Future Reflections         Fall 2008

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Merry-Noel’s Original Games

by Merry-Noel Chamberlain, TVI, NOMCT

Merry-Noel Chamberlain and her husband Marty with their two daughters, Royene Douglas (far left) and Ashleah.The Cardinal Game
A game for two or four players that focuses on cardinal directions

The Cardinal Game is a variation of the Start Again game.

Object of the game: Be the first player to move all game pieces across the board (North, South, East or West) to its final destination.

American Printing House for the Blind materials needed:
100’s Board kit (APH)
One Braille or talking dice (APH)

Directions for constructing the game board and pieces:
1. Place Velcro as indicated with a “V” on the 100’s board. [From left to right, leave the first vertical column blank, in the second column leave the top two and bottom two spaces blank, in the next eight vertical columns, leave the top and bottom spaces blank, in the ninth column leave the top two and bottom two spaces blank, and leave the tenth and last vertical column on the far right entirely blank.]

2. Place sticky foam or textured contact paper in the squares marked with an X below. These spaces will not be used. [Starting from the top left, mark with an X the top two and bottom two spaces in the first, second, ninth, and tenth vertical columns.]

3. Braille the following words as indicated below. [Spell out the word North in the first horizontal column at the top, placing the N in the third space from the left followed by the other letters across the top. Follow the same procedure with the word South in the horizontal column at the bottom. Next, spell out West and East in the far left and far right vertical columns placing the first letter of the word in the fourth space from the top followed by the rest of the letters vertically.]

4. Create four sets of playing pieces by attaching Velcro on one side each of the six squares, six circles, six stars, and six triangles found in the APH 100’s pack. (Other objects may be used for playing pieces as long as each set contains six identical items and all are easily distinguished by touch.)

How to play the game:
1. Set up the game for four players as shown in the diagram below (S = squares, C= Circles, ST= Stars and T=Triangles). Note: It doesn’t matter which shapes are placed in which cardinal location. [Place one set of playing pieces (squares) horizontally across the top column filling in all spaces except those marked with an X. Place another set of playing pieces (circles) across the horizontal column in the same manner. Next, use another set of playing pieces (stars) and fill in the six spaces in the far left vertical column, and place the last set of playing pieces (triangles) in the six spaces in the far right vertical column. The playing pieces will cover the Braille letters spelling out the four cardinal directions, but should not be placed on top of the spaces marked with an X.]
NOTE: If there are only two players, players must be positioned across the board from each other and may select their own shape.
2. Each person rolls the die to determine who starts first. The person who rolls the lowest number goes first and game proceeds clockwise.
3. A player in the North position must travel to the South position and vice versa. A player in the East position must travel to the West position and vice versa. Note: Throughout the game, discuss the direction each player is traveling--either North, South, East, or West.
4. If a player lands on an occupied square, that opponent’s game piece must be returned to his/her start position and the current player occupies that square.
5. The exact number must be rolled on the die to occupy the final destination of the player. If a number is rolled that is too high, the player must bounce backwards on the board in the opposite direction. For example, if the player is moving west and is three squares from its final destination and rolls a five, that player must go forward the three squares and then back to the East two squares. The player continues to do this until the correct number is rolled that allows the player to land in the final destination with the exact number rolled on the die. Note: Discuss the change in cardinal direction as this occurs. Ask players what direction other individuals are traveling.
6. The player must only travel North, South, East, or West. Traveling at an angle or sideways is not permitted.

How to determine the winner of The Cardinal Game:
The first player who is able to get all game pieces to the final destination of the board (opposite to their starting position) is the winner.

The Take Away Game
A simple game that focuses on subtraction

Object of the game: Be the first player to punch all twenty bumps on a score card.              

