Guest Author - Carla Ruschival
Web Chase is a great board game for blind and visually impaired children. The game can also be played and enjoyed by sighted children, making it a great way to help blind children interact with their sighted classmates or siblings.
Web Chase was developed by educational researchers at the American Printing House for the Blind. In its simplest form, it teaches shapes, textures and colors, and so is suitable for preschoolers. Add a few twists, and you have a strategy game or a math game. Add some of your own skill cards and you have a game on any topic or subject, any grade level or interest.
Web Chase is played on an oversized colorful laminated board that looks like a spider web, with spokes and rings. The game pieces are spiders, each with a different tactile pattern on its back so blind children can identify their own pieces by touch.
The spokes and rings of the web are raised smooth and dotted lines, so blind children can move their own game pieces independently. The spaces, or landing pads, are made of Velcro so pieces stay in place as blind children explore the board by touch and plan their moves.
At the start of the game, prey (or food) for the spiders is scattered around the board. Like the spiders, the prey has Velcro so it will stay in place on the board. There are two sets of prey, so the game can either be played with shapes or textures.
Also before beginning to play, the value of each type of prey should be decided. For example, butterflies might be worth one point, moths worth two etc. Any point value may be used. As players accumulate prey or have to give it away to their opponents, they can practice addition, subtraction and multiplication skills.
Players try to move around the board, collecting prey as they go. Award and penalty cards make the game more fun. The cards are oversized and laminated, and have both large print and braille messages. Two oversized braille dice are also included with the game.
I own Web Chase, and play it with my grandchildren. We have used it for addition and multiplication practice; they enjoy figuring the total value of their prey as the game progresses so they know who is ahead at all times. I plan to add some skill cards with history, geography and science questions; they will need to answer a question correctly before rolling the die and taking their turn.
Cards on any subject and at any grade level can be used, making the game extremely versatile. Even adults can enjoy the game when trivia questions are used. Players on different grade levels can participate at the same time by having a separate stack of cards for each player.
Web Chase is also a strategy game. On most plays, more than one possible move is available. The child can be encouraged to select the move that will be the most beneficial to him.
Web Chase is very expensive, but its flexibility makes it well worth the price. Since it can be fun for preschoolers as well as elementary and middle school children, it is a game that will grow with your child.
Web Chase is available from the American Printing House for the Blind, and costs $150.00. For more information or to order, visit the APH website at: