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Asmodee Opens Access+, A Studio Dedicated to Accessible Play

May 11, 2022

By: Tyler Chancey

 
 

As the hobby of gaming becomes more accepted by the broader culture, issues regarding accessibility are becoming more widely discussed. Many high profile video games have included accessibility options. Some of these are even added after release with updates. The world of tabletop gaming is no different with various studios developing tools and services to let players with physical disabilities have a place at the table. Now, Asmodee Publishing has announced the opening of Access+, a studio with the express purpose of making more accessible board games based on the studios' licenses.

In an official press release, Asmodee went into further detail about the opening of Access+. According to Asmodee, this new studio is the first of its kind since it will be adapting board games for players with cognitive disabilities that affects speech, social relation, attention, emotional control, planning, and memory. As part of the studio's creation, Asmodee consulted with an external committee of expert care professionals. As part of that consultation, various studies were cited, demonstrating how the use of tabletop and board games in a therapeutic context can improve the quality of life of seniors with dementia as well as improving overall emotional health. One of the studies even concludes that board games seem to yield better results than digital games when it comes to teaching social skills to those on the autism spectrum.

 

Box art for Timeline Access+ by Asmodee Publishing
Image Credit: Asmodee Publishing

“Over several years, Asmodee has invested in scientific research to demonstrate the societal impact board games can have” said Mikaël Le Bourhis, head of Asmodee Research. “Now we’re ready to put that research into practice with Access+, creating games that not only are fun to play but provide real, tested benefits to those with special needs, starting with cognitive impairment.”

As for what Access+'s first projects are, they will be adapting three of Asmodee's more popular board games. Those games are Spot It!, Timeline, and Cortex respectively. The changes to these board games will include larger and easier to hold cards as well as additional difficulty levels and adapted rules. They will even include a "single player" mode in order to encourage individual autonomy. These more accessible versions will be available in Belgium, Canada, and France by late 2022 with a worldwide release some time in 2023.