American Printing House for the Blind materials needed:
Score Cards – enough for each player (APH)
One Braille or talking dice (APH)

How to play the game:
1. Each player needs a score card with all the punches (bumps) face upwards.
2. Determine who will start.
3. The player rolls the dice and punches down the number of bumps as indicated on the dice.
4. When the punches left are six or less, the exact number must be rolled to completely punch down the rest of the card.

How to determine the winner of The Take Away Game:
The player who is first to punch down all 20 dots on his score card is the winner.

Note: This game can introduce the concept of how the stylus--like the finger punching out the bumps on the score card--is used as a tool to punch out Braille dots.

Merry-Noel’s Odd Ball Game
A tactual matching game

Object of the game: To create the most matches and/or locate the “odd ball.”

Supplies needed:
A large plastic bucket or container to store balls
A black or opaque round tablecloth (one that can not be seen through)
A large variety of matching 2-ball sets with different textures, sounds, and/or sizes
Time: Depends on your own personal time limit and/or amount of balls in the bucket.
Number of players: Two or more.

How to play the game:
Before the game begins, the teacher/instructor must secretly remove a ball and hide it. The match to this ball left in the bucket becomes the “Odd Ball.”
1. Sit in a circle around the bucket of balls. Place the round tablecloth over the bucket and laps of the players.
2. Choose someone to go first and go clockwise around the circle.
3. Everyone picks one ball out of the bucket. There is a time limit of how long a person’s hand is in the bucket. A simple way to track the time is to ask everyone to count out loud to five.)
4. From the second round on, players have the choice of either trading a ball with another player or choosing a ball from the bucket to make a match. One trade per player, per turn, or one ball from the bucket--not both. (Remember the time limit of counting to five.)
5. When a trade is offered to a player, the other player can decide not to trade. If this happens, the player must choose a ball from the bucket.
6. Players make matches by either trading with another player or locating its match in the bucket.
7. When all the balls are out of the bucket, continue around the circle one-by-one to attempt any additional trades. (Remember only one trade per player per turn.)

OPTION: The game can stop after one time around the circle, or several turns around the circle until all the trades are complete. It is up to the teacher/instructor.

How to determine the winner of Merry-Noel’s Odd Ball Game:
The player with the most matches and the player who finds the “odd ball” are the two winners of this game. On occasion one person may be a double winner by getting the Odd Ball and by having the most matches.

Grade II-Braille Review Game
A matching game

Object of the game:
Practice and review Braille letters, contractions, and punctuation.
Collect as many tactual matching disks as possible. The way to do this is to find a matching disk in a container to one that has been retrieved and placed in a muffin pan Braille Cell.
Number of players: Two

Supplies needed:
Two small six-cell muffin pans. (Approximately 5 x 7½ inches.)
An assortment of eight different textures* glued onto one-inch diameter cardboard circles. Twelve disks are needed for each different texture. Total disks needed: 96.
Peek-proof opaque box, bag, or container to store the disks.
*Ideas for textures can include silk, plastic, different types of sand paper, corduroy, velvet--any hard, knobby, soft, smooth, fuzzy, etc. items.

How to play the game:
1. Place all the disks in the container.
2. Each player needs a Braille cell muffin pan.
3. Player one retrieves a disk from the container and places it in the Braille cell pan in front of him/her. In order to keep the disk, the player must state the dot number location in which the disk is placed and then state the letter, contraction, or punctuation sign that is created. Examples: Dot 1 – A; Dot 2 – EA; Dot 6 – capital sign.
4. Player two has a turn.
5. Player one then retrieves another disk and creates a different contraction or letter. In order to keep the disk, this person must state the dot number locations of all the disks in the pan and correctly state the letter, contraction, or punctuation sign that is created. Examples: Dots 1 and 2 – B; Dots 1 and 3, C; Dots 2 and 4, cc, con, or colon.
Note: It is up to the instructor if only one sign or if all possible signs must be stated.
Note: If the newly drawn disk matches the disk already in the pan, then the player has a choice. The player can add the disk to the pan and create a new sign, or the player can remove the matching disk. Either way, the new contraction so created must also be stated. If by removing the matching disk the pan becomes empty, the player has created a “space.” The game does not end if the cell becomes empty.
6. The players continue to create ever-changing Braille contractions. As stated above, when a match is made, the player may choose to either remove the match, creating a new contraction which must be stated, or the player may decide to leave the match in the cell and create a new sign by adding the mate to the Braille cell. However, the matching pair may not be removed until the next play.
7. Repeat until all the disks have been used.

