 2052-773X
Electronic ISSN 2052-773X
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 97-114
Keywords Board games; Accessibility; Inclusion; Tabletop; Meeple Like Us; Universal access
Public URL


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