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Dominoes & visually impaired people

By Derek Thorburn, 2005

A set of tactile dominoes, which are supplied by RNIB

I was first introduced to dominoes back in 1970 when a home visitor for the blind brought me a special set designed for blind people. These had black raised spots on a white background, showing the various numbers and could be very easily felt by a blind person. I used to enjoy games round that time with members of the family, especially my Grandad on my Dad's side.

However, I soon forgot about them during my future school and college life and it wasn't until 1992 that I dug them out again and began enjoying games with other blind people at the Blind Centre I attend. They have several sets of dominoes and I soon heard of their domino group and joined that. Soon I became interested in participating in local domino matches and competitions for the blind, which sprang up through various clubs for the blind holding domino evenings at their premises. I have been part of this group now since 1997 and besides the team in Warrington, there's one at Manchester, Bolton, Accrington and Wigan.

Throughout the United Kingdom there are many clubs for visually impaired people. find out more from your local social serveces. Many offer an oppertunity for playing dominoes, cards or scrabble. There is also chess for visually impaired people

Buying dominoes for visually impaired people

Dominoes is a great board game for blind and partially sighted people. You can play with sighted partners with no change to the game. You can get tactile or easy to see sets from the RNIB online shop.

Basic dominoes

It is an easy game to play. For two to four players. Here are the basic rules. You need a medium size table for to lay out the dominoes. Empty your box of dominoes on the table. Make sure that they are all upside down, so nobody can see or feel the dots. Shuffle them with your hands to mix them up. Each player then selects seven dominoes from the pool.

If you have four players, the player with the double six begins. The next player, on the left, must lay down one domino with a matching number or pass to the next player, and so on. The first player to use up their dominoes is the winner.

When there are less than 4 players, there will be a number of dominoes left in the pool, at the beginning of the game. This means that the game is played slightly differently. The player with the highest double begins. The next player lays down a domino with a matching number and so on. But, if a player cannot match a number, they must pick an extra domino from the pool, and keep on picking dominoes and adding them to their hand, until they select a matching number. The first player to empty their hand is the winner.

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