How to determine the winner of Grade II - Braille Review:
The winner is the player who has the most matching pairs.
Questions and Answers:
Q: What do you do when you have a full cell with no matching disks and draw another disk that does not match anything in the cell?
A: Since the disk does not match any of the disks in the cell, nothing can be changed to create anything new. The disk is returned to the container and a new disk may be drawn. Should this happen again, the play is over and it is the next player’s turn.
Q: Is it okay to state dot numbers in random order?
A: The dot numbers should be stated in numerical order.
Q: Can a disk be removed from its dot location to another?
A: A disk can only be removed from the Braille cell when its match has been retrieved from the container. Once the disk is placed in a specific dot location, it can not be moved to another dot location.
Q: Is it still a match if the colors are the same but the texture is different?
A: That is up to the instructor as one of the variations of the game.
Q: Is it okay to have more than one matching pair in the Braille cell at the same time?
A: Yes.
Q: Can more than one matching pair be removed at one time?
A: Yes.
Variations of the game:
1. Have a non-player remove one of the disks and hide it. Play the game as described above, but the player who has the last lone disk without a mate is the winner.
2. Each player creates an on-going list of the Braille signs that they created in the Braille cell. The player with the most letters, words, contractions, and punctuation signs (without repeats) is the winner. Repeated signs are only counted once.
3. Use matching colors instead of matching textures.
4. To include more difficult contractions, use the muffin pan that has two cells (a 12-unit muffin pan), add four different textures and be sure to make 12 disks of each texture.

True or False Braille Game

Number of Players: One
Object of the game: To create as many “True” dominoes as possible.
How to win: Create all “True” dominoes by making corrections to the “False” dominoes.

Supplies needed:
23 - Domino trays from Light Box Kit. (APH)
46 - Blank plastic cards (2x2) (APH)
Dymo tape or Braille label sheets with peel-off adhesive backing (APH and other sources)
Slate and stylus or Braillewriter

Preparing the game materials:
1. Cut off a small piece at the upper right corner of each plastic card so that players will know which side is up.
2. Braille whole word contractions on Dymo tape or use Braille label sheets and apply one per card on 23 of the blank cards. Remember to orient the card so that the cut-off corner remains in the upper right.
3. Braille the uncontracted words that match the whole word contractions on Dymo tape or Braille label sheets and apply to the other 23 cards. Again, remember to orient the card so that the cut-off corner remains in the upper right. (Note: The uncontracted word “knowledge” will need to be placed at an angle in order for it to fit.)
4. Pop the cards onto the dominoes, matching a Braille whole-word contraction card to an uncontracted Braille word card.
5. Create some “False” dominoes by matching up the wrong set of whole-word contractions with uncontracted words.

How to play:
1. The student is given a domino and is told to announce the contraction and read the uncontracted word next to it. If it matches, the student will say the domino is true and creates a “True” pile. If it is not correct, the student must create a “False” pile.
2. As the student explores the dominoes he/she may discover that he/she is able to change the “False” dominoes into “True” dominoes by removing and exchanging one of the cards on the domino. This is acceptable.

Other Options:
1. Use contractions with which the student is having difficulties.
2. Introduce new contractions as the student increases his/her knowledge of Braille.
3. Only put one half of the contractions in the domino chambers and place all the matches face down on the table. The student selects a card from the pile and finds its match on the domino.
4. Have the student mix them up for the next student.

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