Gaming in the LGBTQ+ community is thriving, with groups like Toronto Gaymers opening the door for tabletop, board and video game players in a supportive environment. But for Aerissa Roy-Dupuis, the inclusivity stopped short.
“We were dismayed that accessibility in board gaming is almost non-existent,” said the 2019 General Rainbow Grant recipient, who is also visually impaired. “This desire to create games that everybody can play is one I have immense passion for.”
Determined, she applied for a 2019 Community One General Rainbow Grant to help fund the creation of her own accessible games, starting with a version of the card game Sushi Go. She followed that up with an original tabletop game, Smuggler’s Cove.
“My game has pirates fighting for the largest share of the treasure,” she said. “I introduced a tactile element that enables greater accessibility for blind and visually impaired players” using 3D art to create unique game pieces (pictured). After debuting it at ProtoTO, the judges ranked it in their top five.
Roy-Dupuis also presented her accessible gaming idea to the Toronto Enterprise Fund as a way to employ persons with disabilities, and received a grant of $10,000 to explore the idea.
“Doing this work has been a real gift,” she said. “I think pivoting this project into a social enterprise is a great way to continue that work. I am grateful for the resources provided by the Community One Foundation that enabled me to begin this project.”